top of page
  • uniquejt

Slugger Museum plus Day at the Races

After visiting the Kentucky Horse Park, Karen and I discussed driving to Louisville to go to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, to go to the races on Thursday, May 25. It would be a bit of a drive from Georgetown but we decided to get an early start and hit two venues in one day.

Our first stop was downtown Louisville Main Street to see the Hillerich & Bradsby Museum & Factory, the maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats . This H&B facility is the fourth location where Louisville Slugger bats have been made. The original shop was on South First Street in Louisville between Main and Market Streets. It was there that family legend suggests J. A. "Bud" Hillerich made a bat for Louisville Eclipse star Pete Browning after Browning broke his bat during a game in which Hillerich attended in July 1884. The next day, Browning got three hits with the bat and the legend was born. The museum showcases the story of Louisville Slugger baseball bats in baseball and in American history. The tour of the Louisville Slugger bat factory consists of five stops showing how the famous bats are made.

Our tour took about 30 minutes and at its conclusion we received a complimentary mini-bat. Approximately 75% of pro bats are made from maple wood, 20% are made from birch, and 5% are made from northern white ash. The best timber comes from parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and other northeastern states where the terrain and climate are most favorable to its growth. The company's harvesting plan includes re-forestation, so the company plants more trees than they cut down.

A single tree, which grows for 60 years, generally produces about 30 or 40 bats. But not all those bats will make it to the Major Leagues. Not even close. Louisville Slugger holds the designation of 'Official Baseball Bat of Major League Baseball'. Their bats are the second-most used among Major League Baseball players with 18% of all players choosing a Slugger.

While touring the museum I got to hold a piece of baseball history - a Babe Ruth bat model R43 at 36 inches and weighing 42.5 ounces. This is heavy by today's standards but not the heaviest. Hall of Famer Edd Roush holds the distinction as the player who used the heaviest bat in MLB history. Roush, who debuted with the Chicago White Sox in 1913, used a 48-ounce behemoth.

From baseball we then visited another "place of champions"; Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. We arrived just in time to park and walk to the entrance gate as they opened. The first race was scheduled for 5 PM so we had an hour to walk around and even get a personal explanation of the racing form. Karen had been to Thoroughbred horse races growing up with her family; I, however, was a total neophyte and had plenty to learn. We decided to place a couple of $5 bets on the first race. I learned that the racing form provides lots of information to factor the many variables necessary to place a reasonable wager. Out of an 8 race day, we stayed for 6 races and won money in five out of six races! We even left with $20 more than we wagered.

Karen shared many memories of her going to the race track with her family. I had a great time seeing her get so excited as the horses raced for the finish line. It was a great experience and we would love to do it again; maybe another Triple Crown venue later in our travels at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York or Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.


Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Unknown member
May 29, 2023

Glad you enjoyed your time in Kentucky, and that you made it safely to the rally in Indiana!

bottom of page