We had one goal today – The Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum. It’s a bit over a four hour drive to Louisville from our overnight spot in Pigeon Forge, TN. Of course for us it takes a bit longer. The museum closes at five, so we had to make sure we got going quickly; we didn’t want another Durham Bulls situation. We are able to get there pretty easily, and since we are there on a Tuesday (April 23rd) as opposed to a weekend, we are able to park right on the street in front of the museum.
If you ever make your way to the museum, you won’t have to worry about identifying the building. There is a 120’ replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger ascending into the sky. Inside, there is a gift shop to the left as you walk in, and if you walk straight you come to the factory/museum area.
The tour is $15 for adults and free for five and under, so we paid our $30 and headed into the museum. There is an impressive display of memorabilia.
Soren liked the Lego stadium displays because, well, Soren likes Legos. There was also a chance to view what a 90 mile per hour fastball looks like in a batting cage.
The formal tour takes you through the actual factory where all the bats are made. It starts with a video, and then the guide brings you through the operation. All of the wood for Louisville Slugger bats comes from their forests in Pennsylvania and New York. The wood is processed into billets (wooden cylinders) and then shipped to Louisville for processing. Only about 15% of the wood taken is deemed major league worthy. I will admit that I geeked out a little bit on the tour. I am an industrial real estate broker for a living and I get to see this type of thing in all kinds of industries. Getting to see it for the sport I love is a really cool experience for me.
At the end of the tour everyone gets their own souvenir mini bat. If you are a baseball fan, I would highly recommend this pilgrimage as Louisville Slugger history is synonymous with baseball history.
Another perk of Louisville is that they also have the Louisville Bats (the flying mouse not the baseball bludgeoning stick), the AAA affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds in town. We drove by the stadium, which looked really nice, but there was a potential threat for severe weather in the area, so we opted to head to our hotel. We ended up staying across the river in Clarksville, IN at a Radisson hotel that we very much enjoyed. We’ve had a lot of driving lately, so it was a Culver’s dinner and to bed for us.
Another great day on The Great Baseball Ride!