When I woke up the other day, I really had no idea I would be holding Mickey Mantle’s baseball bat a few hours later. But I was and it was cool. “Cool” not being one of those words that travel writers throw out often, but frankly, it’s the only word that sums up holding a bat that he actually used, and to get technical about it, it was used circa 1961-64 and is model number B220. “B220” equals “cool“.
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is a visitor’s favorite, and fun for all ages, sports fan or not. With your admission, you will be able to tour the factory where these world famous bats are made and as an added treat- take home a free mini-bat of your own. Here, the staff shares with you the history of the factory (founded as a furniture company and officially the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. which has been making Louisville Sluggers for over 125 years), the many types of bats produced here (some 1.8 million per year in a dizzying array of sizes and finishes, many customized for the players), the processes used and how they carefully maintain their forests in New York and Pennsylvania. Today’s modern lathe carves out a bat in thirty seconds! Batter up!
The museum contains one amazing story after enough about the history of the sport and the bat. Archived items are found in the pull-out drawers throughout the museum, as well as uniforms and other historic items. Babe Ruth’s bat is here, complete with the carved notches from every home run he hit with it. The bat Joe DiMaggio used during his 56-game hitting streak is here as well. As mentioned before, you can hold a piece of history, in addition to Mickey Mantle’s bat, the Cincinnati Reds are represented and Johnny Bench’s bat is among the treasures you can feel yourself.
The Heart of the Game is a 15-minute film and a fitting tribute to the art of hitting. Want to hit a few yourself? You can, in Bud’s Batting Cage with replica bats like those used by Ted Williams and The Babe. The gift shop has a variety of items for sale and you can have a personalized bat made or buy a mini bat representing your favorite team.
Fun continues outside with the Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame along historic Main Street. Great hitters are highlighted with bronzed bat models and of course, nobody can miss the 120 foot tall Louisville Slugger bat! The world’s biggest! And yes, you’ll need to cross the street to get the entire bat in your picture.
Holding Mickey Mantle’s bat. Still cool.
If you go: Downtown Louisville is an easy drive from Cincinnati by following I-71 south.
Hours and Admission:
Monday thru Saturday, 9 am-5 pm
Adults (13-59) $11
Seniors (60+) $10
Children (6-12) $6
Children 5 and under are free
800 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202
For more fun on Main Street: