The Legacy of Louisville Slugger

There are very few American products that provide instant recognition upon the mere mention of their names. Among them is “Louisville Slugger”, a brand that has been synonymous with baseball bats for more than 120 years. For many players, one of their proudest early-career moments was seeing their name branded on a Louisville Slugger baseball bat for the first time. What started out in the mid-1880s as a crude device fashioned out of wagon tongues has become one of the most coveted items in sports today. Clearly, the baseball bat has undergone some hefty redesigns since its inception, but perhaps the biggest change to the baseball bat, and perhaps to the world of sports in general, occurred a century ago on September 1, 1905. On that date, Pittsburgh Pirate great Honus Wagner signed the first ever sports endorsement contract, thereby allowing J.F. Hillerich & Son to brand Wagner’s name on baseball bats sold to the public. What follows is, I hope, a comprehensive reference guide for all collectors of professional Louisville Slugger baseball bats, revered by many as the most desirable of all baseball artifacts. Bat collecting is the closest link we have in getting to know a player’s habits and style. With some bats now selling for astronomical prices, the hobby deserves no less than an organized account of the information available to collectors. This book is the culmination of more than 10 years of research, gathered from studying thousands of bats in the vaults at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Kentucky, in the basement of the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, and in the hobby rooms of many private collections. The result is the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of professional Louisville Slugger baseball bats ever offered to the public.