This month’s Ohio Road Trip takes us to central Ohio where
there is a company that makes baseball bats of such high quality they are used
by many major league baseball players.
Now, if you thought that all professional baseball bats were
made in Louisville, Kentucky, you might be surprised to learn that nationwide
there are over 30 baseball bat-making companies presently approved to make bats
for the major leagues, but, Phoenix Bats in Plain City, is the only company in
Phoenix Bats began because company founder, Charles Trudeau,
had a hobby; he liked to play baseball as they did in the 1860’s. He is a member of the Columbus Ohio Village
Muffins, a team sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society, who play against
other similar teams with the equipment and the rules of baseball as it
originally was created shortly after the American Civil War.
Trudeau, who restored
old homes as his livelihood, loved working with wood and wanted a
historically-correct bat from the 1860’s.
The rules at the time stated the barrel of the bat could be no bigger
around than 2.5 inches, but could be as long as the bat creator wanted to make
it. So he went to the wood lathe in his
garage and using pictures and drawings from the period he created his own bat. His fellow players admired the finished
product and soon he was getting requests to also make them for other teams
across the state and he soon found that he had created a bat-making business. As his business grew, Trudeau said he had to
make a decision whether to go full-time into bat-making, ” twenty years from
now,” He said, “ I didn’t want to look back and wonder, was I good enough to
have my bats in the top level of baseball, the major leagues?”
So, in the spring of 2000 Trudeau went to the Cleveland
Indians Spring training camp with an armload of bats that he asked Indian
players to try. Indians Infielder John
McDonald tried one and soon ordered some bats from Phoenix, becoming the first
major league player to use an Ohio-made bat.
….You can read the rest of this story in the October 22nd
edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at www.cleveland.com
You can also take tours of the Phoenix Bat Company. Check out their website at www.Phoenixbats.com
Also this month congratulations to some of my friends and colleagues that were inducted into the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame and Friday, October 28th. They include: Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News, Tom Beres of WKYC, Tom Feran of the Plain Dealer and Herb Thomas of Fox 8 TV who received the Chuck Heaton Award.