Back in about 1970 I took a tour through the old H&B factory in
Louisville. It is a minor miracle that the place did not burn down and
take lives with it. Open barrels of finish right next to the machinery
that branded the bats were enough to give an OSHA inspector nightmares.
They had a room where you could handle the actual bats that they used
as standards for each player under contract. I remember pulling down a
bat at random. It had been Mel Ott's.
Ah, a Slugger......
I remember well, as a kid, going to the "Big 5" store in North Hollywood
(across Laurel Canyon Blvd. from Sears), and buying the "Micky Mantle"
signature model (34 in, 34 oz). For $4.99.
The Mantle profile had a thin handle, so I and my teammates broke a lot of
them. Now, the Harmon Killebrew profile also a real thin handle and a huge
clubhead. And the Yaz profile was likw a stump: thick handle all the way to
I would think our local "bat mill" probably supplies blanks to them, as the
mill has been there for many, many years. Used to be able to go get free
firewood so they didn't have to burn it all, but it sure looked funny, all
cored out. They use a ganged hole saw to core the blanks out of the logs.
The law of intelligent tinkering: save all the parts.
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