Back on the Road – A Stop in Louisville

Louisville, KY

OK, again it has been a while since our last post during a visit to the Thousand Islands in Northern New York.  Since then we returned to our former home town of York, PA to complete some yearly medical visits, spend some time with our daughter, and visit friends.  Now we are back on the road heading in a westerly direction.  When we heard that doggy friend Cody (oh yes, and David and Karen) were going to be in the Louisville area, we decided to make that our first stop.  So after a long two day drive (with an overnight at a Cabela’s in Charleston, WV), we arrived at the South Louisville KOA in Shepardsville, KY.

We had a decent site right next to David and Karen.  David is from Louisville and has many relatives in the area.  So the next day he invited us to join them for a visit to a newly acquired house on a lake south of Louisville owned by his nephew, Eddie.

Eddie’s family weekend retreat

The house and nearby Nolin Lake are alive with activity on weekends, but things were pretty quiet during our mid-week visit.  Eddie was there doing some maintenance and offered to take us for a cruise around part of Nolin Lake in his pontoon boat.

Karen, David, and Cody (the cute one in the middle) enjoy the breeze

Captain Eddie at the controls with the crew relaxing in the background

Pam and one of  her favorite buddies enjoy the cruise

The next day Cody rested in their RV while the rest of us went into Louisville for a visit to the Hillerich and Bradsby Company, makers of the famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

Giant “Louisville Slugger” in the entrance

J. F. Hillerich opened a woodworking shop in Louisville in 1855.  During the 1880s, Hillerich hired his seventeen-year-old son, John “Bud” Hillerich.  Legend has it that Bud, who played baseball himself, slipped away from work one afternoon in 1884 to watch Louisville’s major league team, the Louisville Eclipse.  During the game the team’s star, Pete “The Louisville Slugger” Browning, mired in a hitting slump, broke his bat.

Bud invited Browning to his father’s shop to hand-craft a new bat to Pete’s own specifications.  Browning accepted the offer, and got three hits to immediately break out of his slump with his new bat the first day he used it.  Browning told his teammates, which began a surge of professional ball players to the Hillerich woodworking shop.  Soon bats were the shop’s only product.  Frank Bradsby, a salesman, became a partner in 1916 and the company’s name changed to Hillerich and Bradsby.  By 1923, H&B was selling more bats than any other bat maker in the country, and legends like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were all using them.

Along the front of the building is a series of home plate shaped plaques with a bat next to them honoring many of the famous players who used a Louisville Slugger.  Below is a photo of the plaque honoring Babe Ruth.

White ash and maple wood is shipped to the factory in a rough pole called a billet.  Originally each billet was placed in a wood lathe and milled by hand.  Now the milling is all completed in seconds by a machine.

A billet on the left and an old lathe on the right

Today the factory turns out 2,000 to 5,000 bats a day for professional and recreation players.  Big league players order 100 to 120 bats a year!

The factory has a nice visitor center with a number of displays. Below David and John test out replicas of the bats used by Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.

A bat looks a bit small in the huge hands of a former little league right fielder!

After a great visit we said good-bye to David, Karen, and Cody as they headed north for a visit to Michigan.  We are continuing to make our way west and have some stops planned along the way.

More on that later . . .

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28 Responses to Back on the Road – A Stop in Louisville

  1. Looks like lots of fun! AND glad you are heading west!!! Hope to see you this winter.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Nice to see you guys back on the road and heading “west”. We’re thinking about cutting our Midwestern sojourn short…. them there mountains be a calling!

  3. pmbweaver says:

    Beautiful header. I like the new clean look. Good job.

    Eddie’s place looks lovely. Nice change to be out on the water.

    I know I already told you how much fun Paul and I had at Louisville Slugger. It was so cool to see two of the Cleveland Indians’ bats being made that day.

    Paul and I just want to say that you two sure went waaaaayyyy out of your way to avoid coming through Canton to see us. Now you are headed for MI! You have some explaining to do for sure.

  4. What, no hikes with Cody? Surely he knows you as the nice people who like to wear him out! Good to see you back in travel mode!

    • placestheygo says:

      We looked for some hiking but we needed to be over near Lexington for any decent hiking. So Cody had to settle for a boat ride instead. Westward ho!! The mountains and rocks are calling!!

  5. Glad to see you back on the road and heading our way West! But for sure time with Cody and friends are great seaways of things to come.
    I like Marsha’s comment, you have lots of explaining to do for not going thru Ohio, I guess Cody has more priority… ha ha ha.

    • placestheygo says:

      Don’t worry, we weren’t avoiding the Weaver’s. Marsha thought we circled around them but we are heading to Nebraska not Michigan.

      It’s good to be heading back west:)

  6. Happy to see you heading west! Maybe this will be the fall/winter our paths will finally cross.

  7. Pam says:

    I’ve stayed at that campground did you check out the Arboretum ?

  8. Sarah says:

    Like everyone else, I’m also glad to see that you have begun your westward journey. The east coast can be nice, but nothing can beat what the west has to offer. I read in the comments that you will be driving through Nebraska. We really enjoyed several nice stops there when we passed through the state last fall. I’m looking forward to seeing where you end up.

    • placestheygo says:

      I’ll have to go back and check out your blog to see what you found in Nebraska. We’ve only been to the Scott’s Bluff area. We are very excited to be pointed in a westerly direction:) I am so ready to get back to the wide open views.

  9. Laurel says:

    The boat outing looks wonderful and the baseball bat factory looks interesting (Eric would definitely like that) but I’m sure you guys are REALLY happy to be heading west! Happy trails!

  10. Sherry says:

    Glad to see you and Cody again. I was wondering where you were. The one thing the west is missing for me is water and for lots of other obviously this year, but I don’t mean rain. Nolin lake looks beautiful.

  11. explorvistas says:

    This is a ‘must’ for us, Pam! Thanks for the tour!

  12. LuAnn says:

    Being out on the water looks like a lot of fun. So glad to see you two heading back out west. Safe travels!

  13. Holly Ritger says:

    I love the photo of the huge baseball bat at H & B. One of these days I would love to visit and see the baseball bats made. I still have my bat from the 1950s….

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