LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - How about that World Series? The billy goat curse is finally dead.
The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night, ending a 108-year drought. The final score of a thrilling Game 7 was 8-7 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. And did you know Louisville was a key part of the game?
Batmaker Louisville Slugger just finished its 132nd year in professional baseball. It likes to say Louisville has been represented in the World Series more than any other city.
This week, thanks to Rick Redman, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Hillerich & Bradsby Co., for answering my five questions.
1) How many bats does each player get for the World Series?
We do two-to-four bats for guys who swing Louisville Slugger, four for players who have a bat contract with us and two for others who swing our bats but aren't under contract.
2) Do any players make changes to the bats for the World Series?
Players are very superstitious and aren't likely to make any adjustments to their bat models for the World Series. They're going to stick with what worked for them through the season in most cases. The one difference is that their World Series bats are branded to say 2016 WORLD SERIES under their name, whereas during the regular season their team name would be under their name on the barrel.
3) How long from start to finish to make one bat for the factory?
There are 22 steps in the process of making a Major League-quality bat, what we call Louisville Slugger PRIME. That includes six quality checks along the way to ensure that those bats are the best of the best. The longest step is the cure time after the bats receive our proprietary ExoArmor finish. The spray finish, which makes PRIME bats twice as hard as any bat we've made in previous seasons, has to harden before it is buffed and polished and then branded. All totaled, making an MLB player's bat takes about 1-1/2 to two-days in most cases, although we have been known to do some rush orders for players who request it.
4) Have any of the players from Cleveland or Chicago come to the factory to make decisions about their bat?
We do get players in the factory from time-to-time, sometimes in the off-season and sometimes when their team is playing the Reds in Cincinnati and they can squeeze a little time to come down. Cleveland's sensational young shortstop Francisco Lindor has been here. On Thursday Will Benson, the Indians' first-round draft pick in 2016, was touring the factory and meeting with our pro bat representatives. He's just 18 and will be in Rookie Ball next year. When we meet with players, we are working with them to design a bat model to their exact specifications.
5) Are all the bats made out of the same wood?
No, there are three primary woods used by MLB players today. About 70 percent swing maple, 25 percent swing ash and 5 percent swing birch.
I was also curious about who has the heaviest bat – so this week, there's an extra question.
6) Who has the heaviest bat?
Our records over the decades show that Hall of Famer Edd Roush, who played from 1913 – 1931 in MLB -- many of those years for the Reds -- ordered the heaviest bats we've ever made for a pro player -- 48 ounces. In comparison, today's players typically swing bats that are 31.5 or 32 ounces. The heaviest bats we make today are for Joc Pederson of the Dodgers, Chris Davis of the Orioles and Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, all who swing 35-ounce bats.