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28-Apr-2015 03:14

The bats were sold under the name "Falls City Slugger" until Bud Hillerich took over his father's company in 1894, and the name "Louisville Slugger" was registered with the U. 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. In 1954, the company purchased Larimer and Norton, Inc., a Pennsylvania lumber company to ensure a supply of hardwood for their products.

Bud invited Browning to his father's shop to hand-craft him a new bat to his 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. Hillerich was uninterested in making bats; he saw the company future in stair railings, porch columns and swinging butter churns.

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.

The team's star, Pete "The Gladiator" Browning, mired in a hitting slump, broke his bat.

During World War II, the company produced wooden rifle stocks and billy clubs for the U. In 1976, the company moved across the Ohio River, to Jeffersonville, Indiana, to take advantage of the railroad line there.

In the 1990s, the company returned to Louisville, Kentucky.

Browning told his teammates, which began a surge of professional ball players to the Hillerich woodworking shop. In fact, for a brief time in the 1880s, he even turned away ball players.Bud, however, saw the potential in producing baseball bats, and the elder Hillerich eventually relented to his son. In 1905, Honus Wagner signed a deal with the company, becoming the first baseball player to officially endorse a bat.



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