Hillerich & Bradsby Collection
The story of how Hillerich & Bradsby got into the baseball bat business is an interesting one. According to legend, in 1884 a young man named John A. “Bud” Hillerich was attending a Louisville Eclipse baseball game when the team’s star player, Pete Browning, broke his bat. Bud’s father, J.F. Hillerich, was a woodworker and offered to make Browning a new bat. Browning liked the bat so much that he used it in his next game and got three hits. Other players began asking for bats made by Hillerich, and soon the Hillerich family was in the baseball bat business. Before making baseball bats, J.F. Hillerich actually started his woodworking business making butter churns. The company expanded into making other products, including bedposts and handrails for staircases. But it was the success of their baseball bats that really put them on the map. Today, the Hillerich & Bradsby Company is still going strong, and the Louisville Slugger brand is one of the most recognizable names in baseball. The company even has its own museum in downtown Louisville, where visitors can learn more about the history of the company and see some of the most famous bats in baseball history.