Louisville Slugger Reportedly Losing Market Share Among MLBers To Other Bat Companies
Hillerich & Bradsby, maker of Louisville Slugger, "has been losing major leaguers to other bat companies for several years and no longer is the undisputed king of swing," according to Ray Giler of USA TODAY. The Marucci Bat Company "has emerged as Slugger's biggest rival in an increasingly crowded field of manufacturers." There are 32 companies "licensed to make bats for major league and minor league players," which is up from 10 in '93. Marucci said that it is the "No. 1 bat when it comes to usage by major leaguers, a claim difficult to verify." But Louisville Slugger "does acknowledge it has lost significant ground to Marucci and others." Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion has "used both bats, although he has relied mostly on Marucci in recent years." At the '13 All-Star game, Encarnacion "was greeted by a representative of Louisville Slugger offering to donate money or equipment to a charity of Encarnacion's choosing if he swung a Louisville Slugger bat in the game." Marucci held a party in N.Y. during the All-Star break "to trumpet its milestone of passing Louisville Slugger." But Hillerich & Bradsby sent out a press release that said, "The Official Bat of Major League Baseball is still being manufactured in Louisville, Ky., and despite what competition has recently said, Louisville Slugger is still the #1 choice among the best players in the game." Marucci BOD member Reed Dickens said, "We can get into arguments all day about how to count numbers, but the crux of this story is that we have never paid a player and they do pay players. ... From five years ago to today, we have taken half their market share without paying a player" (USA TODAY, 10/2).