(WJW) – Few American institutions are as old – or beloved – as baseball.
At an industrial park near Columbus, we found a company that embraces the passion and history of the game. It’s just a One Tank Trip away!
“In 1996, the founder of our company, Charles Trudeau, was playing vintage baseball. It’s where they play the 1860s rules, wear the 1860s clothing,” said Joel Armbruster, CEO of the Phoenix Bat Company.
“A lot of guys on his team knew of his woodworking skill and, you know, kind of pitched the idea to him about, ‘Hey, could you try and make us some bats?’” said Brad Taylor, vice president of the company.
That’s how the Phoenix Bat Company was born, or reborn.
“He called it Phoenix Bat Company because he was only making vintage bats. And the phoenix rises from the
ashes every hundred years. All the vintage bats he was making was out of ash,” Armbruster said.
By 1999, he was also making modern bats for professional baseball players.
Phoenix Bats still makes faithful vintage reproductions, but they also make premium custom bats for anyone.
“People come in. They need a bat. Well, I’ve got bats all over that I can sell you, but I need the right bat for you. So, we always ask you what type of hitter you are. Where do you hit in the lineup? And you’ve got to be honest because, you know, a 14-year-old kid, if you ask him what type of hitter you are, everybody’s a power hitter,” said Armbruster.
“When we do our fits here, it’s really more or less about, ‘let’s find the right bat that feels correct in your hands,’ because hitting is such a difficult thing to do, no matter what level you play at. If we can instill the confidence when they walk out of here with a bat that they know feels right, it just kind of eases the mind a little bit when they get up to the plate. So, it’s one less thing to have to worry about,” Taylor said.
The bats are made from pro-grade maple, birch, or ash wood. The production process is fascinating,
surprisingly fast and incredibly precise.
“We’re very blessed to have the machine that we do. The Locatelli CNC Lathe that we have, it’s one of three in the world that are used in our industry to make baseball bats. You won’t find anything more accurate and more precise. We’re able to program to the exact millimeter exactly what we want each bat to measure at from every inch mark along the bat,” Taylor said.
These bats are a product of passion and a love for the game that’s evident in the people you meet here.
So, if you want to swing for the fences, there’s no need to go to Arizona. This ‘Phoenix’ is just a One Tank Trip.