Louisville Slugger Factory Making Bats Again as Workers Return

Dan Mennella
May 12, 2020 - 9:47 am

One of the factories that supplies America's pastime has reopened, in another sign that baseball could be nearing a return from its suspension due to the coronavirus.

Workers returned to a Hillerich & Bradsby plant in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, paving the way for the resumed production of the famed Louisville Slugger, wielded by countless Major League hitters over the years.

The plant began filling orders for big league sluggers on Monday, the Associated Press reported.

The plant closed in March, and Hillerich & Bradsby furloughed 90 percent of its employees in April, citing economic distress from the coronavirus crisis. The company said 171 workers were returned to the payroll on May 4, WYMT reported.

Production resumed Monday with workers wearing masks and having their temperature checked twice daily, according to the Associated Press.

The news was another positive development for sports-starved fans, who learned on Monday that MLB's owners approved a plan for the return of baseball, pending negotiation from the players union.

The reopening of the factory was made possible after Hillerich & Bradsby received funds under the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, according to WYMT. The program, designed to provide relief for smaller businesses with 500 or fewer employees, was well received initially but has come under increasing criticism in recent weeks.

The reopening came amid a statewide easing of lockdown restrictions in Kentucky on Monday. Auto and boat dealerships, manufacturing, construction, office-based companies and pet grooming were among some of the other sectors allowed to reopen.

MLB action has been suspended since March 12, when the league shut down Spring Training due to the budding public health crisis.