LOUISVILLE, Ky. — April 1 marks Opening Day for the MLB – the first of 162 games each team will play this year. It’s a big day for Louisville Slugger when big league stars will walk up to the plate carrying bats made right here in the Derby City.
“On our pro side, we'll do about 500 bats a day,” Director of Wood Bat Manufacturing Bob Hillerich said. “On our retail side, it'll be close to 2,500 to 3,000 a day, depending on the season.”
Manufacturing all those bats produces a lot of sawdust and woodchips – about 50,000 pounds worth a week. Only about one-third of a wooden block turns into a bat. The other two-thirds is sucked up and transported to a trailer.
Typically, once a week, Dean Wagler will come to collect the full trailer and brings it to his turkey farm in Montgomery, Indiana.
The remnants of the bats of some of the sport’s biggest superstars are helping out some of the smallest creatures.
“It's really small and soft, and we make it about two inches deep,” Wagler said. “It's not very dusty, and so it really works great for little baby turkeys.”
The shavings are used as bedding for turkeys that are just days old.
It’s a premier product that Wagler can’t find anywhere else – the baseball connection is just a bonus.
“Some of the sawdust that we're using comes off of a bat that just hit a homerun,” Wagler said. “So it's a great thing.”