The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Breaking News

April 1, 2013

Louisville Slugger rolls out new logo, harder bats

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The familiar smell of hot dogs and freshly cut grass on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day will be complemented by changes to the iconic Louisville Slugger bat, which is now made with firmer wood and stamped with a new logo.

The 129-year-old manufacturer hopes the harder bat, which is less likely to splinter, and more modern logo will help the family-owned company stay relevant in the sporting good supply market and ahead of competitors in luring younger ballplayers to its products.

The new logo is the first such change since the company dropped the “Hillerich & Bradsby” name from the center of its oval design and replaced it with “Louisville Slugger” in 1980. And the new bats, which are made from a high-grade wood and processed to enhance the surface’s hardness, are the biggest change in the hardware since the introduction of cup-ended bats in 1972.

“You have to ask yourself, Do you really need to change it?” Louisville Slugger CEO John Hillerich said of the logos and bats. “Our greatest asset is our brand.”

The changes were the result of a multi-year process that involved talking with everyone from corporate partners to players about what they wanted in a bat to how the new logo looked on the equipment.

The new bats — made of ash or maple — are designed to be harder than previous models. Bobby Hillerich, director of Wood Bat Manufacturing for Louisville Slugger, said new selection processes for the wood, as well as drying and processing methods, have created a bat hard enough to reach a grade of 9h — the highest rating possible by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Buyers search for the hardest wood available — known as veneer wood — which is vacuum dried to pull moisture out of the wood and push the material closer together, Bobby Hillerich said. Once that is done, the wood is cut into billets used to create the bats. The billets are shaped and compressed before being finished with a water-based coating, logo, and any coloring and player signature.

Part of the aim of the new bat is to keep it from splintering on the field. In recent years, baseball officials have been concerned about maple bats breaking or shattering, creating potential hazards for infielders. Bobby Hillerich said the new bats have held up well in tests.

“The crack of the bat is just so much different because of the drying process,” Hillerich said.

Howard Smith, Vice President of Licensing for Major League Baseball, said players tested the new bats toward the end of the 2012 season and gave it “rave reviews.” Louisville Slugger has refined bat-making to a science, Smith said.

“In terms of the slope of the grain, which determines how hard the wood will be, Louisville has been able to harvest the best wood with the most perfect as you can get slope of grain,” Smith said. “It has absolutely contributed to less bats breaking on the field.”

With the new bats comes a new look. The old Louisville Slugger logo — an oval featuring the company name at the center with the number “125” above it — is being replaced by a new logo that keeps the oval, but slightly alters the look of the Louisville Slugger name and has an interlocking “LS” above it. The bats, marketed as MLB Prime, will also feature a player’s signature boxed in by the Louisville Slugger name, the model number, a notation that the bat is genuine and the wood from which it is made.

Older bats featured the model number and the Louisville Slugger name in parallel lines around a player’s signature.

“We saw the brand in need of a small bit of an infusion of modernity,” said Kyle Schlegel, vice president of Global Marketing for Hillerich & Bradsby.

“Changing such an iconic logo can come with risks, particularly if the alterations are dramatic enough to cause customers to not recognize the brand identity,” said Michael Barone, a professor of marketing at the University of Louisville. Other long-standing brands, such as Ivory, Betty Crocker and Harley-Davidson, have successfully made small logo changes over the years, Barone said.

“When you’ve been in the market that long, consumers may start to think you are not as contemporary or relevant as you really are,” Barone said. “A logo could signal something new. It helps get attention back to a mature brand.”

The company is rolling out the new logo with a “What Mark Will You Leave?” campaign on its website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

To John Hillerich, the logo change and launch on Opening Day fits well with the future he sees for the company, a path that takes it into deeper ties with baseball. Along with bats, the new logo will appear on equipment bags, catcher equipment and gloves.

Eventually, the logo could appear on apparel and other items, possibly even pop-up stores or restaurants, Hillerich said.

“Could you take that on the road?” he asked. “Those decisions are five to 10 years out, depending on how you grow the company.”

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Boyfriend of missing Shelbyville woman arrested Authorities searching for a missing central Indiana woman have discovered what they believe to be human remains and have arrested the woman's boyfriend.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushes Medicaid alternative with HHS chief Gov. Mike Pence has told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell that he wants to maintain Indiana's "freedom and flexibility" under any expansion of Medicaid.

    July 30, 2014

  • Indianapolis mayor backs tax to hire more officers

    Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is seeking a tax increase to pay for hiring more police officers as part of a wide-ranging response to the city's recent surge in deadly violence.

    July 30, 2014

  • Colts Camp update: Will injured players return?

    Cornerback Vontae Davis and safety LaRon Landry have yet to participate in a training camp practice, and running back Trent Richardson has missed four straight after running through drills on opening day. Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano doesn't want to rush any of those players back onto the field. But he made it clear Wednesday morning at Anderson University that he hopes to see them back soon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators

     New York City officials are turning up the heat on Elmo, Cookie Monster and Statue of Liberty impersonators — Times Square costumed characters who often demand money for posing in photos with tourists.

    July 30, 2014

  • US economy grew at strong 4 percent rate in spring

    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence wants immigrant children taken out of state

    Gov. Mike Pence is asking that more than 200 immigrant children placed in Indiana be deported and chiding President Barack Obama for not alerting him of the placements.

    July 30, 2014

  • Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

    A broken water main near the UCLA campus Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, trapping people in underground parking garages and covering some of the best-known parts of campus in water, including the school's famed basketball arena.

    July 30, 2014

  • Senior housing project advances If all the pieces fall into place within the next two weeks, construction on a new senior housing development could begin this fall.

    July 30, 2014

  • Officials: Indiana sheriff gave prostitute uniform

    A southern Indiana sheriff accused of patronizing a prostitute gave the woman a deputy's badge and uniform so she could get hotel discounts, then later encouraged her to get rid of the evidence, authorities said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Now that Andrew Luck is getting ready to start the third year of his NFL career, did the Colts make the right decision to release Peyton Manning and turn the offense over to Luck?

Yes, the future is bright.
No, the Colts would have won another Super Bowl by now if they had kept Manning.
Don't know; don't care
     View Results