SportsDisplays.com, makers of display pieces in their facility in Ventura, Calif., have been licensed by Lousville Slugger to re-create the company's bat racks from the early 1900s that are highly sought-after in the bat-collecting market.
Original Louisville Slugger A-frame bat racks can fetch more than $20,000. "They used them in stores to display Louisville Slugger bats," said SportsDisplays.com owner Mark Stehle. "The originals are worth a lot of money because there aren't many of them. We make bat racks and display cases, and I saw an original, so I contacted Louisville Slugger and they said it sounded pretty good, so we struck up a deal."
The 6 1/2-foot-tall bat racks will be produced in a limited edition, but the quantity hasn't yet been determined. "We'll eventually put a number on it," Stehle said. "But this is going to be it; there will only be one edition. It won't be available again."
Stehle said high-end-bat collectors are the primary target. "There are a lot of them out there, and they know their bat racks," he said. "That's why the original is worth so much. The bat collectors are paying a premium for them."
Stehle said the company found an original bat rack from which to replicate this new bat rack. Sportsdisplays.com makes the bat racks in-house, just like all of the other products available on its website.
"The original had an old decal sign on it, and we've replicated that," he said. "We used the same font. We're using the original style of hardware. There was an old manufacturer's logo burned into the original, and we had that redone."
The suggested retail price is $3,995. Wholesale opportunities are available. Visit SportsDisplays.com for more information. A prototype will be given away in a contest in Sports Collectors Digest and will be on display at SportsFest.