Sunday, April 12, 2015

"I feel like pigs in a waller," a.k.a, Topps exhibit at the Louisville Slugger Factory!

Louisville's hosted baseball since before a bat rolled out of Bud Hillerich's woodshop and into Pete Browning's hands (1884, courtesy their history page), but the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum is my favorite icon in a town synonymous with the pastime. I make it to Louisville about once a year, and this time, I lucked into extra baseball, as a Topps-themed spread occupied the factory's free exhibit room.

Here's my @Number5TypeCard twitter rundown of exhibit highlights; click through for bigger photos. Note how the mega-Mantle sits alongside Star Wars, reflecting Topps' open mind toward selling what's popular throughout their history.

Topps legend Sy Berger's smiling mug appeared ten feet inside the door, placed above a table of card components as "Cookin' Up Cards In The Kitchen."

Mounted on the wall, here's my favorite piece in the exhibit: a custom Louisville Slugger bike with a card pinned in the spokes! Now you can move that 1986 Topps Sid Bream faster that Sid Bream ever could himself! (I kid Sid, but he really could've benefited in a sport with bikepaths instead of basepaths.)

I voted on a bevy of competitions between Topps subjects, spanning Superman to Major League's Jobu totem. Heck with you, Elvis, it's Beatles across the board for me.

A bunch of Hollywood ephemera on display came from a deep-pockets collector of both cards and props, who coordinated with Louisville Slugger to fill cases with Luke's lightsaber, Indy's whip, and...damn, that really is Indy's whip. A variety of Topps sports cards filled other cabinets, covering football, hockey, soccer, basketball, and more.

There's the real Jobu totem, which (heads up to Cleveland fans) sits in neighboring Kentucky for another month or two.

Several autographed bats by huge names sat on display in the factory store and looked, to this fan's opinion, quite vulnerable to theft. Maybe they have a bunch more in a back room? At the other end of affordable, the blacked but unfinished bats cost $20 each, thanks to errors prior to the finishing process.

This run-through doesn't even cover the factory tour itself, which guides you through the process from raw timber to a sweet range of pro finishes. Slugger's factory isn't just a thing to do in town, it's really a baseball Mecca not many steps behind Cooperstown. Pair it with a Louisville Bats AAA game and you've got the meat and potatoes of baseball, past and present.

(And Slugger wasn't the only baseball meal I enjoyed on this trip. Next post, I'll cover a Cuban exhibit just around the corner.)

1 comment:

Sunny said...

Cool photo collection and commentary from the Twitter feed... way to re-share and expand the audience :-)