No Spring Training Required: Baseball Bat Maker in 45th Year - WDRB 41 Louisville News

No Spring Training Required: Baseball Bat Maker of Legends in 45th Year

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You might call Danny Luckett the "bat-maker for the stars."

He's spent four decades making bats for major leaguers at Hillerich & Bradsby, including a number of Hall of Famers.

Luckett has now reported for his 45th spring training.

"It's awful busy," he said.

No player's bats have hit more home runs than his.

"It's been a really enjoyable career as far as what I've done and what I've seen my work do," he said.

And he was the last to make Louisville Sluggers for professionals by hand.

"The quota was one bat every 15 minutes," Luckett recalled. "The machine I run today will turn 12 bats in less time than that."

Today it's all mechanized, but Danny Luckett has carved his place in baseball history.

"That was the most special part to me," said Josh Hamilton, a 2010 American League MVP. "I talked to him a little bit, and I can't imagine the bats that are in the Hall of Fame that he has made, and some of them he has made by hand."

Like the bat that was used by Joe Carter to hit the winning home run for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series.

"I made that bat here," Luckett said.

Even baseball icons like Hank Aaron tip their hats to Luckett.

"We were standing right up there when he said, 'I met Danny -- the guy who made my bats. I should have taken him into the Hall of Fame with me!'" recalled Luckett.

"He made every one of my bats by hand, and I told him, I said, 'Danny, you did a hell a of a job,'" Aaron said. "Seven-hundred and fifty-five -- thank you so very much!"

Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Cal Ripkin, Jr. also swung bats with the Luckett touch. The last bat he made by hand went to Craig Biggio -- a member of the 3,000 hit club.

And Luckett wouldn't have made a single one of them, if not for sheer fate.

"When I got out of the Air Force and was looking for a job, I went to the unemployment office and talked to the veterans representative, and he said something about making baseball bats," Luckett said. "I said, 'I really don't care. I need a job.' So he sent me here -- and that was 44 years ago."

And if Danny Luckett ever wants to be reminded of the history he made in baseball, all he has to do is come out and take a couple of cuts in the batting cage outside the factory with Hank Aaron's bat, and he gets a quick reminder.

Copyright 2014 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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