The Beach Times

From Centerville to the Major Leagues: The History of Barnstable Bat Company
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 23, 2019


Barnstable Bat company

Do you want to take a small piece of Cape Cod home with you from your vacation?

One option is picking up a souvenir from Barnstable Bat Company, which makes both novelty bats and game-quality items that you can use in your baseball league at home.

In fact, many players in the Cape Cod Baseball League currently use these bats, and they have even made appearances in the Major Leagues over the years, making them one of the Cape's most famous exports.

Here's what you should know about the history of Barnstable Bat Company and the products available at its reclusive Centerville location.

The Beginnings

Barnstable Bat Company opened its doors back in 1992 when Tom Bednark decided to combine his love of baseball with his woodworking skills. A custom woodworker by trade, Bednark was taking in a Cape Cod Baseball League game one day when he declared that he would begin making and selling bats of his own.

When first getting started, Bednark exclusively made novelty bats and faced a bit of a learning curve. Over time, he improved his novelty bat creations, leading to players in the Cape Cod League asking if he'd consider making real bats for them. At that time, Bednark shifted his focus and hasn't looked back since.

Bednark believes that he can get higher quality wood than some of the larger manufacturers in the United States because he needs less material for his relatively small operation.

Within a few years, Bednark's bats had exploded in popularity, partially due to John Petkey winning the Cape League's batting title in 1994 while using one.

The evolution of Barnstable Bat Company didn't stop there, however, as it would rapidly reach heights that Bednark would never have expected.

Bats in the Major Leagues

Word of Barnstable Bat Company got around quickly, to the point where Major Leaguers started using them in 1995. Supplying bats for Major League Baseball is an exclusive club, as only 13 companies have ever received approval. Bednark was able to gain permission, however, leading to even more notoriety for his creations.

At its peak, Barnstable Bat Company was supplying bats to about 250 Major League players in any given year. In fact, well-known players like Manny Ramirez, Mo Vaughn, and Jose Canseco used Barnstable Bats at one point or another, and Geronimo Berroa hit 36 home runs using Bednark's products in 1996.

By 2002, however, it was no longer financially viable for Barnstable Bat Company to continue selling bats at the Major League level because the insurance costs became prohibitive. Bednark reports that liability insurance alone is $100,000 per year, and since Bednark makes every bat himself, it would be challenging to sell enough bats to keep up.

Bats Currently Available

Today, Bednark manufactures about 10,000 bats per year with his computerized lathe. All he has to do is load up a piece of wood, and the machinery takes care of the rest, ensuring that he makes every item to the exact specifications. The machine can make about 40 bats per hour, so he's able to turn out a lot of products on any given day.

Bednark makes most of his inventory for the Cape Cod League and little leagues around the country that use wooden bats, with many of the company's sales coming from places like Texas, Florida, and California. These items are also popular with softball and other recreational adult leagues.

Wood types used by Barnstable Bat Company include ash, maple, and birch, with fungo bats, youth bats, pony bats, softball bats, and tee-ball bats also being available.

If you have a special event that you'd like to commemorate, Barnstable Bat Company will engrave a custom bat for you, too. Customers commonly use these custom bats for birth announcements, but you can have them customized in a variety of different ways.

You'll likely have to order your custom bat before leaving on your Cape Cod vacation to ensure that Bednark can complete it on time.

Visiting Barnstable Bat Company

If you want to visit Barnstable Bat Company during your time on Cape Cod, you'll first have to find the place. You see, despite the business' success, the Bednarks run the company out of the walk-out basement of their house in Centerville.

The house is just north of Wequaquet Lake on Pleasant Pines Avenue. You can get there by exiting the Mid-Cape Highway onto Iyannough Road and then taking a right on Huckins Neck Road. You'll then take another right onto Pleasant Pines and find the home on the right-hand side.

When you get there, follow the long driveway around the back of the building and park near the blue shop. There's a sign marking the entrance of Barnstable Bat Company.

On most days, the company will have about 300 bats in stock, so you'll have a significant amount of inventory from which to choose. You can also pre-order bats on their website and pick them up during your time on the Cape.

Call Barnstable Bat Company ahead of time to make sure they're open before your arrival. If you're a baseball lover, you won't want anything to prevent you from visiting this Cape Cod institution.



Barnstable Barnstable Bats Cape Cod Baseball

Taking a Piece of Cape Cod Home This Holiday
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, November 26, 2018


Cape Cod Beach Chair Company

After spending a week or two in your Cape Cod vacation rental, you'll probably want to pick out a souvenir or two to commemorate your time here. But what to choose?

Of course, you could always go with the ever-popular t-shirt or shot glass, if you want to make the obvious choice. You can find these products in souvenir shops, but keep in mind that most of them are made in China and don't have any real connection to the Cape.

Or, if you're looking for something that is unique to Cape Cod, you could have a look at some of the remarkable items that Cape residents produce and sell here.

These items will not only remind you of the great time you had on the Cape, but they’re also things that you can use, or eat, once you return home. And best of all, you might have the chance to visit the place where they were actually made, which is something that you don’t have the opportunity to do every day.

Have a look at the following souvenir ideas so that you can bring a piece of the Cape home with you after this year’s vacation.

 

Cape Cod Beach Chair Company

The Cape Cod Beach Chair Company has been around since 2002 and prides itself on its innovate, comfortable chairs that are made to last. The wooden chair frame construction maximizes their lifespan, while the premium canvas on the rest of the chair allows for the use of a variety of patterns and styles.

The factory and store sits on Old Queen Anne Road in East Harwich, which is right between Route 6 and Route 28. In addition to chairs, you can also purchase beach towels, coolers, beach games, and chair accessories, so even if you're not in the market for a new chair, you can buy something. And if you are flying into Cape Cod and don't have space for a chair, it's possible to order one and have it shipped to your home.

 

Scargo Pottery

The locally produced pottery and artwork found at Scargo Pottery is exceptional, and it's easy to see what this location is so popular with locals and visitors alike. Everything available here is handmade, including the candles, wooden spoons, plates, pots, and jugs, and you'll be blown away when you see the scope of the items found at the storefront on Dr. Lord's Road in Dennis. You'll even see a collection of sculptures here, should you want to invest in some artwork.

The artisans, Kim Holl, Tina Holl, and Meden Parker, have a wealth of experience in creating these items and have a passion for the industry. Custom work is sometimes available, depending on the current workload of the artists and your timeline for getting the articles completed. Stop by if you'd like to remember your vacation with a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

 

Barnstable Bats

What could be more American than picking up a baseball bat as a souvenir? Not much, especially if you're able to head to the actual site where the bat was made. Barnstable Bats are created in Centerville from Ash, Maple, and Birch and with over 500 bats in stock in the showroom, you're sure to find something that you like.

Barnstable Bats dates back to 1992, and by 1994, they were commonly used all over the Cape. By 1996, the bats had reached Major League Baseball, and although they're no longer in use in MLB, college, high school, and men's senior leagues still love them. You can even order a birth bat with your child's name, birth-date, and weight on it if you're looking for something custom to commemorate a special occasion.

 

Cape Cod Chocolatier

Want to bring something edible back from Cape Cod but don't know where to look? Cape Cod Chocolatier on Falmouth Road in Centerville is a great place to start because not only does it have some of the best chocolate you'll ever taste, but it's all made right on the Cape.

Cape Cod Chocolatier dates back to 2002 when Carol and Rob Cronin decided to get into the chocolate business. They only use the finest of ingredients and traditional chocolate-making techniques, such as a wooden paddle and copper kettle, in their goods, so you can be sure that you end up with the purest and tastiest chocolate you’ve ever tried.

 

Other Things to Take Home

This is just a partial list of ways that you can take a piece of Cape Cod home with you, as you could also bring some locally produced Cape Cod Beer, Truro Vineyards wine, or Cape Cod Potato Chips, if you want to go small, or a boat that was made on the Cape by E.M. Crosby Boatworks, if you're looking to go big.

While Cape Cod might not have a reputation as a major producer of goods, you’ll soon learn that there are plenty of things made here by locals with the utmost in care. Once you see the time and effort that goes into keeping these modest operations afloat, you can’t help but support the small businesses the call the Cape home.



Barnstable Bats Cape Cod Beach Chair Company Cape Cod Beer Cape Cod Chocolatier Cape Cod Gifts Cape Cod Potato Chips Crosby Boatworks Scargo Pottery Truro Vineyards

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