Heavy hitters help Nokona bat company meet deadline
In a pinch, the Nokona Athletic Goods Company turned to one group sure to meet their expectations.
With one of the Spindle City’s newest companies rushing to get 4,000 baseball bats ready for youth bat night at McCoy Stadium Friday night, Nokona officials turned to the military for some help.
Already in town as they passed through from Cape Cod, Nokona Baseball Factory CEO Jerry O’Connor asked the members of the U.S. Military All-Star baseball team for their assistance to get the bats ready.
Ready to aid, team members spent part of the day Tuesday applying stickers that recognize the events sponsors to the bats.
Along with prepping the bats, team members also helped get the factory ready for Friday’s planned public opening.
“We had 30 or so charged up, very motivated guys here to give us a hand and we were able to get a lot done,” O’Conner said. “It was a great day.”
Having the helping hand was a combination of good luck and timing. Sponsored by Nokona, the team stopped by the Fall River factory for a tour and to take a few swings in the batting cages after having played games against Cape Cod League teams.
They then got pressed into duty to aid with the bat night favors.
O’Connor said the partnership with the team is born out of the fact that Nokona is the last remaining company to manufacture gloves only in the U.S.
“Our commitment to stay in the U.S. inspired them to stay with us,” O’Conner said of the partnership.
Makers of maple and ash wood bats, Nokona is preparing to open a manufacturing plant in the industrial park on Friday.
The facility, at 390 Airport Road, is being built to make high-end baseball bats, while becoming a destination for anyone interested in the sport.
Along with the manufacturing center, where visitors can watch a bat made from start to finish, the facility is planned to include an outdoor baseball diamond and indoor batting cages to provide an opportunity to use the company’s bats.
Nokona sought to build the facility as their baseball bat products gained popularity among Latin American players and the company’s agreement with a Pennsylvania furniture producer could not meet the increased demand. The roster of those using Nokona’s Demolition Bats reads like an All-Star lineup card and includes Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada.
E-mail Will Richmond at firstname.lastname@example.org.