Louisville Slugger Cubs bat and guitar
Louisville Slugger and Fender teamed up to create the bats and guitars for the MLB All-Star Game. | Courtesy of Louisville Slugger Museum

Fender guitars are typically made of ash and maple. So are Louisville Slugger Bats. And for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities in Cleveland this weekend, July 5-9, the two giants in their respective industries are teaming up.

Louisville Slugger, a local institution since the 1880s, and Fender Musical Equipments Corp. will jointly pay homage to not just baseball but the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with a public exhibit of 31 pairs of Fender Stratocasters and Louisville Slugger bats, one for each Major League team and one for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The bat and guitar pairings will be auctioned online from July 5-29 at MLB Auctions. Proceeds will benefit MLB Charities initiatives and will be used to purchase instruments and learning resources for unspecified music programs.

Guitars and bats were customized by leading artists in each respective Major League city using themes drawn from historical, musical and baseball traditions of each city. The St. Louis pair pay homage to Chuck Berry, while Detroit’s celebrates Motown. The Yankee’s bat and guitar were based on art by Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius.

Cleveland series
The Cleveland series | Courtesy of Louisville Slugger Museum

Pairing music with baseball was an obvious choice for those behind the initiative.

“Almost everyone has been influenced by either sports or music in their lives,” said Evan Jones, Fender’s chief marketing officer, in a news release.

In addition, a series of co-designed Fender Supra Sunburst bats, created in the image of the classic Fender design, were created by the guitar company and finished with decals and clear coating by Louisville Slugger.

Participants in the Home Run Derby and Futures Game will receive a bat, and a series of 50 numbered bats will be sold on the Slugger website.

For Louisville Slugger, the partnership was a no-brainer.

“Louisville Slugger looks for a unique way to honor the All-Star Game host city every year,” said Slugger Brand Manager Joey Nowak in the release. “With Cleveland being the home of rock ’n’ roll, we sought a partner to help us make the music connection. Since both Fender and Louisville Slugger have many parallels, such as the use of ash and maple and their craftsmanship, they have enormous legacies within their industries.”

The bat and guitar exhibit will open from noon to 7 p.m., July 6-9, at Cleveland Public Square’s Midsummer Village. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]