Training day: How Baton Rouge’s Marucci hit the major leagues

CEO and co-founder Kurt Ainsworth considers Marucci one of Baton Rouge’s best-kept secrets.

That secret? Local start-up Marucci supplies high-quality wood bats for more than a third of baseball’s Major League teams.

Ainsworth, who pitched at LSU before joining the big leagues with the San Francisco Giants and Baltimore Orioles, was training to recover from an injured arm alongside his college teammate Joe Lawrence. Working with LSU trainer Jack Marucci, they discovered Marucci’s hobby of making wood bats by hand in his garage.

They launched their company in 2004, and in its early days would get angry calls from teams that ordered a dozen bats but only received a few.

“Well, that’s all we had good wood for,” Ainsworth would explain. Nothing less than perfect would ever leave the shop.

“That’s truly what built the roots for the brand as it is today in the major leagues: that we weren’t going to just fill an order and send out a bad product,” Ainsworth says. “We were going to make sure every bat was perfect. Every bat was a gamer.”

From the garage to the mill to stores across the United States, Ainsworth and Lawrence grew their business in partnership with Marucci himself based on the promise of the highest-quality bats on the market. Each bat is proudly emblazoned with Marucci’s name—a name you often can catch now on TV during MLB games.

The brand has expanded with the introduction of the Marucci Sports label, which goes beyond bats to manufacture uniforms for more than 1,000 teams nationwide and fielding gloves they aim to get onto 50 major league players this year. In December, the company also opened the Hitter’s House, a cutting-edge practice facility with a full line of Marucci products to demo and 24/7 batting cages for athletes.

Looking at Marucci’s roster of business partners—major leaguers like David Ortiz and Albert Pujols—it seems there’s no stopping the momentum.