BAT MAN RETIRES,
AFTER 35 YEARS SUPPLYING BATS TO MLB® STARS, CHUCK SCHUPP LOADS BAT RACK ONE LAST TIME
LOUISVILLE, KY (March 27, 2014) –Baseball fans say Chuck Schupp has the dream job.
Imagine hanging out with Major League Baseball® players in clubhouses and around the batting cage. Picture getting calls on your cell phone from Derek Jeter and David Wright. Think about spending an entire month on ball fields at MLB Spring Training every year.
That’s what Chuck Schupp does. And he has for over 30 years. As Louisville Slugger’s Director of Professional Baseball Sales, Schupp has been Major League Baseball’s “bat man” since the 1980s, supplying MLB stars with the Louisville Slugger® bats they need to leave their mark and make history.
But now, as the 2014 MLB season gets set to start and he’s wrapped up yet another successful road trip through the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, “bat man” says he’s loaded an MLB bat rack for the last time. Schupp has decided to retire from Louisville Slugger.
“I always enjoyed Chuck. He is interesting and really knows his craft,” said Baseball Hall of Fame member Cal Ripken, Jr., baseball’s Ironman who certainly knows something about longevity. He was among the first players Schupp signed to a bat contract for Louisville Slugger.
“Chuck is a guy who always has a smile on his face, and he is a terrific baseball guy,” Ripken said. "He was the ultimate pro, and he really understands the relationship between a player and his bat. I hope Chuck enjoys his well-earned retirement.”
Schupp has truly left his mark, working with and supplying bats to over 30 members of Baseball’s Hall of Fame, from Johnny Bench to Barry Larkin. He’s signed hundreds of Major League players to swing Louisville Slugger, the number one and Official Bat of MLB. In addition to Ripken, Jr., that includes Hall of Famers like Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett, future Hall of Famers Ken Griffey, Jr. and Derek Jeter and current stars like David Wright, Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria, Joey Votto, Buster Posey and 2013 National League Batting Champion Michael Cuddyer.
While Schupp is retiring from Louisville Slugger, he doesn’t plan to leave the game. His eyes are now set on turning the page and becoming a consultant in the baseball and sports industries.
“It’s been an awesome ride, but after 35 years it’s time for a new chapter,” Schupp said. “While this has been a dream job, like any job, it has its challenges. I can’t think of a better time to wrap up an incredibly fulfilling career. Louisville Slugger has some of the most exciting wood bat innovations in years. There is a changing of the guard coming among big league players, and the next era of the brand will be in great hands.”
Schupp says he is grateful that his job allowed him the opportunity to be involved in the game he loves and make many wonderful friends, from players and clubhouse managers to front office staff and agents.
“While it’s hard for me to leave Louisville Slugger, I’m excited about this new opportunity in baseball because, in my role as a consultant, I’ll be partnering with many of the great baseball people I’ve built relationships with over the years as we work on a wide variety of exciting opportunities.”
Remarkably, Schupp is one of just four people in Louisville Slugger’s 130-year storied history to lead the company’s efforts in getting bats into the hands of Major League players.
“Chuck is an icon in the game and an institution in baseball,” said John A. Hillerich, IV, Hillerich & Bradsby Co./Louisville Slugger CEO. “He’s a man of great integrity and ethics. No one works harder or wants to win more than Chuck. He’s been the face of the Louisville Slugger brand among MLB circles for decades, and we couldn’t have asked for a better representative for the company. ”
Hillerich says Louisville Slugger will greatly miss Schupp’s straightforwardness, baseball knowledge, countless relationships and institutional knowledge.
“Chuck leaves an indelible mark on our company and Major League Baseball. He’ll always be part of our rich tradition and history. We wish him the very best in his new endeavors.”
NEW BAT MAN IS A 23-YEAR LOUISVILLE SLUGGER VETERAN
Louisville Slugger has appointed 23-year company veteran James Sass as the new Director of Professional Baseball Sales, filling the position Chuck Schupp has held for over three decades.
Sass, a former minor league baseball player in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and collegiate player at the University of Notre Dame on both the football and baseball teams, is prepared and ready for the challenge of keeping Louisville Slugger on top.
“James is highly qualified and ready to step up to the plate for us in this very important role,” says Louisville Slugger division president Bill Clark. “He’s played the game at very high levels, already has many relationships in Major League Baseball, and has played leadership roles in marketing and product development at Louisville Slugger for more than two decades.”
Most recently Sass has been involved with innovation and product development for Louisville Slugger’s wood and aluminum/composite performance bat lines. He played a key role on the team that developed MLB Prime, the biggest innovation in Louisville Slugger wood bats in more than a decade. Through his leadership, there are some very exciting things on the horizon in the aluminum/composite performance bat product lines. In addition to his product role, Sass has been the key player in the brand’s relationships with MLB Properties and related programs. He will continue to lead wood bat line planning for pro and retail and also remain the company’s primary contact with MLB Properties in addition to his new responsibilities as Director of Professional Baseball Sales.
“Our goal every day is to provide Major League players with the hardest and best performing bats on the market,” Sass says. “I’m sad to see Chuck retire from Louisville Slugger because he’s a friend and he’s meant so much to our company. He is one of the most respected people in all of pro baseball. I’m humbled, honored, and excited for the opportunity to take over what Chuck has poured his heart and soul into. I’m eager to continue working with our product development and production teams to make Major League Baseball’s very best and hardest bats so players can keep making history with Louisville Slugger.”
Schupp will assist Sass in transitioning into his new role as Louisville Slugger’s Director of Professional Baseball Sales.
“James can hit the ground running,” Schupp says. “He played pro ball so he’ll fit right in with the players in the clubhouse and around the cages. The equipment managers will feel comfortable with him knowing that he knows product as well as anyone in the company. I’m excited for James and know he’ll build on what we’ve achieved and keep Louisville Slugger on top.”
Sass assumes his new responsibilities on MLB’s Opening Day, March 31.
About Louisville Slugger
Louisville Slugger® is the Official Bat of Major League Baseball® and the #1 Bat in MLB®. It is synonymous with America’s pastime. Originating in 1884, Louisville Slugger bats have graced the hands of the greatest players in baseball, including stars of today. Known for helping create baseball history, now in its 130th baseball season, Louisville Slugger continues to innovate and provide players the products and confidence they need to make new history every day.
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