THE NEW BAT MAN,
LOUISVILLE SLUGGER® VETERAN JAMES SASS IS COMPANY’S NEW FACE FOR MLB® PLAYERS,
PRAISED BY FSU’S MARTIN & STANFORD’S MARQUESS
LOUISVILLE, KY (April 28, 2014) –In the movies, the role of Batman has been a revolving door. Michael Keaton. Val Kilmer. George Clooney. Christian Bale.
Not so for Louisville Slugger’s version of Bat Man – a position that represents the company to players in Major League Baseball® – which has been held by just five people over the past 130 years. That includes Chuck Schupp who retired last month after 35 seasons with baseball’s top brand. Now, along comes James Sass, Louisville Slugger’s newest Bat Man. He’s prepared to leave his mark as the company’s new Director of Professional Baseball Sales.
“I’ll spend much of this baseball season on the road, visiting MLB clubhouses and batting practices to introduce players to our latest innovations in wood bats,” Sass said. “We’re making the hardest and best-performing bats in baseball. I can’t wait to have players swing them.”
Sass knows baseball bats better than anyone in the game. Yes, anyone. He played Division I college baseball at the University of Notre Dame, was a professional player in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and has been involved with Louisville Slugger bat innovations and product development for more than a dozen years. That means he’s worked one-on-one developing and testing bats with professional players and top college programs.
Sass’s experience and baseball knowledge are why baseball people like long-time Florida State head coach Mike Martin greatly admire and approve of Louisville Slugger’s new Bat Man.
“I’ve been involved with Louisville Slugger for almost 20 years, and, as part of the Slugger family, I’ve come to know the staff very well,” said Martin, a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame and the third all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I college baseball history.
“There’s no better person than James Sass to fill the large shoes left by Chuck Schupp. As a top-level Division I college player and pro in the Brewers organization, James relates to today’s ball players and communicates with them in a language they understand. He’s comfortable in the clubhouse and around the batting cage. James has been involved with Louisville Slugger bat development for a long time, so he knows how every player differs and how to meet their individual needs. He’s the right guy for the job.”
Martin, who has had many players go on to great professional success, including 2012 National League MVP Buster Posey, is not alone in his praise for Sass.
“James understands the relationship between a player and his bat and how important that is to a hitter’s success,” said Stanford University head baseball coach Mark Marquess, a two-time College World Series champion and three-time NCAA coach of the year who recently reached his 1,500th career win. “He’s a man of great character and integrity. A real straight shooter. And when it comes to service, James is always available to get you what you need, and fast.”
Marquess says Sass is also great with young players.
“He’s been dealing with them for many years as he’s worked to develop innovations in bats for college players and their high-level summer wood-bat leagues. So James will be great with the up-and-comers in Major League Baseball and the veterans, too. And don’t be surprised if he jumps in and takes BP with them. He can still swing it.”
The confidence exuded in Sass by baseball greats like Martin and Marquess are the very reason Louisville Slugger leadership selected him to be the company’s face to players in Major League Baseball.
“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. “Besides playing at high levels, he already has relationships in Major League Baseball and has been a leader in marketing and product development at Louisville Slugger for more than 20 years. He’s solid in every way.”
Sass’s predecessor Schupp is in complete agreement.
“James hits the ground running,” Schupp says. “He played pro ball, so he fits right in with the players. All the equipment managers I developed relationships with over the years will feel comfortable with James because they’ll quickly see that he knows product. I’m excited for James and am convinced he’ll build on what we’ve achieved over 130 years and keep Louisville Slugger on top.”
Sass is excited about his ongoing visits with Major League® clubs and face-to-face meetings with players and equipment managers about Louisville Slugger’s unrivalled bat innovations.
“Our goal every day is to provide Major League players with the hardest and best-performing bats so they can succeed and help their teams,” Sass says. “I’m humbled and honored for the opportunity to step into this role. And 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 leaving their marks on the game with Louisville Slugger.”
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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