Skip to main content

The Pillbox Bat Company in Winona has now been officially licensed by Major League Baseball to make what its business is best known for: baseball bats.

In July, the company became officially licensed by the league to make other memorabilia, but Louisville Slugger retained the exclusive rights on bats.

Co-founder Dan Watson said negotiations were active again after the league and Fanatics contacted them, calling this a "tremendous" development.

"Fanatics/MLB reached out to us and said the opportunity was back on the table and if we wanted it we could have it," Watson said, noting that the business already using its license gave them a leg up on other competition.

"When I got the email from Fanatics, I jumped out of my chair screaming! Was such a great moment. My wife thought something was wrong but it was far from it."

The company made the announcement on its Instagram Tuesday.

Instagram

Instagram

Watson said this allows the business to be even more free and creative in doing things, specifically when it comes to professional baseball teams and players.

"Not only are we allowed to make full-sized bats, but also mini bats, any kind of wood bats and become more creative with more collaborations with artists in developing designs," he said. "People know us for our bats, so getting the licensing for the main product is a massive deal. This makes the fan experience that much more authentic."

Watson said the collaborations extend from artists, players and possibly a chance to bring their creations to the diamonds at Major League ballparks. The bats won't be used on game days in the batter's box — for now, at least — but Watson said there's other ways Pillbox Bat Company can dig in still and leave its mark.

"We could potentially pair up with a company like Old Hickory, paint a bat for [MLB] Player's Week, feature some equipment for All-Star festivities. Conversations can at least be had with those kinds of things now."

The business was started by Watson and Fellman in 2015 and was an idea they had together dating back to their youth in the 1990s. The company is licensed to make MLB memorabilia and other merchandise relating to the Negro Leagues, National Baseball Hall of Fame and the University of Notre Dame. 

Prior to getting bats officially licensed, other items such as wood pennants, coasters and everything else listed on its website has been exclusively licensed by MLB. The wood pennants can also be found on Fanatics' website.

From the start, Watson said both he and Fellman made it their goal to get licensed by the MLB. Within the first few months of being in business, they reached out to the league and began talks about licensing. Talks went on for months, then turned into years. Finally, a deal was struck July 1.

"Getting MLB licensing is huge and it's bringing all kinds of opportunities," Watson said in July.

MLB players, such as Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan and Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jonathan India, have expressed interest in the company. Custom bats were also made for outgoing, likely future Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals players Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina.

According to Pillbox's Instagram, artist Keith Shore is focusing on a new design of bats featuring players from the Philadelphia Phillies that will be limited for purchase, just in time for the 2022 World Series.

And when asked about sales since the company became officially licensed on Friday, Watson said:

"Amazing first day! We're setting records."

Next Up

MinceyMug

Suspect in Minneapolis bar killing charged with weapons crime

The suspect has not been charged with murder in the case as of Wednesday.

snow, blowing snow

A monster storm is coming next week: What will happen?

What we know with high confidence at this point is that there will be a monster storm in the central U.S. by the early and middle part of next week.

police lights

Boy safe after kidnapping by non-custodial parent in Mankato

The search prompted the temporary shutdown of I-35 Tuesday night.

Mugshots

11 face charges after being found 'exploring' Fridley sewer system

A 911 caller reported seeing a group removing a manhole cover Monday night.

image

Man killed by St. Paul police ID'd by family, community demands answers

The man was identified as 24-year-old Howard Johnson.

Screen Shot 2022-12-07 at 7.38.02 AM

Quick shot of snow to impact morning commute in Twin Cities

Snow is moving into the metro Wednesday morning.

ambulance

Body found in burned out car near Bird Island identified as local farmer

The deceased is a 59-year-old man from rural Bird Island.

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 2.47.44 PM

Minneapolis' Khâluna named in Eater's 2022 'Best New Restaurants'

The restaurant, opened in 2021, is known for its Laotian cuisine.

ambulance, crash

3 pedestrians struck by drivers Monday in Minnesota; 2 dead

The victims involved a 39-year-old man and two 74-year-old men.

Related

Pillbox Bat Company

Small company in MN town licensed to make MLB memorabilia

The idea started when the owners of the company were only 12 years old.

Image-5

Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina get custom bats made by MN company

St. Louis Cardinals players Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols were presented the bats last week.

Mitch Garver

Mitch Garver thinks MLB changed baseballs for the playoffs

Add Garver to the growing list of people who think changes were made.

Juan Ramos, standing outside of his Taco Chon Mexican Grill, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Taco Chon sued by Taco John's over name, customers show support

A GoFundMe has been set up to fight the lawsuit against the two Minnesota locations.

MLB rankings: Twins have 2 of top 10 prospects in baseball

MLB Pipeline released its top 100 prospects for the 2019 season.

dirty-g70b51bcce_1280

MN man charged with hacking, attempting to extort $150,000 from MLB

The St. Louis Park man allegedly accessed MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL computer systems and illegally streamed content from them.

Rod Carew

Rod Carew: 'Baseball was the one thing that kept me from killing my father'

"I knew I had something I could turn to to get away from him and that was baseball."