Before a matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds last week, two players guaranteed to have their names enshrined in Cooperstown someday were presented custom-made bats to honor their time spent on the diamond.
The highly detailed bats given to Cardinals Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina were made by Winona-based Pillbox Bat Company. Bring Me The News has reported on the company for having a majority of its products licensed by Major League Baseball recently.
Dan Watson, one of the co-owners of Pillbox, told Bring Me The News the bats were detailed with the engraving of the player's name and stats each player had throughout their years facing the Cincinnati Reds.
The bats also feature the players themselves, their signatures and other designs engraved. Watson said each bat took about 28 hours of labor each to finish.
Pillbox posted to its Instagram last week, showing the moment when Pujols was presented the bat by Reds player Joey Votto. Molina's bat was accepted by longtime teammate Adam Wainwright while Molina was in the bullpen warming up for the game.
Both Pujols and Molina have stated 2022 will be their final season. Each have combined for 21 All Star Game appearances. Molina has accrued nine Gold Glove Awards while Pujols has earned 3 MVPs.
As of Thursday, Pujols remains five home runs away from 700 total for his career. He is one home run shy of tying current co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves Alex Rodriguez. If he gets to 700, he would join Babe Ruth (714), Hank "Henry" Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762) as the only players to reach that milestone.
The company was started by Watson and Zak Fellman. They specialize in custom-made baseball bats that are typically not used for the game itself. The bats are sold to baseball fans, collectors and appreciators of art. The bats are yet to be licensed with the MLB due to Louisville Slugger's exclusive contract with the league.
However, Pillbox has MLB exclusivity on wood pennants, coasters and everything else listed on its website. In addition, the company also makes products related to the Negro Leagues, MLB Hall of Fame and the University of Notre Dame.
Check out the bats below.