Louisville Slugger Museum curator speaks in Bennington
Cohen is the curator of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville Kentucky. The talk is free with admission to the museum or combined baseball exhibit, and open to the public.
A former resident of Whitingham, Cohen earned his bachelor's degree in art history at Sarah Lawrence College and his master's degree in art history from Williams College. Cohen began his museum career as a curatorial assistant at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.
Since 2006, Cohen has been the curator of the Louisville slugger Museum and factory, linking his passions for fine art and baseball. "I'm a baseball nut. That's the link. This job brought both my passions together, and I couldn't resist. And a lot of the skills are transferable. I'm doing the same kind of work. It's still a museum just with different objects." states Cohen.
Louisville Slugger is the official bat supplier for Major League Baseball, and has been making bats since 1884.
This is when Bud Hillerich turned the first bat for the legendary Pete Browning of the Louisville Eclipse, a major league team at the time. Hillerich, an amateur player himself, was working in his father's woodturning shop that made butterchurns, bedposts, and balusters.
Baseball bats quickly became the company's primary source of revenue, and in 1905 Honus Wagner, the great Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop, signed a bat endorsement contract with Louisville Slugger. This allowed the company to use Wagner's signature and image on bats, and is the first recorded instance of a professional athlete endorsing athletic equipment.
On exhibit is a Honus Wagner baseball card, and the letter allowing the Mid-Atlantic baseball league to use his signature on balls.
The Louisville Slugger is still a family-owned operation with John Hillerich, Bud Hillerich's great-grandson, working as CEO. It continues to be used and endorsed by many major league players including Boston Red Sox sluggers Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and World Series MVP Mike Lowell.
The Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main St. (Route 9), Bennington in The Shires of Vermont and is just a short ride from Manchester, Williamstown, and eastern New York. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum is closed on Wednesday. Visit the museum at www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 447-1571 for more information.
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