LOGANSPORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The NFL season has wrapped up and now sports fans can turn to Major League Baseball as spring training gets underway in a couple of weeks. But for Logansport craftsman Trampas Young, thinking about baseball and one essential tool of the trade has become a year-round business.
He’s turned a woodworking hobby into a bat making business.
About eight years ago, Young’s grandfather taught him how to operate a wood lathe, using wood chisels to turn raw wood into something special. One of the first things he made was a small novelty bat, about the size of a billy club.
Disappointed, Trampas wanted to throw it away, but his grandfather made him finish the project. He did and gave it to his son, Baylee, who showed it to his friends. “Then, they all wanted one and that’s how I got into woodturning,” said Young.
After making bats for a while, Young started searching online for a used lathe. He had saved about $2,000 to buy the machine. But Young, who was a pastor at a Logansport church at the time, felt the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Along with his Bible study group, he helped a family in need one Christmas, providing food, purchasing clothes and paying for auto repairs.
Young felt God called him to sacrifice the money.
Unbeknownst to Young, his mother was moved by her son’s generosity and decided to buy a lathe. As it turned out, Young and his mother had contacted the same person who was selling the lathe.
“We got the lathe set up in my little shop at my house and started turning out bats and before we knew that I was about 10-12 hours a day hand carving baseball bats,” said Young.
About five years ago, Young started the Titan Bat Co. in a workshop right behind his home, creating handcrafted wooden bats used by little leaguers, high schoolers and college ballplayers, alike.
“Players are always looking for the next best thing. I’ve always wanted to be like the Under Armour (sports attire) of baseball bats, the elite, best of the best,” said Young. “I’d rather make the highest quality bat available versus the mass quantity is not as good.”
Young sources the wood from New York. Most players prefer maple, but birch and ash are also available.
“All of the wood that we use is pro-quality, we use the very, very best lumber available in the United States, which comes from New York. It’s the same stuff that the pro guys use.”
Young says he and his business partners are trying to get MLB certification so they could be used in major and minor league baseball, but there’s a lot of red tape and it takes time.
Young says they produced and sold about 3,000 bats in 2019 and he expects to double that in 2020. Later this spring, Young will move from his 1,000-square foot shop behind his home to a 5,000-square foot facility to keep up with the growing demand.
And the biggest surprise of this all?
“Probably the fact that I wasn’t even trying to do this,” chuckled Young. “When I first started, God opened some doors. And here we are today.”
The former pastor says his faith is still strong, but he feels God is pushing him to the business.
“It’s his (God) and I’m just along for the ride and doing the very best that I can to make it work.
And it’s been really successful so far. I’m really excited to see where it’s going to go.”
His bats have become a hit…and he wasn’t even trying to start a business.