Winona bat maker discusses Joe Mauer’s HOF selection
(ABC 6 News) — For any Minnesota Twin to reach the National Baseball Hall of Fame is special. But the latest one is more than that, he’s hometown hero Joe Mauer, The Minnesota Twin.
“I’m proud to be where I’m from, growing up like you said,” Mauer reflected during his 2023 Twins Hall of Fame ceremony. “Right in the backyard of Minnesota Twins territory here. It’s just been an unbelievable ride, really.”
Every corner of the state loves Mauer, including in Winona where the Pillbox Bat Company shows its love for baseball through spectacularly crafted custom bats.
“That’s right, we actually have licensing agreements with the MLB and the MLB Players Association. It’s great, we get to make bats that’ll hopefully be in collector’s collections for a long time.”
Fellman makes everything from retro designs to commemorative World Series bats. But as far as making a special bat for Mauer’s induction goes…
“I don’t know, that’s not quite in our license so,” Fellman said with a chuckle. “Yeah, we don’t really know on that front. I don’t know if that goes in there.”
Nevertheless, Fellman is undoubtedly happy to see Mauer get his flowers, waatching the three-time American League MVP go from high school to the majors.
“He’s Minnesota-born and raised like a lot of us, that was — probably a little bit more connection there,” Fellman continued. “But I don’t think we can relate to the skill level and greatness he played baseball but being from Minnesota for sure.
“It’s a pretty unreal feeling to be in the presence of this greatness in this room,” Mauer said during a National Baseball Hall of Fame press conference. “A lot of things are running through my head right now as I’m sure both [Adrián Beltré and Todd Helton], but just grateful and really happy to be here.”
He’s been a reason to love baseball and a reason to let that enthusiasm shine no matter how it’s done.
“Sometimes as a Minnesota sports fan, you have a little, you know — not on the news all the time,” Fellman added. “So seeing someone recognized, a Twin specifically and from Minnesota is great.”