Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 9
Above: Duncan Whittington opened D.W. Baseball Co., in Washington in 2015. Top right:
D.W. makes all of their own paints and ﬁnishes the bats in Washington. Right: D.W.'s baseball
gloves are made of high-quality leather and intended to last much longer than one season.
Duncan grew up in Deﬁance, just across the Missouri River from Washington. don't, you'll never make anything," he says. "Before it's turning, you have a blank
He knew there were players in the area looking for higher-quality equipment, piece of lumber. Where's the grain going to land? Where's the handle at? Once
especially those playing for Post 218.
I start cutting it, I'm looking to take away, or uncover, what I know is already
"The Washington Legion team is always good and competing statewide," he inside the billet."
says. "Fans come out and watch the team play. We knew we'd have a solid cusThe bat is meticulously measured as it turns keeping it within spec. The bat
tomer base here and wouldn't be too far from St. Louis."
is sanded down and the ends are cut off. "We encourage players to come see
D.W. bats are tailored to each player. Customers test out different models their raw bats before we paint them," Duncan says. "A lot of bats are painted
and wood for feel and have their swing analyzed. Duncan gives a
solid black or blue so you can't see the grain. You don't know the quality of
recommendation on a type of bat and the customization process
The bats are ﬁnished with whatever logos, color or personalization the
Options abound. Ash bats have a softer feel, are more forgiving
customer wants. In total, from the time a player orders a bat to a ﬁnand are perfect for contact hitters. Maple bats are stiffer and less
ished product can take between two and three weeks, depending on
forgiving, but made for power hitters looking for that extra 20 feet.
the time of year and demand.
Want a big knob on your bat? Go for No. 73. Model No. 110 better
Gloves at D.W. are made by an American glovesmith. The DunWashington
replicates the feel of a metal bat. "Wood is probably the best training
cans are involved in buying the leather, ensuring proper lacing
tool to teach you how to swing a metal bat," Duncan says. "Hit it off
and keeping the product line diverse. Steerhide and buffalo leaththe end or handle and it's not going to go anywhere."
ers are used in making the gloves and an elk lining produces a
stronger and softer feel. Duncan keeps 30 to 50 different styles on
Once the ﬁnal decisions are made, it gets passed to Austin McCartney. The D.W. batsmith grew up in a woodshop with his grandfather,
hand to ﬁt any player.
Mickey King of Springﬁeld, Illinois, who was known for his high-end crafts"It's going to be a glove that will last," he says. "If you're treating it
manship. As a kid, Austin had the same love of baseball as Duncan and entered right - keeping a baseball inside it, leaving it inside in the offseason and treating
wooden bat tournaments.
it with respect - that's a glove that will last 5 to 10 years."
"Grandpa thought it would be a good idea to teach me how to make my own
Custom bats at D.W. Baseball Co., run from $70-$90 depending on the type
on a lathe," he says. "It really stuck with me. I loved working on the lathe and of wood and gloves start at $299 and go to $499.
playing with a bat I made."
Duncan says the majority of his customers are local Legion players looking
Austin still has a few of those early bats. "I mean, they were pretty rough," he to graduate from metal bats for the ﬁrst time or more advanced hitters from the
says with a laugh. "By the time I made it to high school and Legion, I was starting area looking for an upgrade in their wooden bat.
to make real bats that were competitive."
Coupling Duncan and Austin's enthusiasm for the game with that of their
He's only improved the quality since. Each D.W. bat begins as a 5- to 7-pound customers is what they use to try and ﬁnd all the advantages in the details.
billet, a thick piece of wood. It is inspected for things like knots, grain count and
"If you weren't passionate about it, you wouldn't care," Duncan says. "Every
straightness of the grain. The billet chosen also reﬂects what works best for the little bit helps. Sometimes those little competitive edges you get with your equipﬁnal product.
ment are the difference between hitting .295 and .300."
Austin says one of the most important lessons from his grandfather comes
next, before any cutting occurs.
For more information on D.W. Baseball Co., visit www.dwbaseballcompany.
"Before you put it on the lathe, you have to see the ﬁnished product. If you com or call 314-915-2215.
JUNE 2019 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP
Rural Missouri - June 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2019
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Contents
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Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover4