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    On a bright, still-hot September morning, it perches in the sun. Nearly 30 feet long and 1,500 pounds, its steel claws wrap around a bar near the top of the third-story roof. Its wings, the black paint now weathered and molding away in flakes, hug its body. The bulbs of its red eyes are turned off.

    It has been an icon in Louisville since 2002. It’s the other big bat on Main Street: the Caufield’s Bat.

    The bat started as a steel cross in the vast Caufield’s warehouse. After welding beams together, Kerry Caufield, a co-owner of the Halloween store, drew the outline of the bat on the floor, like a reverse chalk outline, planning the wings, the pointed ears. Over two weeks he welded a steel skeleton and coated it with fiberglass and paint. Caufield got the idea after the Louisville Slugger Museum debuted its behemoth baseball bat in 1996. He built a prototype to show to City Hall. (This four-foot version currently hangs in Caufield’s home garage.) He says he wanted to make the grown-up version bigger and beefier but couldn’t quite get the city on board.

    After nearly 20 years, the bat’s role of guarding the building at 10th and Main streets may soon end. Caufield’s — which has been in the novelties business in town for almost a century, at different locations — has listed the building for sale, hoping to downsize to a smaller space in Louisville. What will happen to the bat? “That’s a good question,” Caufield says. “If (the new buyers) don’t want it, we’re going to have to find someone that does. We’ve already had people asking about it.”

    This originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “The Caufield's Bat.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photos by Mickie Winters, mickiewinters.com

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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