Thrown Out Professional Baseball Bats Find New Life


Snowbird Joe Pleckinger has taken recycling to another level.

An avid baseball fan, Pleckinger turns broken, worn out professional bats into handy must-have household items and gadgets that catch your eye. You’ll never know which major leaguer crushed it to the fences when you salt your fries, flip your burger, or cut your pizza.

Pleckinger’s shop in Arizona has become his center of innovation, as he turns bat handles into a putting iron grip, a unique spatula, or pen holder. His latest is a towel rack that is a must-have for anyone who loves baseball.

Repurposing these Louisville sluggers has become a passion for Pleckinger, who along with his wife, Carole, spends the harsh Northwest winter months in sunny, warm Arizona. That’s where he has his shop, and that’s where he’s built relationships with professional baseball teams who travel to the land of sun for Spring Training.

He’s friends with staff and players on two professional teams — the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, and he manages to collect their broken, worn out bats destined for the trash heap.

“I do this for fun,” says Pleckinger, who spends the late spring and summer months in Vancouver/Camas, where he enjoys watching his grandsons, Jake and Zach Blair, play baseball.

“It’s a hobby,” he said. “I just love creating these handy gadgets for people. I’m told how much people love to have these in their homes, so I just keep making more.”

Grandpa Joe, as some call him, continues to expand his line. He recently installed a towel rack in the Camas Little League Snack Shack, and now has a walking cane in his product line. The salt and pepper shakers, though, are fun conversation starters.

“People love the salt and pepper shakers,” said Pleckinger. “And you never know which major league baseball player swing these bats. It’s all about having a good time.”

And for those who are interested in seeing Pleckinger’s products, or would like to hear a good baseball story, are welcome to call him. He can be reached at 623-792-8740 or 360-892-8740.

You’re bound to have a good time. Play ball!


Photo by Kris Blair.

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