The Rutto Bat
Behind the scenes at Rutto Bats is the love story of a Kenyan immigrant and a girl from Massachusetts who, driven by a common devotion to make a contribution to the game and an impact on their communities, risked it all for the American Dream. Like the serendipitous love they found for one another, Kip and Mindy’s affair with baseball was unpredicted and evolved into the endeavor they now can’t live without.
Despite having rather unremarkable first MLB spectator experiences (including the shock of stadium Bud Light prices), Kip and Mindy remember a night that sealed their fate to forever be entangled with baseball. Eyes unblinking at 3:30am, they watched Dodgers’ Max Muncy deliver a ‘good morning’ walk-off home run from Red Sox’s Nathan Evoldi’s unlucky pitch to close out the 18th inning of game 3 of the 2018 World Series, a painful blow to the Boston Nation. Sleeping baby in her arms and adrenaline in their hearts, Mindy and Kip realized the high stakes, thrilling world of baseball was the place they wanted to be.
Our Process From Bole To Bat
Fortunately, the arrival at this epiphany had already begun forming for the young couple. In 2016, Kip and Mindy had purchased a small sawmill in Western Massachusetts that had a long history of making baseball and softball bat billets. Kip had dug his heels in for years, refining and perfecting techniques to achieve ideal, pro-quality wood dowels. It had been familiar and fulfilling work, bringing back memories of his childhood in Kenya: building houses, swinging sticks to harvest corn and beans, splitting firewood, and playing “catcher” while milking cows. But something was missing; even Kip’s mom would tease him for leaving his medical tech job to make “ketik ab mokomboik,” garden hoe handles!
It wasn’t until their new-found zeal for the game was combined with Mindy joining the business full-time that their operation gained vigor and their vision became clear. The young family channeled their resources and passion, took the leap, and their evolution to what is now Rutto Bats, began.
Rutto Bats’ manufacturing process starts at their company mill in Belchertown MA and ends at the Bat House, the home of Kip and Mindy in Holyoke Massachusetts, where bats are individually finished, hand painted, branded, and readied to be swung in every heart-stopping play this iconic American pastime has to offer. Kip and Mindy are devoted to every step of the creation process, from bole to bat, from forest to ball field. The process is very rewarding, fulfilling their undeniable mission: bringing their special brand of bat to a game that is an elemental part of their love story.