A customer is limited to three bats per order. The bats can be purchased only in Cooperstown or by mail order. Last year, the entire stock of 6,600 bats was exhausted by August. This year, the Oberriters expect to produce 7,200 bats. Even after a contemplated new facility is in place in 1991, Don estimates that the company's total annual production will not go above 15,000 bats.
While production is limited because of the bats' hand-crafted quality, the number of future projects for the Cooperstown Bat Company is not. "This type of business will have no cap," Sharon says. "As long as the game remains in motion, as long as there is baseball and new players, there will be a Cooperstown Bat Company."
"When you get to be 50 years old, you begin to wonder what's your little mark on the world," Don says solemnly. "I am of the opinion that in 30, 40 years our product will be one of the most sought-after pieces of this era. The goal I have had is to make a product that, with a little bit of care, will last 50 to 100 years.
"When I'm working on these things—and it can be very monotonous, very repetitious work—and I blow one and have to clean the bat down and start over again, I need the motivation of pride to finish that particular bat. Somewhere down the line, I still want to be proud that I did it."
The Oberriters get that feeling anew every time the door to their salesroom opens and a wide-eyed baseball fan says, "Oh, boy! Bats!"