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COVER STORY
Untitled Page

Steve McKee

Founder – Trinity Bat Co., Fullerton

OC METRO's Hot 25 for 2011Published: November 01, 2011

Status: Married with two adult sons who work in the business, and four grandchildren
Fantasy job: This is my fantasy job.
Hot Factor: Major League Baseball All-Stars love Trinity Bat Co.’s custom-made wooden bats. Steve McKee’s company now ranks among the top MLB-approved manufacturers.

If ever there was a story that inspires others to “swing for the fences,” it’s the story of Trinity Bat Co. The Fullerton-based bat manufacturer, founded by Steve McKee six years ago, is located in a dusty industrial complex just a few miles beyond the outfield fence at Angel Stadium. Inside the nondescript building, a team of craftsmen shapes the bats used by today’s gods of hitting – think MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez.
      
McKee launched his venture with the goal of making custom bats for the pros. In 2006, after an introduction by former Angels’ second baseman Rex Hudler, Vladimir Guerrero gave Trinity’s bats a try. Today, half of the Angels’ lineup, and more than 50 Major Leaguers, swing Trinity bats. The company is now among the top in a field of 31 authorized MLB bat manufacturers.
      
Where did McKee get the idea that he could compete with other bat makers such as Louisville Slugger and Easton?
      
“We were rookies. We didn’t know any better. ... I felt like the baseball ‘field’ was big enough to play in,” says McKee, who now plays backup to his two sons, Jeremy and Jeff, and former Phillies shortstop Sam Orr, who this year was named CEO. It’s attention to the personal preferences of the pros that has catapulted the company into the big leagues. When Adrian Gonzalez said that the ash used to make his bats was starting to feel a little soft, Trinity switched lumber companies (a.k.a. forests) in order to deliver the harder ash that Gonzalez was seeking.
      
“The best bats in the world come out of this location,” Orr says. “We’re considered the Bentley of the industry.”
      
Performance may be the company’s hallmark, but take a tour of Trinity Bat Co.’s 4,000-square-foot facility with McKee and Orr, and you’ll feel the reverence and respect they have for the game – and also for humanity. Baseball is the field on which this Christian-based team plays while staying true to their mission to support causes close to them. Their purple bats help fund cancer research (cancer claimed two extended family members just last month). In a moving tribute, a special edition bat was created for former Mater Dei star Cory Hahn, to whom life threw a curveball with a career-ending, life-changing accident on the field. Proceeds from the purchase of the bat help fund medical care for Hahn, who is now paralyzed from the chest down. Trinity has embraced him as one of its own.
     
Call it divine intervention if you like, but it’s clear that Trinity Bat Co. is batting a thousand.

Editor’s Note: To see who made our “Hot 25” lists in prior years, visit our Archives page.
   
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