1983 American League Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle is unimpressed by the shoddy benches he keeps seeing that are made out of old baseball bats (and who hasn’t seen three or four?). And not being one to just accept poor craftsmanship, Kittle has decided to take it upon himself to start making his own baseball furniture.
Introducing Benches by Ron. For just $2,000, you can have your very own Kittle-made couch/bench thing constructed nearly entirely out of baseball bats and balls. And if you live within 75 miles of Chesterton, Indiana, Ron will deliver it himself.
Kittle’s baseball story is a good one — he was an iron worker in Gary, Indiana, who was discovered in a local league by White Sox owner Bill Veeck. In his first full season, at the age of 25, he hit 35 homers and drove in 100 runs for the AL West champion Sox. Kittle his 32 more homers in 1984 then steadily declined until he was out of baseball at age 33. Now 50, Kittle was driven to baseball carpentry by a bench that looked like it was made by a far inferior slugger, like Rob Deer. WSBT in South Bend has the story:
“I’ve always been a baseball fan, and I saw a bench one day that was made out of pine and had screws in it,” Kittle says. “It had pieces of bats in between other bats and they were crooked and it really just wasn’t made well.”
So Kittle merged his love of the game with his love of carpentry — and now he’s making furniture.
Major league balls serve as back supports, and bats take care of the arm rests.
You can get the benches adorned with White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, or Red Sox logos and colors. Or you can get the John Deere model. For an extra $500 Kittle will engrave the names of great players from your team’s past in the bats that make up the backrest. And yes, if you get the Southside Stars model, you’re getting the name “Ron Kittle” engraved in there whether you like it or not. Curiously, you’re also getting Richie Zisk’s name on there even though Zisk only played one year for the White Sox.
A further trip around ronkittle.com reveals that he’s also a motivational speaker, featuring such topics as “how to stay focused and move ahead” and “positive thinking brings positive results.” It’s unclear if he lives in a van down by the river.
Here’s a photo of Ron with a bench he made for breast cancer awareness, signed by Ellen Degeneres (he also made a bench for George W. Bush, so Ron’s clearly all over the place politically):