Borderland Batman: how a man's passion for baseball turned into bat making
El Paso’s Saul Enriquez decided it was time to get back into baseball. Like other people, he could have tried being a coach, umpire or broadcaster. But he had a different idea. He decided to make wooden baseball bats.
“I started doing a little bit of research and taught myself how to make the bats,” Enriquez tells CBS4’S Lou Romano. “I took most of my life savings and decided to start working on it.”
Enriquez has been around baseball most of his life. He went to Socorro High School in the early 1990’s, then played junior college baseball in Kansas. But It wasn’t enough to satisfy his passion for baseball.
About five years ago, he began looking for places to start his bat-making company. He found a small warehouse in the Lower Valley. Word began to spread, and his business began to grow.
“The first year I began making bats, i didn't even paint them,” says Enriquez. “I made good bats, and I wanted people to see that I use good wood. People started liking the bats and they began asking if I could make colored bats. Now I have ten models of bats, different sizes, and 15 colors. It just kept evolving and evolving.”
That's when he knew it was time to give his company a name. He chose Toro Bat. His first customer was the 2013 El Paso Diablos. “When the first bat I made for them finally cracked, the whole team signed it and returned it to me as a souvenir,” says Enriquez. Now he keeps it on the wall behind his desk at work.
Saul now supplies baseball bats for players all around the country. He even has a deal with the Mexican baseball leagues. One of his big customers, though, is the defending district champion baseball team at Parkland High School.
"They are great bats, all maple bats,” says Parkland coach Daniel Lopez. “We can get them in any size that we want, and not only that, but we can get them here in one or two days because (Saul) is right here locally.”
Parkland catcher Jayden Anderson says not only are Toro bats great to hit with, but he loves how all of the players’ bats are personalized with their names on the end of the bat’s barrel, just like the major leaguers.
“It’s very cool and we can get them whenever we want,” Anderson says. “I think we’re the only ones in town with our own custom-made bats.” Not for long.