Meet the Maker: William Peebles of Huntington Base Ball Co.
Whether it’s the crack of the bat, the smell of freshly cut grass or enjoying a hot dog in the bleachers on a hot summer day, baseball has a special place in the hearts of Americans everywhere. And for many across the country, today is a national holiday: Opening Day for Major League Baseball. To ring in the new season, it only seemed right to highlight the exceptional craftsman and maker of historical baseball equipment and products – William Peebles at Huntington Base Ball Co.!
William founded Huntington Base Ball Co. in 2009, but his passion for the sport, art, and design date back way before that. In 1999, William made his first attempt at crafting a replica baseball. That initial struggle to make just a single ball began what he describes as a “a decade-long personal reflection” that eventually led to the founding of the company.
We all aspire to find a career we love, but sometimes life makes it feel difficult— or even impossible. Between caring for his family and maintaining his job at the time, starting a business just wasn’t in the cards. Still, William couldn’t get baseball off his mind. To him, Opening Day was more of a ritual than the start of the season. He was determined to make it work.
After a year of planning, researching, and putting all the pieces together, Huntington Base Ball Co. was born.
Huntington Baseball Co. may be rounding home on nine years in business, but William still reflects on how he got here. He remembers the early days when it took over an hour to sew one baseball. Today he’s proud to say he can do it in 35 minutes—and even in the dark if he needed to!
William also talks about how he he’ll never say, “I’ve made it,” and that every highlight and success is a stepping stone to the next one—though, he does admit that making custom baseballs for the George W. Bush Presidential Center was a pretty big highlight!
However, with the highs come the lows. He talked to us about how managing every facet of the company can make maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult. But through trial and commitment to it succeeding, he’s figured out how to make it work. His words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs and craftsmen: “find the thing you love to do and do it better than anyone.” In addition to that, avoid being controlled by the numbers. If you do, your work will get old fast, he explains.
William’s plans for the future: “Maintain quality.” For him, handmade is the end-all be-all, and he doesn’t plan on giving that up. Huntington Base Ball Co. is constantly adding new products and models, and he’s excited to see where that takes him and his business.
Enjoy Opening Day, everyone and Play Ball!