Rawlings baseball factory

I’ve always dreamt of visiting the Rawlings baseball factory in Costa Rica, but there are two problems:


1) It’s not open to the public.

It’s in Costa Rica.

Well guess what. I just found out that I’m going to Costa Rica for a week in January!

Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t solve problem No. 2 because:

1) This will be a family vacation, and I’m the only person in the family who’s obsessed with baseball.

The factory is in the middle of the country, in a small city called Turrialba. We’ll be staying over 100 miles away near Puerto Jimenez on the South Pacific Coast.

And then, of course, there’s that whole “not open to the public” thing. If I knew I’d have the time and capability to make it to Turrialba, I’d start writing letters to the Rawlings people, but I just don’t think it’s gonna happen.

So close, and yet so far…


I visited the factory on August 25, 2010. Click here to read about it. Wow!


  1. christopher.aubin@gmail.com

    Hey Zack,

    I worked in PR not to long ago and this is exactly the kind of thing that a company would love to help you out with. I imagine if you explained what you do, mentioned the books and the Blog they would probably set up a way for you to visit their factory. I would try contacting these people:

    James McCusker

    John Flanagan


    Rawlings Media Representatives


    If they knew you were going to give them a nice write-up they might just be willing to make your dreams happen and make sure you got a nice guided tour.

    This worked for me a couple of years ago when I wanted to see the reunited Talking Heads play at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and I didn’t want to wait until it was on VH1 so I used my status as a staff writer on the DePaul newspaper and ended up with all access press passes.

    Good luck with making it happen.


  2. Zack

    Wow. Thanks.

    I mean, THANKS!

    It’s after midnight right now, so I’m not reaching for the phone just yet, but this info will help me out a lot. Even if I can’t make it to the factory in January, it would be nice to have a connection at Rawlings. Maybe they’ll do something for my 3,000th ball…

  3. Zack

    Yikes. That’s some article. Good point. I’m still not sure how exactly to pursue a visit to the factory, but this is definitely something I’ll have to keep in mind.

  4. p_jolicoeur@yahoo.com

    Maybe you miss this point: “So, if Rawlings would double the workers’ wages so they could live with a modicum of decency, it would add just 28 cents to the direct cost to sew the professional baseball.

    Under this scenario of decency, the direct cost to sew the ball would now be 56 cents, or just over three percent of the ball’s retail price [$0.56 ÷ $16.99 = 0.03296]. It would be quite possible to do this without bankrupting Major League Baseball, or the Rawlings Company.”

    Found in this article that also descries how baseballs are made: http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=99

  5. lala3_4@hotmail.com

    hey, i see it has been years since your quest to visit the baseball factory in costa rica…i am curious if you were successfull in getting a tour….My husband and I go to CR quite frequently and this time, since we are avid braves fans and have many balls in our c ollection of foul ball catches and etc also wanted to visit this factory …so let us know how it went for ya…thanks, sharon in Oklahoma

  6. zackhample

    Very cool. Sorry for the incredibly delayed reply.

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing the numbers.

    Unfortunately, no, I never got to go. I’m still trying to find a way in, though…

  7. jorge.dieguez@yahoo.com

    I don,t know if I am the only guy crazy about baseball, but I know I love everything about it, and because of that I went to Costa Rica to visit the Rawlings factory, but I couldnt fulfill this dream, they dont have visits and they dont care about visitors . I am planing another trip to Costa Rica, and I wish the public relations department of the factory could send me some information about how could I visit them some time in the future.

  8. zackhample

    Don’t take it personally. I’m writing a book about baseballs, and they won’t even let ME visit. Only a handful of reporters have ever gotten to see the place. Rawlings uses special technology to wind the balls, and they don’t want anyone to see that. But…it would still be cool if they let people in.

  9. Under the Sun

    I actually got a tour from the QC guy back in 2006. According to him, I’m the only fan from the US that was been inside the plant and seen the whole process. The only exception was I couldn’t see how they wound up the balls.

    To gain access,I had to get crafty. I befriended one of the top secretaries at the nearest restuarant nearby and she set it up.

    I had trouble loading the picture but I’m supplying a link I added today to another site.

    If you have any questions about my day there, just let me know.


  10. Zack Hample

    Whoa! Holy crap, awesome. And that IS incredibly crafty of you. Can’t think of any questions. I’m simply in awe of you from afar.

  11. joe

    I’ll tell you one thing these high up guys from Saint Luois or elsewhere, know better how to get too much quality and best effort for pennies out of the costa rican people except those who are in the management positions but the sawers and regular workers who admirably made these work what they get out of their sweat off is nothing comparing the mega dollars these cannibals made, A grade “A” ball (pro and commercial pro) might not be a grade “A” ball after all, Commisoner might take a good look into this . I know this for a fact since I was there.

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