Tanner Tees was founded by retired coach Joe Tanner after 50 years in baseball. Joe realized a need in the game and solved it with the first Tanner Tee prototype. It was lightweight, portable, and easy to work the inside and outside part of the plate. Joe earned three patents for his Tanner Tee.
Joe Tanner is a baseball lifer. After receiving All-American honors at the University of Texas, Joe played 9 years in the minors, making it as far as Triple-A. From 1953 to 1959, he played for teams in the Red Sox organization, then 3 years with Dodgers. A back injury ended his playing career in 1961.
After his injury Joe turned to coaching. By the late '60's he needed a break. It wasn't long until his love for baseball, and his great reputation, brought him back. Ewing Kauffman, the Kansas City Royals owner at the time, hired Joe as an instructor at his innovative baseball academy.
The Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy, as it was called at the time, was years ahead of its time. Kauffman wanted to bring in talented athletes from areas of the country where baseball wasn't as popular, such as the inner cities, and teach them the game.
A laughing stock around Major League circles at first, the academy ended up producing several MLB stars and Hall of Famers, including Ron Washington and Frank White, who won 2 World Series with the Royals. The academy fielded a team in the Florida Gulf Coast League in 1971. Playing against drafted players, they lost their first game... then won 24 straight, and eventually the title.
After the Royals academy, Joe went on to coach with the White Sox, the Pirates (during Barry Bonds rookie season), the Cubs, and finished with the Orioles. He specialized in base running and bunting, but he always loved hitting and worked with hitters on that front as well.
In the late eighties, Joe felt he could build a better baseball tee. He came up with a friction based, height adjustable batting tee with a rolled rubber top. That turned into Tanner Tee and three patents. Today the Tanner Tee remains the true industry standard batting tee. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and with Joe, they're right. The Tanner Tee has become the most copied product in baseball.
Today, Joe still has his hands on each tee the company makes and stays in contact with various pro coaching contacts. Active professional coaches still come to the Tanner Tee shop every year to discuss his methods for stealing bases, which have produced records for teams at every level of baseball. Tanner Tees remains a family run business with quality as its most important value.
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