Worth, Inc. can trace its beginning back to the year 1912, when George Sharp Lannom, Jr. purchased a tannery in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and established the Lannom Manufacturing Company. Initially, the firm tanned leather for harnesses and horse collars they manufactured. However, as the automobile grew in popularity, the demand for the company's harnesses and collars declined, so Lannom shifted its manufacturing resources toward the production of leather-covered baseballs and softballs under the "Worth" brand and men's leather dress gloves under the "Craig" brand.
Charles (Chuck) E. Parish joined Lannom in 1930 as a salesman and married G.S. Lannom, Jr.'s daughter, Martha Lannom several years later. Following Mr. Lannom's death, Parish acquired a controlling interest in the company, which led to a division of company assets between himself and Lannom's son G.S. Lannom III. Lannom maintained the glove works while Parish, "The Baron of Baseballs," built the Lannom baseball business into the world's largest manufacturer of baseballs.
Upon graduation from Vanderbilt University in 1959, Chuck Parish's son, John, joined the Lannom organization. He persuaded his father to expand the company's Caribbean operations and enter the baseball bat business in 1970. In 1975, following the death of his father, John Parish took over the reins of the company. Under his leadership, the company diversified and expanded its production line and developed the personnel, technical know-how, and physical facilities to become one of the largest and most financially sound manufacturers in the entire sporting goods industry.
The Worth Sports Company was formally organized in 1975 as the sales and marketing arm for all sporting goods products and divisions of Lannom. In addition to the normal marketing functions, Worth also emphasizes and provides new product research and development. In fact, the emphasis placed on this development is largely responsible for Worth's leadership role in the sporting goods industry.
When Worth entered the bat business, all bats were made from Northern White Ash. Worth then established wood mills in Pennsylvania and New York to provide the strong but relatively lightweight ash wood stock. Then directions were shifted to aluminum and other composites and in 1968 Lannom Manufacturing produced its first aluminum bat. The company's Jess Heald was primarily responsible for its development. The sale of aluminum bats to amateur baseball and softball players mushroomed in the 70's, helping Lannom achieve record results. In 1994, because of market demands, more emphasis was placed on the aluminum division, and expansion was completed in Tullahoma.
One of the first and most significant results of the R&D program was the development of the Polyurethane (Poly-X™) core for baseballs and softballs. This one innovation revolutionized the entire softball world; up to this time, the traditional softball core was constructed of cork and latex. Worth, through the use of "petrochemical" formulation, created a softball that was more consistent in performance and demonstrated extended durability, thereby setting the stage for the establishment of formal specifications and standards for the industry. More recently, the expanded research and development team has made another revolutionary addition to the aluminum bats called the SuperCell EST (Exterior Shell Technology) Bat.
One product Worth is very proud of is its RIF (Reduced Injury Factor) baseballs and softballs. Introduced in baseballs in the late '80's, the RIF design features a polyurethane center that makes the ball softer than the traditional yarn wound ball, while keeping the weight, size, and liveliness. The balls are used mainly in youth leagues, where safety is of major concern. The technology is now being used in Worth softballs as well. New technology is constantly being developed to revolutionize the softball industry as we know it today.
In 2007, Worth was acquired by Jarden Corporation and is now a division of Rawlings and Jarden Team Sports.