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The story of Pete Rose's corked bat

Jun 8, 2010, 12:15 PM EDT

One of Pete Rose’s old lackeys — Tommy Gioiosa — told the world many years ago that Rose corked his bats.  Based on everything we knew about the guy at the time: that he was a risk-taker, a pathological competitor and a guy who viewed rules as something less than mild suggestions, it wasn’t hard to believe him.

But now there’s proof of it, in the form of one of Charlie Hustle’s bats from his 1985 chase of Ty Cobb, cork and all. It comes along with a story of the bat’s history over at Deadspin today that is some good readin’.

So: even if we get Rose un-banned, is everyone still comfortable with him making the Hall of Fame? Or does the old unlevel playing field argument apply only to steroids?

UPDATEHere’s a lot more on Pete Rose and the corked bat, including my response to your comments about how corked bats aren’t supposed to help anybody.

  1. REDSmomsAwhore - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:27 PM


  2. JBerardi - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Meh. It’s not like my opinion of Pete Rose could really be any lower.

  3. mick-7-1961 - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Another reason that this sleezball should never be inducted into the Hall.

  4. CMON - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    While steroids may make it easier for someone to hit the ball farther corked bats can’t make someone get 4,256 hits. Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in any sport in the world. I don’t agree with the steroid thing but getting that many hits is amazing. Pete Rose (if not for gambling) is one of the best baseball players to play the game…and not because of a corked bat.

  5. Squirrel - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Who’s to say Pujols is 30. He may be 38 for all baseball knows. Everything about Baseball is crooked.

  6. Space Vending Distributor from Thelanos XII - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Given that Mythbusters demonstrated a corked bat’s inferior performance to a regular bat, one could argue that it makes Pete Rose look slightly more impressive, if a bit of an idiot.

  7. wickeddog - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    The only way to “cork” a bat in a way that would actually be advantageous is to drill all the way through and put in an aluminum pipe.

  8. Steve - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    A corked bat wouldn’t have helped him to break the All Time Hits Record. You still have to make the bat meet the ball. Then again, who is to say that Ty Cobb didn’t break the rules? According to Tommy Lee Jones’ Movie “Cobb,” (Great Movie BTW) he was a SOB.

  9. Cork This - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    While a corked bat does not effect the distance a baseball will travel..(and in fact may decrease the distance), I believe the mythbusters failed to realize why corked bats are not allowed. They allow the bat to be lighter and therefore gives the hitter a FASTER swing. This would of course not result in tons of home runs but would actually result in… of all shockers… base hits.

  10. koom - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    And ya think Cobb and others didn’t do something to their bats? Look at Sammy Sosa and others…He belongs in the HOF without a doubt.Look at gaylord perry and other pitchers some in the hall.Think they didn’t sneak by some stuff. After the way Selig handled the perfect game controversy it is hard to see why Pete is not forgiven like the umpire who blew the call..My dictator Selig…no wonder why I and others no longer go to the ball park

  11. Steven C - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    When the players cheat, and break the “sacrosanct” rules, it’s to get something that they don’t honestly deserve. They don’t respect the rules, because it benefits them.
    We, the overseeing public, need to pay attention to all the rules, because societies that lie, cheat and steal are doomed. We need to make sure that whatever drives these cheats, never benefits them, and then makes cheating an attractive option.
    I’m ashamed that someone would even ask that question. It’s just one more symptom of the same corrupt mentality that belongs to our current president. “It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught” is becoming a national moto, and a world wide problem for the US.
    Oh yeah, everyone needs to remember this same issue when Sammy Sosa comes up for the “Hall”. The bat that broke on him, during the game, is surely not the first (or last) corked bat that he used.

  12. SCREW YOUR BREAK - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:58 PM


  13. Drew. - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Good point, but who among us ever let the facts get in the way of good holier-than-thou, self-righteous rant from a sports blogger?

  14. Detroit Michael - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    The Physics of Baseball by Robert Adair also was skeptical that a corked bat helps.

  15. Mike - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    ***According to the MythBusters August 8, 2007 baseball special, the ball hit by a corked bat travels at only half the speed of a ball hit by an unmodified bat, causing it to go a shorter distance. The cork inside the bat actually absorbs the kinetic energy like a sponge, hindering the batter’s performance. In addition, because corked bats are lighter, they have less mass to transfer force into the ball, bringing them to the conclusion that the use of a corked bat had fewer benefits over a regular bat. The show also notes that while filling a bat with cork makes it lighter, there is nothing in the rule book that prevents a player from simply using a lighter uncorked bat.***
    So grats to Pete for making it harder on himself. The record should stand as it is because it did nothing to help him.

  16. Detroit Michael - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Regardless of which players are inducted, the Hall of Fame is still a cool museum.
    If it really bothers you which players are inducted, you already shouldn’t care about the Hall of Fame considering one of the de facto criteria was “are you a friend of Frankie Frisch?” There are lots of inconsistencies about who is in, so including or excluding Pete Rose is basically just rounding error at this point.

  17. You think they didn't? - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Comments like
    “And ya think Cobb and others didn’t do something to their bats?”
    are unfortunatly very ignorant. Think about it, because of cheaters like Rose, we are going to question everyone elses achievements. Seriously, what kind of backward thinking is that? Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. But I’ll be damned if im going to question some of the games greatest players because of players who are proven cheaters. On a side note, up until today I always felt Rose should be in the hall, after all he was betting on his own team to win. As of today, keep da bum out.

  18. Detroit Michael - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Perhaps the first rule of thumb for message boards is that leaving one’s all caps key on only serves to make the comment look more ignorant, not more emphatic.

  19. left sock - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Sure, most of them are cheaters. And we the fans have done our fair share to fuel it. I fully accept the fact that professional sports is entertainment. It is not much different than watching Sly Stallone in his Rocky role and wondering where he really got those thunderous biceps. Our how so many are caught up in pro wrestling. Of course it is preferable for the players of a “noble” sport like baseball to play clean, and I would like to see that myself. I don’t like the idea of any of them using PEDs at all. But I hold myself accountable for my part in perpetuating that culture by my rabid following of the 1998 home run chase, and other things like it. When you have young players vying for a limited number of spots to play in the big leagues, that little injection could be the difference between a few hundred thousand dollars and a few hundred MILLION dollars. And we all wanted to see those monstrous home runs and obscene stats. We drove the market and it responded in kind, and thus baseball turned a blind eye, as did the media, and this is what we got. We’re getting rid of PEDs by and large, but gone are those astronomical stats, given the fact that three pitchers threw perfect games already this season (oh, right, officially only TWO…). Showcasing the performances of cheaters is a hard pill to swallow, but I think it is better for the sport to go ahead and showcase these players, and let the fans make their own individual conclusions, because if we erased all these accomplishments because of cheating, and I mean any instance, we’d have to close Cooperstown… there’d be little left to showcase.

  20. DETROITHASalwayssucked - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:15 PM


  21. Will - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Well, you sure showed him.magellan its

  22. Mantonat - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    I think the Mythbusters test only indicated that two bats swung at the same speed would produce different results – with the corked bat producing slightly shorter hits. What it didn’t address is 1) if the batter can swing the bat faster and 2) if the sweet spot on a corked bat is bigger. If either of these hypotheses is true then it could give a batter an advantage that has nothing to do with the distance the ball travels; a faster swing means the batter can wait longer to start his swing. 100ths of a second make a huge difference to a batter. A bigger sweet spot means higher probability of putting the ball in play.
    Since these variations have not been scientifically tested, much less proven, it is a fair conclusion that a corked bat can conceivably give a batter an advantage and that no matter what, it is against the rules. Using outlawed equipment is one of the most brash forms of cheating and any proof that a player cheated at this level for any extended period of time is enough for me to disqualify the player from HOF consideration.

  23. Detroit Michael - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    The prosecution rests, Get Real.

  24. Jim - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    Wow, sad comments.Maybe the posters here should give up and spend a night at the opera. Sounds like no one has a love of the game anymore. Anyone remember watching Rose play? I do. He was a joy to watch and brought pleasure to everyone who either tuned in the game on their sets, or paid the price of admission.No, our hero wasn’t quite the superman we all expected. He was more of a Clark Kent, with a few flaws and weaknesses. Guess what? He’s human! Look at Tiger, or Michael Phelps. Two champions, who had feet of clay. But you know what? We ALL have feet of clay.

  25. talex - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Did you see Pete Rose play? He’s a Hall of Famer whether or not he used a corked bat. After all he was playing against pitchers throwing spitballs.

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