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Mickey Mantle’s corked bat is up for auction

May 3, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

Mickey Mantle AP

It’s quite a cheatin’ day around baseball, so why not throw this one on the bonfire:

A corked bat reportedly swung by Yankees legend Mickey Mantle is hitting the auction block – the Mick’s first known doctored bat.

Grey Flannel Auctions is auctioning the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. bat, which was studied by PSA/DNA authenticator John Taube. Taube noticed alterations at the top of the bat’s barrel, and X-rays showed that the barrel had been drilled and filled with cork.

“This is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have seen or heard of,” Taube wrote in his report.

Don’t literally throw it on the bonfire, though. It’s a very valuable piece of baseball memorabilia.

Anyway, between this and Buchholz, I hope we’re all reminded that players have scuffed or cut balls, corked their bats, rigged up elaborate, electric sign-stealing mechanisms allowing them to win pennants they didn’t deserve, distracted umpires, cut corners on bases, tripped or obstructed opposing runners, sharpened their spikes, fixed baseball games and took steroids over the years. And while instances of such rule-breaking should always be punished when caught, the game has always survived it somehow, so we should probably moderate our outrage at any one instance.


  1. heyblueyoustink - May 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    How do we know there’s not a bottle of bath tub hooch instead of cork in the bat?

    • Old Gator - May 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Mickey could afford better than that.

      • historiophiliac - May 3, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        Oh, please. You can take the boy out of Oklahoma, but you can’t take the Oklahoma out of the boy. It’s probably choc.

    • skids003 - May 3, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Say it ain’t so, Mick!!!

  2. jayscarpa - May 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

  3. sabatimus - May 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    You know, people often say “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'”. I’m find that statement more accurate, and more soul-crushing, by the day.

  4. proudlycanadian - May 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    The guy should be tossed out of the HOF. Wink! Wink! Nudge! Nudge!

    • 18thstreet - May 3, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      I thought Jane Leavy’s book on Mantle was awesome. And one of the things that I took away from it: if steroids existed, Mickey Mantle would have taken them.

      • sdelmonte - May 3, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Maybe they would have worked better than the various forms of quackery that he encountered over the years.

      • 18thstreet - May 3, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        That guy put anything into his body, if he believed it would help his knees. (… and alcohol, but I’d rather not have that comment misconstrued as mocking his alcoholism, which is a different subject altogether.)

      • jwbiii - May 3, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Mantle was a patient of Max “Dr. Feelgood” Jacobson. Steroids were a part of Dr. Jacobson’s practice.

        I haven’t read Leavy’s book on Mantle. How did she come to the conclusion that he didn’t take steroids?

      • 18thstreet - May 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        I can’t remember the book that specifically. (I do recommend it!) What’s clear to me is that he would have put ANYTHING into his body if he thought it would help his knee.

      • jwbiii - May 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        Thanks for the recommendation. I found an excerpt at SI. If anyone wants read it, it’s mostly about the Copacabana brawl. Lots of first person quotes from all sorts of people. Leavy does good word.

      • largebill - May 3, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        I enjoyed the book, but she added odd references to her personal life which seemed out of place. Without looking for the book to verify the specific comment, one that stood out to me was talking about meeting Mick in a hotel lobby and then letting the reader know that her mom lost her virginity at that hotel back in the 1940’s. It was a real WTF comment. I mean we all pretty much understand that our parents lost their virginity at some point, but none of us should want to know any thing else about the event.

      • badintent - May 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

        Is the bat drunk ? good book but Jane is jealous Mick never popped her.He did everyone else.

      • 18thstreet - May 4, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        It was pretty clear that he intended to. I wouldn’t say “jealous” is the word you’re looking for.

    • dirtyharry1971 - May 4, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      and Gibbons and AA should be fired so whats your point? No winking here old man

  5. El Bravo - May 3, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    What a fraud. Take all of his records away and put an asterisk next to all of his stats I say! It sure makes a difference when this comes out decades later vs during one’s career huh? Barry Bonds and his HOF aspirations think so.

    • braddavery - May 3, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      The difference being, if Bonds was caught corking his bat and wasn’t a PED user, he would be in the HOF as we speak, because no one really cares all that much about the small “slap on the wrist” cheats.

  6. leaashlay1 - May 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Love my job, since I’ve been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it online…

  7. drewzducks - May 3, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Somewhere A Rod is smiling.

  8. largebill - May 3, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    “allowing them to win pennants they didn’t deserve” Problem with that statement is I fully assume their opponents were cheating in various ways as well. At the end of the day all that counts is the final score.

  9. anxovies - May 3, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I don’t know who authenticated the bat or who can prove Mickey swung it in a game but my guess is that the only thing he corked was standing on a shelf behind the tap.

  10. chrisdtx - May 3, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    It would be like finding out Mickey Mantle corked his bat.


  11. bankboy2012 - May 3, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    I’m not waiting for all the pearl clutching and cases of the vapors on this one.

    What I do expect is at least one writer who says he won’t vote for player X for the Hall because he’s just not sure he’s PED-free to say this doesn’t matter since Mantle was never caught using one in a game, and do it in a way that shows the double standard on cheating is completely lost on them.

    • gloccamorra - May 3, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      There has GOT to be at least one writer who has already demonstrated that. It’s just not one of the big guys in the trade, probably Joe Schmoe for the Podunk Intelligencer or something. Either that or there’s been a coverup!

  12. icanspeel - May 3, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I wonder how much more beneficial a corked bat is. Anyone know of any studies on that?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      Many have been done, and they show that corking a bat makes it worse. Here’s a paper:

      Money quote:

      This result suggests that corked bat would produce batted-ball speeds about 1 mph lower than a normal wood bat.

      Dr. Alan Nathan, physics professor at the University of Illinois, is really good about this stuff.

    • Walk - May 4, 2013 at 5:28 AM

      You wont hit a ball as far as you would with a normal bat. Studies I read if I remember right said it was something like 13-15 feet less on a long drive, but you will hit balls you otherwise have missed putting into play. That study was talking about effects of pete rose’s bats had on his latter career years.

  13. 13arod - May 3, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    its not like he did it everytime

    • gloccamorra - May 3, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      That’s right! Only one bat found out of however many he used in his career. Maybe it was a Sammy Sosa model – the kind you use in batting practice to wow the crowd, but would never, ever, use in a game.

  14. jfk69 - May 3, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Yes history will always be rewritten for numerous reasons. I have it on faith that 2,000 years ago the first modern day hippie was discovered in the Middle East offering free unlimited wine and unleavened bread at outdoor festivals while attempting to convert the population to a new cult like religion. It was also reported that he will be back to confirm this.

  15. turdfurgerson68 - May 4, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Another Yankee cheater…it’s no suprise.


    and now,


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