Rose legacy takes another hit
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:03 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2010 2:18 pm
A detailed investigation by Barry Petchesky of Deadspin.com indicates that Pete Rose used corked bats during his 1985 chase for baseball's all-time hits record.
A photo accompanying the story shows an X-ray of a game-used bat with a clear area of foreign material about six inches long in the barrel. The bat is purportedly part of a batch of about 30 Mizuno bats Rose had specially made for him in 1985, when he was player-manager of the Reds and chasing down Ty Cobb's record of 4,191 hits.
Bat-corking is intended to make a bat lighter without a sacrifice in power. The practice is called "corking" even though various materials have been used to fill hollowed-out spaces over the years. The benefit corking has been widely debated and tested, and the results indicate that the edge is dubious at best. In fact, a 2007 experiment by the TV show Mythbusters showed that corking actually causes a notable decrease in how far a ball will travel off a bat (video here ). Any benefit is probably mental.
Nevertheless, it's explicitly against the rules. It has never been clear how widespread corking is, and only six players have been disciplined for the practice: Graig Nettles, Billy Hatcher, Albert Belle, Chris Sabo, Wilton Guerrero and Sammy Sosa. Rose has repeatedly denied corking his bat and challenged anyone to produce a bat he used that was corked (he didn't respond to Deadspin's requests for comment). Of course, Rose repeatedly denied betting on baseball, too, until he figured out he could benefit from admitting it.
The point isn't whether altered bats helped Rose get the hits record. The point is that, if this report is true, Rose knowingly cheated. The Hall of Fame looks further away than ever.
-- David Andriesen, CBSSports.com