I was always a big Pete Rose fan, so naturally I was bent out of shape when he agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989. But now Deadspin is reporting that a baseball memorabilia collector has X-ray’d one of the Hit King’s bats to confirm or deny rumors that the bat had actually been corked. And it was.
[Collector] Bill Schubert wasn’t sure what he was expecting. Sure, he had heard the rumors about Pete corking. He didn’t necessarily believe them; he didn’t disbelieve them either. But he certainly didn’t expect to see what he saw.
“I thought that I’d have to send the X-rays off to an expert to tell me if they saw anything funny,” Schubert says. “But as soon as we saw it, there it was, right in front of our eyes. I said, ‘That’s cork in there.’ I was blown away.”
It is, indisputably, cork. And with an unbroken chain of ownership, no one but Rose could have put the cork there. –Barry Petchesky.
Does this put a damper on Rose’s career record of 4,256 hits? Yeah, it does. Whether corking a bat gives a hitter an advantage or not, it’s still against the rules. That said, it’s hard to strip someone of credibility when he had so little at this point. He bet on his own games while managing the Reds, he lied about it, and now this. He’ll still be one of the all-time great players, but he’ll never be one of the all-time great people. At least that’s what my mother would say, right before she wandered into the basement for another hit of meth.