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Friday, June 6
Doctored bat infractions

Rule 6.06, Section D: "A batter is out for illegal action when ... he uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire's judgment, has been altered or tampered with ... No advancement on the bases will be allowed and any out or outs made during a play shall stand."

The list of punishments handed down since 1970:

Player, team Date Length Reason
Sammy Sosa, Cubs June 3, 2003 Eight games Corked bat
Wilton Guerrero, Dodgers June 1, 1997 Eight games Corked bat
Chris Sabo, Reds July 29, 1996 Seven games Corked bat
Albert Belle, Indians July 15, 1994 Seven games Corked bat
Billy Hatcher, Astros Aug. 31, 1987 10 days Corked bat
Graig Nettles, Yankees Sept. 7, 1974-x No suspension Super balls in bat

  • x-On Sept. 7, 1974, the Yankees' Graig Nettles hit a home run against the Detroit Tigers. The next time up, he hit a broken-bat single. Tigers catcher Bill Freehan scrambled for the six superballs that came bouncing out. "I didn't know there was anything wrong with the bat," Nettles said after the game. "That was the first time I used it. Some Yankees fan in Chicago gave it to me and said it would bring me good luck. There's no brand name on it or anything. Maybe the guy made it himself. It had been in the bat rack, and I picked it up by mistake, because it looked like the bat I had been using the last few days." Nettles was called out on the single, but his solo homer was allowed and that made all the difference as the Yankees won 1-0.

  • After retiring in 1984, Royals star Amos Otis, a five-time All-Star who hit 193 career home runs, admitted that he used a funky bat much of his career. "I had enough cork and superballs in there to blow away anything," he said. "I had a very close friend who made the bats for me. He'd drill a hole down the barrel and stuff some superballs and cork in it. Then he put some sawdust back into the hole, sandpapered it down and added a little pine tar over the top of it. The bat looked brand new."

  • In 2001, Jose Guillen served a 10-game suspension for using a corked bat during a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Devil Rays' Triple-A team in Durham. "It was my bat," Guillen said. "I have paid for my mistake. I wasn't the first one and I probably won't be the last one. It's over, I've paid my fine, I've gotten my suspension, now I think I have to get over that stuff."

  • White Sox catcher Miguel Olivo was suspended for six games in 2001 from the Double-A Birmingham Barons for a corked bat.

  • By his own account, Tigers first baseman Norm Cash used a corked bat during the 1961 season, a breakout year he never came close to duplicating. In '61, Cash led the AL in batting with a .361 average, hit 41 homers and drove in 132 runs. After he retired, he demonstrated for Sports Illustrated how he doctored his bat by drilling an eight-inch hole in the barrel, filling it with glue, cork and sawdust.

    Information from ESPN Research was used in this report.


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