Anyone think Pete Rose was inching closer and closer to having his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball lifted? Think again. Deadspin broke a major story on Tuesday that is going to break the hearts of the Pete Rose faithful. You can say what you’d like about his gambling problems and his behavior off the field, but until Tuesday morning it didn’t appear that anyone had any hard evidence to prove that Rose cheated at the game of baseball. He’s been accused of corking his bat before, but it’s never been proven and he of course denied it like he denied betting on baseball for so long. The photo above seems like pretty clear evidence that Pete Rose used a corked bat in his pursuit of a record.
The Deadspin report provides an unbelievably detailed description of the history of the bat, including where it came from and images that clearly prove it was indeed a bat used by Pete Rose. Here are a few key snip-its from the Deadspin story:
Rose was in hot pursuit of Ty Cobb’s iconic record of 4,191 hits. It was the only reason he was still playing baseball. Before the season, Rose had a box of about 30 black Mizuno bats specially made for him. His trademark quick swing not nearly as quick as it used to be, Rose ordered his bats a little lighter than usual to shorten up his motion. The bats were 34 inches long, and weighed 31.6 ounces. In honor of his quest for 4,192 hits, they were dubbed the PR4192.
Steve Wolter was a huge Pete Rose fan. He got to know Pete, came to consider him a friend. So, on Sept. 11, the very day Rose broke baseball’s all-time hit record, Wolter made him an offer. Though the Hall Of Fame requested it, Pete Rose sold the record-breaking bat to Steve Wolter. The Wolter family won’t discuss the actual price, but they claim it was the highest amount ever paid for a single piece of sports memorabilia at that time.
You might ask yourself why Rose would sell the bat if he was aware it was illegal and people knew he used it. But it’s no mystery he was a gambler, and people who are in debt take some serious risks to get out. Here’s more from the story:
Bill Schubert considers himself an amateur collector, though the analyst from Stockton, Calif., did own one big-time piece of memorabilia: a Babe Ruth-signed baseball. But he always wanted one of Pete Rose’s bats.
Schubert balked at parting with the cash necessary to get his hands on the PR4192, despite its great condition, and despite his long-held desire for a Pete Rose bat. But he did have something to trade. He sent his Babe Ruth-signed ball (along with a cash difference that we won’t mention in deference to his fear that his wife will find out) and in return received his game-used Black Mizuno PR4192. He didn’t know it at the time, but it was the one Rose had used on that July Fourth weekend in Philadelphia.
The report goes on to explain how it can be proven that Rose did indeed use the bat in game action. The fact that it is a certified authentic piece of memorabilia does not guarantee he used it during a game, but several images in the Deadspin report help prove that he did. Tons of credit to them for breaking such a major story.
This Is Pete Rose’s Corked Bat [Deadspin]