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#pounditTuesday, April 23, 2024

Pete Rose corked his bat, former Expos groundskeeper says

Pete Rose

Rumors have existed for years that Pete Rose played with a corked bat during his legendary MLB career, and that talk has resurfaced because of an interesting claim made by a former Montreal Expos groundskeeper.

Joe Jammer was a groundskeeper for the Expos for 11 years, including when Rose played for the team for a brief period in 1984. In a recent phone interview with Danny Gallagher of The Montreal Gazette, Jammer said Rose regularly had his bats corked in the visitors’ clubhouse by a team staffer named Bryan Greenberg that season.

“Pete Rose would have his bats corked in the visitors’ clubhouse at Olympic Stadium,” Jammer said in a phone interview from London, England, where he is now a club-playing musician. “I found out he was corking bats. … Pete was too smart to deal with Expos equipment manager John Silverman (to cork his bats in the Expos’ clubhouse). So Bryan Greenberg, who worked in the visitors’ clubhouse, did it. He took me into a room, a door to the left, and underneath tarps there was this machine.”

Jammer said he was shown a machine in the visitor’s clubhouse that was designed for corking Rose’s bat. Greenberg allegedly told Jammer that Rose had been corking his bat for 20 years, indicating the 17-time All-Star had been doing it throughout his entire career. The reason Rose never got caught was because he was not a power hitter, Jammer claims he was told by Greenberg.

Greenberg did not deny the allegation. When reached by the Montreal Gazette, he only said that he “can’t talk about it” and does not want to answer questions. A separate source who chose to remain anonymous told Gallagher that Rose only had his bat corked a few times a year.

“He only did it a few times a year. I didn’t know it was in the visitors’ clubhouse,” the source said. “I thought it was on (Greenberg’s) lathe in his garage.”

Rose played just 95 games for the Expos in 1984 before being traded to the Cincinnati for his second stint with the Reds. His 4,256 hits are the most by any player in MLB history. As for why Jammer decided to come forward about Rose corking his bat, the ex-groundskeeper says Rose was unpleasant to him during Rose’s brief stint in Montreal.

More than a decade ago, Deadspin published a detailed report about how Rose corked his bat and provided a photo that supposedly proved it. While Rose is one of the greatest baseball players to ever live, his reputation is less than stellar due to his being banned from the game. The corked bat allegations are just another stain on his legacy.

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