Well, this about proves it: no player in MLB history is clean. The L.A. Times reports that a corked bat which once belonged to Mickey Mantle is going up for auction this month. The game-used bat is from the 1964 season near the end of Mantle’s career. An X-ray of the barrel of the bat shows that the bat has been doctored.
It’s the first known Mantle bat to show signs of tampering. PSA/DNA expert John Taube provides the incriminating details on the Grey Flannel Auctions site:
“…during our examination of the bat, we noticed a circular area .75 inches wide in the center of the top barrel. The finish in the area has also been touched up to mask the circular area. Alterations of this nature indicate the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork….we had the barrel x-rayed and (it) confirms that the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork…this is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have seen or heard of”
Corked bats are not that rare an occurrence in major league history, but usually it’s been a lesser player than Mantle. The Mick was never caught — nor suspected of — using a corked bat, but this is the proof. This revelation probably won’t have much of an impact on Mantle’s legacy as a boyhood hero to a whole generation of baseball fans, including Bob Costas. However, maybe Jason Grimsley can find a way to get the stick back and destroy the evidence.