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In baseball, a corked bat is a specially modified baseball bat that has been filled with cork or similar light, less dense substances to make the bat lighter without losing much power. A lighter bat gives a hitter a quicker swing and may improve the hitter's timing. However, since the bat is lighter, the ball does not necessarily travel as far as with a heavier bat, but usually only by a few feet at most. In Major League Baseball, modifying a bat with foreign substances and using it in play is illegal and subject to ejection and further punishment.

To modify a wooden bat to a corked bat, a hole approximately 1/2-inch in diameter is drilled down through the thick end of the bat roughly six inches deep. Crushed cork, bouncy ball, sawdust, or other similar material is compacted into the hole and the end is typically patched up with glue and sawdust. Placing cork beyond roughly six inches into the bat threatens the bat's structural integrity and makes it more susceptible to breakage. Corked bats breaking while in play during games is the most typical way that their use is discovered.

Using a corked bat in Major League Baseball is in violation of Rule 6.06 (d), which reads in full:[1]

A batter is out for illegal action when:

(d) He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire's judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc. No advancement on the bases will be allowed and any out or outs made during a play shall stand. In addition to being called out, the player shall be ejected from the game and may be subject to additional penalties as determined by his League Punishment advisor.

Since 1970, six players have been caught using corked bats. The following table summarizes these events:

Player Team Date Suspension Offense
Sammy Sosa Chicago Cubs June 3, 2003 Eight games[2] Corked bat
Wilton Guerrero Los Angeles Dodgers June 1, 1997 Eight games Corked bat
Chris Sabo Cincinnati Reds July 29, 1996 Seven games Rubber balls[3]
Albert Belle Cleveland Indians July 15, 1994[3] Seven games Corked bat
Billy Hatcher Houston Astros August 31, 1987[3] Ten days Corked bat
Graig Nettles New York Yankees September 7, 1974 No Suspension[3] Six super balls in bat

Mythbusters test

According to the MythBusters August 8, 2007 baseball special, the ball hit by a corked bat travels at only half the speed of a ball hit by an unmodified bat, causing it to go a shorter distance. The cork inside the bat actually absorbs the kinetic energy like a sponge, hindering the batter's performance. In addition, because corked bats are lighter, they have less mass to transfer force into the ball, bringing them to the conclusion that the use of a corked bat had fewer benefits over a regular bat. The show also notes that while filling a bat with cork makes it lighter, there is nothing in the rule book that prevents a player from simply using a lighter uncorked bat.[4]


  1. ^ "MLB Official Rules, Section 6", (accessed June 8, 2006)
  2. ^ "Corked bat-related penalty reduced by one game", news services, June 11, 2003 (accessed March 6, 2009)
  3. ^ a b c d "Sosa gets eight games, appeals", (accessed June 28, 2006)
  4. ^ "MythBusters Baseball Special". MythBusters. 2007-08-08. No. 83, season 6.

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