July 23, 2009

Babe Ruth corked his bat?!!*

A thoughtful and thought-provoking argument(pdf) by Bill James on baseball's Hall of Fame and performance enhancing drugs.



Tom Shieber said...

Bill James's assertion that Babe Ruth "was caught using a corked bat" is incorrect. Here's the real story: http://baseballresearcher.blogspot.com/2011/02/uncorking-truth.html

peter ramus said...

Hi, Tom. Thanks for stopping by.

Looking back, the article I linked to at Historybluff.com claiming that Ruth corked his bat isn't a good source for the story at all. There aren't any cites, just a bald assertion that Ruth used a number of corked bats in the early 1930's. I searched around a bit and couldn't find any further details on the matter, except for other sites like mine referencing the original Historybluff article.

I don't think of Bill James as an inveterate slinger of bullshit, but on the other hand I don't know where he got his information either.

Your research on Ruth's Quadrebuilt bat is fascinating, but it doesn't bear on the question raised by the Historybluff article since the Quadrebuilt episode predates the age of the claimed corked bats by seven or eight years. You show that Ruth doctored his bat once and the commissioner didn't turn a blind eye, and if that was the only time he doctored his bat, then James got the story wrong. Were there other times, with cork? Bill James may know. I don't.