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Why Cork A Baseball Bat?

Why Cork A Baseball Bat?


MLB Rule 6.06(d) states that a batter is out for illegal action when he uses a bat that, in the umpire's judgment, has been altered.

Wooden bats don't have a lot of variances. Because of that, the slightest change can create a large competitive advantage for a player. examines why past players have opted to break rules and cork a baseball bat.

Note: does not condone corking a bat or participating in any modifications to a bat that result in an unfair advantage.

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First of all, a corked bat is a modified baseball bat that has been filled with a lighter, less dense substance in an effort to make the bat lighter. As the MLB rule states, it's not the bat being lighter than makes a corked bat illegal, it's because lighter wood bats are shorter than heavier bats and the bat is no longer a one piece of solid wood.

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The Benefits Of A Corked Bat

Notable players who have been caught with a corked bat include Albert Belle, Amos Otis, Sammy Sosa, and Graig Nettles. They all faced ramifications from MLB, as a result. So, why did they risk it? Here are the advantages of a corked bat:

  • Softened Collision: The cork makes the bat act more like a sponge than a spring because the reduced weight transfers less force when it hits a baseball. So, the cork absorbs some of the impact.
  • Less Mass: Cork is usually drilled into the center of the bat which shifts the center-of-mass towards the bat's handle. This makes the bat easier to swing.
  • Faster Swing Speed: As the cork makes the bat lighter it also means lower inertia which creates a faster swing speed. Faster bat swings translate into faster batted-ball speed.

Corked Baseball Bat

Essentially, corking a baseball bat means you're trading out batted-ball speed for faster swing speed. A corked bat doe snot make a baseball travel faster or further. In conclusion, there are minimal benefits to a corked bat, but studies have proven that the benefits might be more psychological than tangible for a player. So, like nearly everything, it's not worth cheating.

Do you know someone who has corked a bat? What do you think of this practice? Let us know in the comments.

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