A corked bat that baseball legend and Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle used is set to go up for auction and is a rare piece of baseball memorabilia, given that corked bats have long been banned in the sport.
Grey Flannel Auctions is facilitating the selling of the bat once belonging to the former Yankees great, according to The New York Post. The item has already been certified by PSA/DNA authenticator John Taube, who noticed that something was not quite right with the bat and after further investigation found that the bat's core had been filled with cork.
"This is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have seen or heard of," Taube told the paper.
To make sure people would not think the auction a farce, the auction house provided an x-ray picture of the bat, proving that the core had been drilled out and replaced with cork.
"For those and many others, this may be a hard one to swallow … but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Offered here is the first corked bat linked to Mickey Mantle and is accompanied by an X-ray of the bat showing the aforementioned cork at the barrel end," Grey Flannel Auctions wrote in its website.
"A few ball marks are visible on the back barrel and there is a light coat of pine tar at the mid handle. Four small mounting holes (repaired) are on the back of the handle and barrel," the statement added.
Fitting bats with cork is illegal, but Mantle is not the only player who has been caught previously gaining an unfair advantage with their bat. Former Chicago Cubs player Sammy Sosa was embroiled in a scandal after his bat was broken fouling off a pitch during a game, exposing its corked center. Kanas City Royals legend George Brett was suspended after officials charged he used pine tar on his bat to gain an unfair advantage.
Mantle is one of the all-time leading home-run hitters, generating 536 of them during his career. He also helped the Yankees win seven of the team's record 27 World Series Championships.