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, super 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:
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 President.
Since 1970, six players have been caught using corked bats. The following table summarizes these events:
|Sammy Sosa||Chicago Cubs||June 3, 2003||Seven games||Corked bat|
|Wilton Guerrero||Los Angeles Dodgers||June 1, 1997||Eight games||Corked bat|
|Chris Sabo||Cincinnati Reds||July 29, 1996||Seven games||Corked bat|
|Albert Belle||Cleveland Indians||July 15, 1994||Seven games||Corked bat|
|Billy Hatcher||Houston Astros||August 31, 1987||Ten days||Corked bat|
|Graig Nettles||New York Yankees||September 7, 1974||No suspension||Six super balls in bat|