Chicago Cubs: Remembering the Sammy Sosa Corked Bat Game

Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

Since there’s no baseball to speak of, let’s remember a game that no Chicago Cubs fan will ever forget. The Sammy Sosa ‘corked bat’ game.

In most other Chicago Cubs seasons, Sammy Sosa’s corked bat fiasco way back in 2003 is probably the main headline as opposed to a cliff note to the other events that happened that season.

Sosa’s corked bat complicated an already confusing legacy of an all-time great home run hitter burdened with baggage that cast doubts on how many of those dingers he earned.

One of the greatest dings on his legacy in the eyes of many happened on June 3, 2003.

In the first inning of a battle against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Sosa waved at a sharp 3-2 breaking ball from pitcher Geremi Gonzalez shattering his bat as the ball blooped out to second base.

Mark Grudzielanek scored on the seemingly routine and inconsequential sequence (he was sent back to third base). Unfortunately for Sosa, it was far from either.

After a thorough examination of the bat, the umpire crew determined that it was corked.

What exactly does this mean?

The strategy behind corking a bat is that if you hollow out the inside of the sweet spot and replace the lumber with a cork, it reduces the weight of the bat. A lighter bat theoretically means a hitter can whip it through the strike zone at higher velocities. Faster barrel speed should mean longer dinger distance.