(AP, Grey Flannel Auctions)
Apparently, even the great Mickey Mantle cheated at baseball.
Grey Flannel Auctions is putting up for bid a used Mantle bat from the 1964 season that, X-rays show, was doctored with cork.
"Say it ain't so, Mickey," the New York Post writes.
But is this revelation all that shameful? Hollowing a bat's barrel and inserting cork has long been against the rules, though its actual effect on how the ball travels is dubious at best. You get conflicting answers when asking people who might know. Still, it's cheating. Or trying to cheat.
Here's what the item's capsule description says of the only such doctored bat ever to surface:
In his autobiography, then Minnesota Twins equipment manager Ray Crump admitted that he had corked some bats for Mickey. Until now, none of these bats have surfaced…taking nothing away from the icon and legend of Mickey Mantle, this is indeed a one of a kind piece of NY Yankees and baseball history…a Mantle corked gamer.
I have not read Crump's "Beneath the Grandstands" from 1993, or remember hearing accusations of Mantle ever corking a bat. Except for one place: A classic Seinfeld episode from earlier the same year. He might be more of a New York Mets fan, but some of the best work from the "Seinfeld" TV show refers to the New York Yankees. And, as it pertained to Mickey Mantle, one of the most popular Yanks ever, one of the most iconic Seinfeld lines ever sprang:
"They're real ... and they're spectacular."
It was said by actress Teri Hatcher, who was referring to her breasts, which Seinfeld wondered — to the eventual undoing of their budding relationship — might have implants. Jerry definitely had a prejudice against breast augmentation, and he used Mantle as a hypothetical analogy to express it:
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