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Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sammy Sosa's corked bat up for auction

ESPNChicago.com

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger has put the broken barrel of the corked bat used by Sammy Sosa during Sosa's infamous game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 up for auction.

The bat, which shattered in two pieces when Sosa grounded out to second base in the first inning of the game on June 3, 2003, went on an online auction block through Schulte Auctions on Oct. 1, and the current bid is $5,050. Remlinger figures the bids should reach as high as $15,000 by the end of the auction on Oct. 31.

"There's enough crazy Cubs fans out there that if somebody has a collection, be it Harry Caray's Restaurant or one of the bigger bars in the area or just someone who has a personal collection, it's definitely a great item to talk about," Remlinger said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.

Remlinger was in the bullpen when Sosa's bat broke, exposing cork and earning Sosa an ejection and eventual suspension. He said he noticed the broken bat sticking out from beneath a bag on the floor of the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse that day.

"I saw it there and figured the umpires and the league might be looking for it, and it wouldn't be any help to him or our team if they found it so I picked it up and brought it into the clubhouse with me," Remlinger said. "I had a fishing rod case in my locker, and I just put it in there and covered it up with a couple of towels and left it in there. It was there for the rest of the year until I brought it home."

Remlinger said the amount of cork in the bat likely contributed to it breaking.

"There was a lot [of cork]," Remlinger said. "Where it broke is about halfway down to the label and so from halfway from the label to the top of the bat, the whole barrel was still completely intact. They obviously drill from the top of the bat down, and it was corked below the label. I think that's why it broke."

Last year Remlinger said he contacted Sosa to ask if the retired slugger wanted the broken barrel. An assistant relayed the message to Sosa, who said he wanted the bat, according to Remlinger. But he never heard back from Sosa's camp again.

"At that point in time I was just going to give it to Sammy because I figured it was his to do with what he wanted," Remlinger said. "Then when I didn't hear back from him I figured it was mine to do with what I wanted."

Now that means auctioning the bat to the highest bidder.

"What happened with that bat happened, and I don't see how having that bat in the hands of somebody in the public makes it any worse for Sammy or anybody else involved in it," Remlinger said.

Count Remlinger among those surprised by the discovery of Sosa using a corked bat that day.

"I had no idea," he said. "I guess after the fact when we started talking about it ourselves, especially as pitchers, it seemed like it was really becoming a pretty prevalent issue in the game. It definitely became something we talked about more. We paid more attention to the sound of bats."

Sosa claimed at the time that the bat was just for batting practice, and he picked it up by mistake for use in the game.

"I was shocked that Sammy even had a corked bat. You could have asked me a thousand times over, and I would have said 'No way. Not a chance.' I just didn't think it was something that would make a big difference."