Pete Rose, already banned from Major League Baseball for gambling, is now accused of breaking another of the sport’s rules.
A former groundskeeper for the Montreal Expos recently told the Montreal Gazette that Rose routinely had an Olympic Stadium staffer cork his bats in 1984. Rose played most of the 1984 season for the Expos before he was traded back to his original club, the Cincinnati Reds, that August.
Joe Jammer, then an Expos groundskeeper and now a musician in London, told the Gazette in a telephone interview, “Pete Rose would have his bats corked in the visitors’ clubhouse at Olympic Stadium. I found out he was corking bats.
“Pete was too smart to deal with Expos equipment manager John Silverman [to cork his bats in the Expos’ clubhouse]. So Bryan Greenberg, who worked in the visitors’ clubhouse, did it. He took me into a room, a door to the left, and underneath tarps there was this machine.”
Jammer said Greenberg told him the machine was used to cork Rose’s bats.
“The guy [Greenberg] was saying Rose had been corking his bat for 20 years,” Jammer told the Gazette. “The guy said that nobody checks him because he’s a singles hitter.”
‘He only did it a few times a year’
The process of corking a bat to improve its performance involves hollowing out a portion of the wood and filling that section with cork or rubber balls. The procedure is banned by MLB.
Another anonymous source confirmed Jammer’s account to the newspaper.
“Yeah, Bryan Greenberg did it for [Rose],” the anonymous source reportedly said. “He only did it a few times a year. I didn’t know it was in the visitors’ clubhouse. I thought it was on [Greenberg’s] lathe in his garage.”
The Gazette reported it spoke recently with Greenberg, who now works for a sports marketing firm in Florida, to ask if he corked Rose’s bats.
“I really can’t answer those questions. I really can’t talk about it,” he told the newspaper.
Betting admission in 2004
Told by the Gazette that two people had said he had altered Rose’s bats, Greenberg replied, “They can say whatever they want.”
According to the newspaper, Greenberg was a carpenter who helped build Olympic Stadium fences prior to getting a job in the visiting clubhouse.
The Gazette reported that one of Rose’s representatives, Ryan Fiterman, declined to comment on the story.
Though Rose is baseball’s all-time leader with 4,256 hits, he is not in the Hall of Fame due to a lifetime ban from the sport handed down by then-commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in 1989 due to Rose’s alleged gambling.
After years of denying the charges that he bet on baseball games, Rose admitted in a 2004 book that he had bet on games, only on his own team.