CHICAGO -- Former Cubs' slugger Sammy Sosa's infamous corked maple bat sold at auction for $14,407.
The purchaser was the owner of Harry Caray's Restaurant in Chicago, the namesake for the Hall of Fame broadcaster who used to call Sosa's mammoth home run shots for the Chicago Cubs.
Sammy Sosa cracked 609 home runs during his 18-year career and chased Mark McGwire for Roger Maris' single-season home run record in 1998. But probably none of his swings was more recorded than a weak groundball out on June 4, 2003. An umpire picked up a part of his shattered maple bat and noted that it had been hollowed out and inserted with cork.
The 35.4 inch bat, colored black, was sold by former Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger, a teammate of Sosa's.
Sosa never denied that the bat was corked, but said he used it in the game by accident. Normally, he said, he only used it to show off during batting practice.
The corked bat will be placed on placed on display at Harry Caray's Tavern on Navy Pier in Chicago.
Sosa was traded from the Texas Rangers to Chicago White Sox in 1989 for Harold Baines. Baines later returned to the White Sox and his number 3 was retired.
Sosa was traded by the White Sox to the Cubs in 1991 for OF George Bell, whose career quickly faded afterwards.
Sosa is the only player in MLB history to hit at least 60 home runs in a season three times: 1998, 1999 and 2001.
Though being a five-time All Star, winning the National League's MVP Award in 1998, and hitting more than 500 home runs with the Cubs, to his great consternation, his number remains in active use.
While the corked bat incident was embarrassing and led to a suspension, the questionable use of steroids will no doubt come up when his name appears on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2013.