Well, Perhaps I am in denial, or perhaps I just happen to believe a man is innocent until proven guilty.
To actually PROVE that the bat was corked in 1985, it is absolutly essential that we look and see everywhere the bat has been over the last 25 years. In reality, it is simply impossible to show a real chain of custody for this bat.
The Deadspin article says that Rose himself kept the bat until the "late '80s, as Rose's gambling debts were mounting, he sold off a large collection of his memorabilia, much of which ended up with the Wolter family." We have no idea whether any of Pete's high class associates had access to this bat in the years he kept it.
The next owner was Steve Wolter, who owned the bat for several years. His company, Sports Investments, a Cincinnati-based collectibles store, sold it to an unnamed Wisconsin collector, who kept the bat for some undisclosed time frame, and then sold it back to Sports Investments. They then sold it to the current owner, who had it x-rayed. Did all of these owners keep the bat locked up? Did any of them loan it out for display? How many people actually had access to the bat over the last 25 years?
In a previous post, I mentioned that the current owner, Bill Schubert, who paid to have the bat x-rayed, has a potential large financial gain since the bat is now thought to have increased in value from $5,000 to at least six figures. So I wonder what do we know about Mr. Schubert? Many of these sports memoribillia guys are a little shady, if you ask me.
Beyond that, did any of Rose's old cronies or gambling associates have a reason to set him up and have his bats corked?
And again, it is interesting to me that cork in a bat actually decreases the bat's effectiveness. From Mythbusters
Now of course Rose might not have known this, and clearly corking a bat is against MLB rules.
Still, Joe Morgan's statement carries some weight with me. I don't remember any such such defense of Rose by Morgan when the gambling allegations came up. Joe knew that Pete hung with gamblers, and Joe didn't like it.