Cubs

Albert Pujols used 'grandfathered' illegal bat for 12 years

Cubs
Albert Pujols

The model bat used by Albert Pujols was deemed illegal by Major League Baseball in 2010.

The future Hall of Famer, however, was permitted to continue using it after the league's specifications change, because it was "grandfathered" in.

That decision ultimately had an impact on the 2022 World Series. How so?

The Houston Astros' Martin Maldonado asked Pujols to send him some bats prior to the start of the World Series. He used the slugger's model in Game 1 and was later informed it was not a legal bat. 

Early in Saturday night's Game 2, FOX dropped a quick little 50-second segment on Maldonado and his change in bats from Game 1 to Game 2.

Here's the segment, and a transcription:

"Martin Maldonado is using a different bat today here in Game 2. He found out from MLB today that the bat he used last night was not a legal bat. It was a model he obtained from Albert Pujols, and he used it because he thought it was very similar in size and weight to his own model. The barrel, he said, was slightly bigger. He also thought it was a way to honor the baseball legend, of course retiring with the close of the season, but here's the catch to it, guys: in 2010, Major League Baseball changed the bat specifications and that bat that Pujols modeled was no longer, except if you were playing prior to 2010 it was grandfathered. So Albert Pujols could use that bat but Maldonado, who began his major league career in 2011, was not legally able to use that bat."

 

That... sounds like cheating? And while it's obviously not nearly as egregious as the Astros' coordinated cheating efforts that slapped a big asterisk on the team's 2017 World Series title, it's still a rough look for a franchise that seems frustrated to still be linked to cheating years later.

Reporters were discussing the exchange of bats from Pujols to Maldonado ahead of Game 1, so it certainly wasn't some great behind-closed-doors conspiracy:

In September, Pujols became the fourth player in major league history to reach 700 career home runs. The three-time MVP and two-time World Series winner hit 24 home runs this season at 42 years old, giving him 703 homers in his 22-year career.

Nearly 300 of those home runs came after the 2010 season, some or all potentially with his "grandfathered" bat.