CHICAGO (CBS) – Harry Caray’s Restaurant has gained a reputation for picking up embarrassing items from Cubs lore.
The restaurant is now continuing the trend with Sammy Sosa’s infamous corked bat. Caray’s chief executive officer Grant DePorter bought the bat from Schulte Auctions for more than $16,567. Former Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger had put it up for auction for $14,407, MLB.com reported.
The bat will be on display at Harry Caray’s original location at 33 W. Kinzie St., beginning later Thursday. It will be moved to the Chicago Sports Museum at Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier next week, MLB.com reported.
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Sosa was caught with the corked bat in 2003, after his heroic image as Chicago’s top slugger and home run record chaser five years earlier was beginning to fade. The bat splintered when he hit a ground ball in the first inning of a June 3, 2003, interleague game against the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Wrigley Field.
Sosa was kicked out of the game and suspended for seven days, MLB.com recalled.
Major League Baseball tested all of Sosa’s bats, and did not find any others that were corked. Sosa claimed that he picked up the corked bat by mistake, and only used it during practice.
Harry Caray’s also has the remains of the infamous “Bartman Ball,” the foul ball that is often blamed for costing the Cubs Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series when they were four outs away from going to the World Series.
On Oct. 14, 2003, the Cubs were up 3-0 against the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning, when Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo hit a foul ball. Fan Steve Bartman tried to catch the ball before it entered the stands, infuriating outfielder Moises Alou who had hoped to make a catch. Afterward, the Marlins scored eight runs and won the game, and the Cubs also lost Game 7 the following night.
DePorter purchased the ball at auction for $113,824. In February 2004, it was blown up by a special effects expert. A year later, the ball was boiled, and the resulting steam was used in a pasta sauce. What’s left of it remains at the Chicago Sports Museum.
Not all the Chicago Sports Museum’s offerings conjure bad memories.
The museum also houses one of the balls Kerry Wood used in his 20-strikeout game against the Houston Astros in May 1998, and Starlin Castro’s batting gloves from May 7 of this year, when he set an MLB debut record with six RBIs, MLB.com reported.