MLB Let Albert Pujols Use an Illegal Bat for the Last 13 Years? What? (UPDATE)

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MLB Let Albert Pujols Use an Illegal Bat for the Last 13 Years? What? (UPDATE)

Chicago Cubs

Like everyone else watching the World Series tonight and listening to the broadcast, I had to do a quadruple check on what I was hearing Tom Verducci discussing Astros catcher Martin Maldonado using an illegal bat in last night’s game.

That, I mean … that alone is really crazy. Just a player in the World Series USING AN ILLEGAL BAT. That seems like a HUGE STORY.

And yet it’s not even my focus, because of HOW Maldonado got the illegal bat. It was a gift from Albert Pujols, who has been using the illegal bats – with permission from MLB! – FOR 13 YEARS:

I must be losing my mind here. MLB made a determination about bat sizes being legal or illegal back in 2010, and Pujols’ bat at that time was not within those specifications. But the league let him keep using it because he was grandfathered in … ? So he was legally using an illegal bat for over a decade, like that was just no big deal?

Pujols hit 337 home runs in the 13 seasons from 2010 through his retirement year here in 2022. And he did it all with a bat size that MLB had determined was not appropriate for competition. He didn’t do anything WRONG, apparently, but this is blowing my mind.

Also, Martin Maldonado then used that illegal bat IN THE WORLD SERIES and it’s just like, hey man, don’t do that. THIS IS WILD!

UPDATE: Some more background on the rule change about the bats. It was a safety-related change, but the old bats – the ones Pujols was permitted to keep using – were theoretically able to have a lower-weight but larger barrel:

If it was a safety issue, why wouldn’t they make Pujols (and others) change bats? I don’t get it. Sure seems like it would be an advantage to be among the few players allowed to use a bat that can have lower weight with a bigger barrel.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.