An emerging story today, sure to gain momentum. Here's a link to the article, with pictureshttp://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/01-03-2007/0004498891&EDATE=
Hall of Fame Balloting Tainted
CLEVELAND, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark McGwire's 70th home run ballfrom his record-breaking 1998 season contains a synthetic rubber ring or spring ("the ring") -- a material not outlined in official Major League Baseball ("the League") specifications. The ring and enlarged rubberized core of the baseball are clearly visualized in a computed tomography (CT) scan of the baseball conducted by Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio (UMS), a worldwide innovator of diagnostic imaging technology for various industries.
UMS, with assistance from Dr. Avrami S. Grader and Dr. Philip M. Halleck from The Center for Quantitative Imaging at Penn State University, utilized a CT scanner to study additional League baseballs from 1998 and found the baseballs have significantly enlarged cores in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The League Specifications vs. McGwire's 70th Home Run Ball
According to the League's specifications, "the pill of the baseball shall consist of a compressed cork sphere surrounded by one layer of black rubber and one layer of red rubber." The League does not specify a synthetic rubber ring or any additional material. "Examining the CT images of Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball one can clearly see the synthetic ring around the core -- or 'pill' -- of the baseball," states David Zavagno, president of Universal Medical Systems. "While Mark McGuire may or may not have used illegal steroids, the evidence shows his ball -- under the governing body of the League -- was juiced."
League Acts to Deflect Scrutiny of Juiced Ball
In 2000, in response to concerns about an altered ball contributing to increased home runs, the League commissioned and paid for a study from the UMass-Lowell Baseball Research Center. The report found no change in the ball. However, photos within the report show the synthetic rubber ring and identify numerous other problems.
The league publicly announced the baseball was not a cause of increased home runs. However, the historical words "cushioned cork center" were later removed from baseballs. In addition, computerized strike checkers were installed in the League's parks to expand the strike zone, and the League worked towards establishing drug testing standards. In fact, Commissioner Bud Selig named former Senator George Mitchell to lead an investigation into the use of illegal steroids by baseball players. Another interesting action, the Colorado Rockies utilized a humidor for their balls. "The League is as guilty as the individual players," says Zavagno. "Its desire to protect the image of the game, while recording huge revenues and setting new performance records, allowed scandalous problems to escalate.
Only after Congress stepped in on the steroid problem did the League begrudgingly act. Now it may take similar scrutiny for the League to admit the modern-day baseball does not conform to its own specifications. Because of the scandals -- baseball material alterations, lax rule enforcement and rampant use of steroids -- the Hall of Fame voting process could be tainted for decades. Hall of Fame voters need to understand many historical statistical comparisons are no longer relevant."
About Computed Tomography (CT) Technology Computed Tomography or CT scanning is a method whereby X-rays are passed through a sample material, which produces cross-sectional images or slices. These images offer the capability of rapid, nondestructive visualization and analysis of an object. UMS currently utilizes CT scanning within the petroleum industry to identify and evaluate internal structural characteristics and discontinuities of core materials and fluid distribution within cores.
About the Scan of McGwires' 70th Home Run Ball
UMS utilized the same methodology of examining rock core samples for presence of oil when examining McGwire's 70th home run ball, which was obtained on-loan from "The McFarlane Collection." A baseball can be thought of as a small rock. The same state-of-the-art core analysis imaging techniques were applied to accurately determine the properties and material changes in the baseball. "The synthetic rubber ring of the modern-day baseball, in this case that of Mark McGwire's prized 70th home run ball, acts as both a spring and a 'stop,'" says Zavagno. "Much like a sling shot pulled back 10 or 20 degrees farther than normal, the subsequent restitution or rebound allows an object to fly faster and farther. The changes to the center directly affect the restitution and energy distribution within the ball."
About Universal Medical Systems, Inc.
Based in Solon, Ohio, Universal Medical Systems, Inc. is a global user, designer and supplier of advanced innovative imaging systems and services with more than 20 years of computed tomography experience. For more information visit: http://www.universal-systems.com
About David R. Zavagno
David R. Zavagno, president of Universal Medical Systems, Inc., has non- destructively tested and documented the content of Major League baseballs covering almost 100 years. His insights and findings appeared in numerous articles, broadcasts and interviews. He first utilized his
diagnostic imaging technology to examine baseballs in 1994. For more information contact Zavagno at 440-349-3210 or
Contact: David R. Zavagno