Former Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado spent six years in Milwaukee. In 2016 he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for Jett Bandy. Two years later the Angels traded him to the Houston Astros. At season end in 2018 he elected free agency and signed with the Royals. In 2019 he was traded twice and eventually ended up back in Houston where he has been ever since.
Today, Maldonado is a valuable defensive catcher and game caller for the Astros. At the plate, he has struggled mightily over each of the past two seasons posting OPS+ of 58 and 69. Prior to the World Series starting, Maldonado reached out to Albert Pujols for some bats. He went on to use Pujols’ bat during game one of the World Series and picked up a RBI hit.
Martin Maldonado reached out to Albert Pujols before the start of the World Series and asked Pujols to send him some bats — and today, a half-dozen arrived from the future HOFer. Maldonado believes the Pujols always got some of the best quality of bats because of his stature.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 28, 2022
There was only one problem with Maldonado using a bat from Albert Pujols. The bat is illegal.
Per FOX: Martín Maldonado used a bat last night Albert Pujols sent him that MLB considers not within the rules. It was grandfathered in for Pujols because he had been using it prior to 2010. So Martín back to using his bats.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 30, 2022
As reported by Mark Berman, the bat Pujols sent Maldonado is illegal and MLB considers ‘not within the rules’. The maple bat is deemed illegal due to saftey concerns due to it’s increased risk of splintering into multiple pieces. Maple bats are still used league wide today just with updated standards and specifications.
Berman also mentions that Pujols had this bat grandfathered in because he was using it prior to 2010. If you connect the dots, that means Pujols has really been using an illegal bat, per MLB, since then.
If we go back in time, this means Pujols was using an illegal bat during the 2011 post season when the Cardinals won the World Series. In order to get to the World Series that year they knocked off the Brewers in the National League Championship Series. During that six game series against the Brewers, Pujols collected at least one hit in every game. His slash line for the series was .478/.556/.913/1.469 with six extra base hits and nine RBI.
2011 NLCS aside, Pujols has obviously reached a ton of milestones with this known illegal bat. Most famously, he reached 700 home runs during his final season as a professional baseball player. It seems silly to think that MLB has known of this illegal bat for over a decade and has let it slide while putting the saftey of other players in jeopardy.