CLEVELAND, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball
from 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
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: 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
SOURCE Universal Medical Systems, Inc.