In the 1980s, an enterprising caterer named Curtis Strong decided to take advantage of baseball players’ love of cocaine. Freelance photographer Dale Shiffman worked with Pittsburgh’s mascot, Kevin Koch, to sell cocaine to various members of the Pirates’ organization.
A high-profile legal investigation began and captured the public’s imagination. Authorities granted the involved players immunity before the trial. One of the most ridiculous stories told how Tim Raines used to keep a glass vial of coke in his back pocket during games. A year later, Commissioner Ueberroth declared baseball’s drug problem over. Right.
In the early days of professional baseball, cheating and shady behavior were very common. Nowadays players tend to use illegal substances to improve their performances. But back then it was all about game-fixing. One of the most notorious cases involved the former Lousiville Grays.
The National League found that four Grays’ players had accepted money to lose games. They included Jim Devlin who is still the only player in history to start and complete every game in a single season. Then the league banned the four players for life. Cheating doesn’t pay if you get caught.
One of the most recent scandals in MLB, this shows how cheating will go dow and evolve in the 21st century. In 2015, the FBI opened an investigation into the Cardinals in 2015. They discovered that St. Louis’s scouting director Chris Correa hacked into the Astros’ database and stole information from the team and high-level employees.
He reviewed the team’s amateur draft scouting report and preference lists, as well as using the account of Houston GM Jeff Lunhow. A court sentenced Correa to 46 months in prison for corporate espionage. The MLB fined the Cardinals $2 million and awarded the Astros their two highest draft picks.
Rose is still the MLB’s all-time leader in hits with over 4000. Furthermore, he’s got three World Series rings to his name, one MVP award, three batting titles and four Gold Gloves. Finally, he’s a 17-time All-Star in an unequaled five positions. But it looks like he won’t ever be in the Hall 0f Fame.
However, when he was coaching the Cincinnati Reds allegations of betting emerged. The scandal erupted when he admitted to betting on his own team. This led to MLB banning him for life. In sum, Rose’s ban renders him ineligible from Hall of Fame consideration.
Baseball has had a problem with drugs and doping for quite a while. We’ve seen so many scandals through the years. But things took a new turn in 2013 with the Biogenesis scandal. A now-defunct anti-aging clinic in Florida came under investigation when a disgruntled employee revealed that current MLB stars received PEDS and HGH from them.
First of all, Ryan Braun fell as the league handed him a 65-game suspension. 12 other players received 50-game suspensions. Alex Rodriguez faced a 211 game ban for his attempts to cover up his involvement. He missed the entire 2014 season. Will baseball ever learn?
This infamous report was the culmination of a shocking investigation into MLB drugs. Released in 2007, it exposed 89 players for PED use. The Steroid Era tarnished the reputation of the sport because it even implicated big stars like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Barry Bonds, and Miguel Tejada.
To date, none of these players have gotten near the Hall of Fame. But it did massive damage to baseball and pushed it down the pecking order of American sports. Its legacy has resulted in more random testing and stricter punishments. Former US President and Texas Rangers part-owner George W. Bush denied knowledge of the mass cheating.
The latest major scandal in MLB is the Astros sign stealing. For years, rival teams suspected the Houston franchise of shady activity. In 2019, a former player revealed the truth to journalists. Mike Fiers said the organization used a video camera in the center field to film opposing catchers’ signs to the pitchers.
MLB investigated and confirmed that the Astros illegally used a camera to steal signs during their 2017 World Series-winning season and in 2018. Then they fined the Astros the maximum $5 million and forfeited their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
First of all, game-fixing is a problem in all sports, not just baseball. It can be worth thousands of dollars to people with bad intentions. A massive controversy embroiled the Chicago White Sox after they lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. In short, eight players took money from a gambling syndicate to throw the game.
The fallout saw Judge Kenesaw Landis appointed as MLB Commissioner to clean up the game. Landis banned them for life even though a public court acquitted them. ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson is the most famous of the names. But don’t expect to see him in the Hall of Fame anytime soon. To sum up, the scandal gave them the ‘Black Sox’ nickname.
At the end of the 1985 season, franchise owners came to a secret agreement. In short, to keep salaries and contract length down, they avoided competing with each other for free agents. Only four free agents out of 35 changed uniforms in the offseason. Then things got even worse the following year.
Andre Dawson only escaped Montreal by agreeing to any terms the Cubs offered. However, that turned out to be a third of his value. Jack Morris accepted arbitration because nobody put in a bid for him. In the end, the MLB Players Association filed three grievances. Finally, this played a role in the 1990s’ MLB expansion and the 1994 Players’ Strike.