Lists

25 MLB Scandals That Tarnished Baseball Forever

Darren - February 21, 2020
Lists

25 MLB Scandals That Tarnished Baseball Forever

Darren - February 21, 2020
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

17. Ty Cobb Scandals

One man who couldn’t avoid drama was Cobb. The Detroit Tigers star was as volatile a personality as anybody out there. He’s one of two players in MLB history to accrue over 4000 hits. But just because he is in the Hall of Fame doesn’t mean he was a nice guy.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In short, carnage tends to follow Cobb wherever he went. After an elevator watchman was ‘uppity,’ he slapped him across the face. Then he stabbed a guard who tried to intervene. Cobb also infamously attacked a fan in the crowd at Hilltop Park. To sum up, it’s amazing he made it onto the playing field at all.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

16. Cleveland’s $0.10 Beer Night

Franchises are constantly looking at ways to improve the fan experience. The Indians decided to take it to the next level by offering their fans a 10 cent beer night. We’re not sure who thought that this was a good idea because it wasn’t. What happened next is exactly what you’d expect.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

First of all, a naked man sprinted to second base after the game’s second home run. Then a father and son went onto the field and mooned the crowd. But it boiled over when a fan tried to steal the hat from Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs. The benches emptied before fans stormed the field into a massive brawl.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

15. The Wife Swap

This was one of the weirdest stories on this list. Two Yankees pitchers announced in separate press conferences that they were trading spouses and children. Mike Kekich moved in with the former Marilyn Peterson but their relationship fizzled out before they even went public. However, Fritz Peterson hooked up with Susan Kekich for the long haul.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

They had four children together and remain together today. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wanted to make a movie about their lives, but Keckich resisted it. Obviously, Peterson was more happy to share the details of his life. It definitely confused the public in 1973.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

14. Corked Bats

In the world of professional sports, some people do everything they do everything can to win. If this means totally breaking the rules, then so be it. Of course, this doesn’t always work out well. Just ask Sammy Sosa, whose bat broke during a 2003 game. McClelland, the same umpire from the Pine Tar Game, found cork notched into the barrel.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

The MLB has form when it comes to corked bats. The referee confiscated Albert Belle’s in 1994 and put it in his locker. Another Indians player crawled through a space in the ceiling above and swapped the Indians’ star’s bat for another one. But it turned out the replaced bat had another player’s name on it. The MLB banned him for 10 games.

Mandatory Credit: CBS Sports

13. The MLB Strike

In 1994, the players made the decision to strike in August, bringing the season to an abrupt end. It was a major humiliation for the league and a clear demonstration of player power. In short, there was no postseason or World Series and the action ended for 232 days.

Mandatory Credit: CBS Sports

It was the first work stoppage in the sport for 22 years. The season turned from euphoria to a nightmare for the Montreal Expos who had a six-game lead in their division and were favorites to win it all. But they had to slash their payrolls. To sum up, this didn’t turn out well for the best players on their roster.

Mandatory Credit: CBS Chicago

12. 1908 Bribery Attempt

This is unique on this list because it’s something that didn’t actually happen. But that wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of Joseph Creamer. The Giants’ team doctor tried to bribe the umpire to hand the game to New York. However, the umpire refused to comply with this outrageous demand.

Mandatory Credit: CBS Chicago

The Chicago Cubs went on to be victorious in front of a hostile New York crowd. One fan slashed Jack Pfeister in the arm with a knife, while a bottle cut player-manager Frank Chance. The Cubs went on to win their last World Series for almost a century when they beat the Detroit Tigers.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

11. John Rocker’s Racism

Generally speaking, it doesn’t pay to be a racist. That’s especially true if you’re in the public eye. You’re not exactly going to make people like you. Rocker clearly didn’t get the memo because he never held back. Being a great player didn’t compensate for the fact that he was a terrible human.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Rocker explained that he didn’t want to move to New York because there were too many gay people with AIDs. He has also ranted about the number of foreigners in the country. Furthermore, he called his Curacaoan teammate Randall Simon a ‘fat monkey.’ Needless to say, a lot of franchises lost interest in him.

Mandatory Credit: CMG

10. Chalmers Award Scandal

Cheating isn’t new to baseball. In 1910, one of the pettiest scandals in the sport erupted. Before the start of the season, Hugh Chalmers promised that his auto company would gift a car to the batting champions for the American and National Leagues. Everybody likes free stuff, right?

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, the problem was that not everybody liked Ty Cobb. The Detroit Tigers star had a slim lead in the race for the American League batting title. But then the St. Louis Browns colluded to try and gift the title to the Naps’ Nap Lajoie. Chalmers gave both cars anyway while the league banned the Browns manager from baseball.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. The Pittsburgh Drug Trials

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

8. 1877 Game Throwing

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Cardinals’-Astros’ Hacking Incident

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Pete Rose’s Gambling

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. The Biogenesis Investigation

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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?

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. The Mitchell Report

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.

Barry Bonds
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. The Astros’ Sign Stealing

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: History

2. The Black Sox

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.

Mandatory Credit: History

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.

Mandatory Credit: Sports illustrated

1. The Collusion Scandal

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

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