Where the stakes are high in sports (or in any social arena), scandals are likely. While we can associate scandals primarily with large corporations and perhaps high-income celebrities, athletes have been caught up in many unpleasant situations of which they are due. Since its founding in 1869, Major League Baseball has witnessed numerous scandals involving its players, its coaches, its owners, and all manner of inappropriate and unprofessional behavior.
Some of the MLB scandals are well known, such as the 1919 World Series, Pete Rose’s ban from baseball for life, and the more recent steroid allegations against some big-name players. Others are less well known but no less shocking.
Here are ten of the biggest scandals in MLB history.
1. The Black Sox scandal of 1919
Forever immortalized in the 1988 film Eight men out, is the story of how eight unscrupulous 1919 White Sox players intentionally pitched the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. It was all about the money: The eight players who were in the solution were well paid by the punters who had bet big money on the Sox losing the series. Of course, everything was discovered very soon; a 1920 grand jury investigation produced confessions from two players, and a trial was held in 1921. Although all eight players were found not guilty of all charges, the commissioner prohibited them from participating in baseball. Although it is said that Joe Jackson did not launch the series at all.
2. The 1957 All-Star Game
You hear about voters trying to fill the polls in shady elections, but at MLB All Star Games? It sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what happened in 1957, when Cincinnati fans voted seven of their players for the starting nine spots on the National League team. They pointed fingers at The Cincinnati Enquirer to print pre-marked tickets, as well as waiters who required customers to fill out tickets before serving drinks. It caused such a stir in baseball that fans were unable to vote for All-Star Game starters again until 1970.
3. Wife swapping
Players wearing Yankees pinstripes quickly get used to media attention, but in 1973, Yankees players Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich made headlines for a rather unconventional reason: They swapped wives. What’s more, they also exchanged families! We have heard of very successful exchanges, but this is a real head scratcher. At the time, it was certainly scandalous. The best part of the story, though, is that Peterson is still married to Kekich’s ex-wife, proving that even the most unconventional love stories sometimes have a happy ending.
4. Corked bats
Emptying a baseball bat and replacing the wood with cork is, of course, 100% against MLB rules, but that hasn’t stopped some high-profile players from trying to get away with it anyway. The Yankees’ Graig Nettles was first caught plugging a bat in 1974, and more recently, slugger Sammy Sosa was caught in 2003. Sometimes players make excuses, like it was just a practice bat, while other players don’t. They offer none, but from a fanatic. From this point of view, it always feels very deceptive when a player tries to give himself an advantage by manipulating his team in this way.
5. The owner collusion of the 1980s
Several silent conspiracies between owners in the 1980s made player contracts short and wages low. However, it didn’t take long for the agents, and then the players, to realize what was happening, and the Major League Baseball Players Association filed complaints in 1986 and 1989. The players saw it as a robbery and, of course, fact, like the collusion scandal. of the 80s were singled out as one of the causes of the 1994 players’ strike.
6. Sticky situations with pine tar
A little bit of pine tar on a baseball bat helps the batter get a better grip on the bat and hit the ball further. Players can use some pine tar, up to 18 inches from the end of the handle, but anything else is prohibited. Perhaps the most famous pine tar incident was a 1983 game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees. KC slugger George Brett hit a home run, but Yank’s manager Billy Martin pointed out the amount …