The Chicago Black Sox and the 30 Biggest Scandals in Baseball History
Photo courtesy britannica.com
Over the history of Major League Baseball, fans have reveled in the great achievements of its players and teams. No professional sport has a history so steeped in its memories, traditions and accomplishments.
However, professional baseball has also been marred by scandals that have shocked its fans.
Many of the scandals involved cheating in some fashion, and not just by its players. Owners, managers and even umpires have been involved in some of the sport's most infamous and shameful incidents as well.
Here is my list of the 30 worst scandals in MLB history, mainly based on the severity of the actions involved and the public outcry that followed.
Honorable Mention: 1877 Louisville Grays Gambling Scandal
Photo courtesy barnesandnoble.com
The National League was only in its second year of operation in 1877 when it was rocked by its first scandal.
The Louisville Grays were comfortably in first place in mid-August with a 27-13 record when it suddenly and inexplicably started losing games in bunches. The Grays would lose 12 of their final 20 games, finishing seven games behind the Boston Red Stockings.
Allegations quickly surfaced that several players for the Grays were purposely throwing games for money. League president William Hulbert demanded that four members of the Grays—pitcher Jim Devlin, left fielder George Hall, utility player Al Nichols and shortstop Bill Craver—immediately agree to give their consent to allow the league to review all Western Union telegrams sent and received by the players.
All but Craver agreed to allow access, and the investigation clearly revealed that the players were indeed being paid by gamblers to throw several games.
Hulbert banned all four players involved for life, and the Grays never played another game, folding after the scandal was revealed.
Reference: David Pietrusza
30. George Steinbrenner Suspended Two Years for Illegal Campaign Contributions
Photo courtesy morningjournal.com
When shipbuilding magnate George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees in 1973, it didn't take very long for him to become embroiled in controversy.
After an investigation led by famed Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski, Steinbrenner pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and making illegal campaign contributions, most notably to the re-election campaign of President Richard Nixon.
Three months after Steinbrenner entered his guilty plea, MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended Steinbrenner from all baseball activities for two years.
Kuhn would later commute the suspension to 15 months, and Steinbrenner was eventually pardoned by President Ronald Reagan in January 1989.
Reference: San Francisco Chronicle
29. Benny Kauff Banned for Life
Photo courtesy wikipedia.org
Throughout his eight-year career in baseball, center fielder Benny Kauff excelled, leading the Federal League in batting for two seasons and then moving on to play for the New York Giants in the late 1910s.
In December 1919, Kauff was charged with operating a car-theft ring along with his brother. Kauff played in 55 games for the Giants in 1920 while he awaited trial, and the Giants traded Kauff to Toronto of the International League.
In May of 1921, Kauff's case was finally heard, and he was eventually acquitted of all charges. However, MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis nonetheless banned Kauff from baseball for life, believing that the acquittal was "one of the worst miscarriages of justice ever to come to my attention."
Reference: Baseball Almanac
28. William D. Cox Becomes First Non-Player Banned by Baseball
MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banished Phillies owner William Cox in 1943. Photo courtesy nytimes.com
In March 1943, Willam D. Cox became the youngest owner in baseball when he purchased the Philadelphia Phillies.
Just nine months later, Cox would never be seen or heard from again.
Cox was considered a meddling owner who got under the skin of manager Bucky Harris, who was subsequently fired by Cox in late July despite the Phillies' improved play over the previous season.
It came to Harris' attention that Cox had been known to make bets on the Phillies, and the MLB commissioner's office was notified.
Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis launched an investigation, and based on his findings, suspended Cox indefinitely on Nov. 23, 1943.
Cox launched an appeal, but at a hearing two weeks later it was revealed that not only had Cox made bets on the Phillies, but that it was also common knowledge to just about everyone in the front office.
Cox's suspension became a lifetime ban in December 1943.
Reference: New York Times
27. Ty Cobb Stabs African-American Night Watchman
Photo courtesy wikipedia.org
There is no question that Ty Cobb was one of the greatest players ever to lace on a pair of cleats, albeit very sharpened cleats.
Cobb was equally noted for many off-field incidents, many of them fueled by his racist ways.
On one particular occasion, Cobb was in an elevator when he slapped the operator for being what he called "uppity." The elevator operator was black.
A night watchman on duty, also black, tried to intervene, and Cobb pulled out a knife and stabbed the night watchman.
Cobb was charged in the incident, but the matter never went to court.
Reference: The New Georgia Encyclopedia
26. George Brett and the Pine Tar Incident
Photo courtesy launiusr.wordpress.com
It was a game that would go down as one of the most controversial in MLB history, and one that is still discussed in many circles today.
On July 24, 1983, the Kansas City Royals were trailing the New York Yankees 4-3 entering the top half of the ninth inning. Yankees reliever Dale Murray quickly got the first outs of the inning before allowing a single to U.L. Washington.
Manager Billy Martin called on closer Goose Gossage to face George Brett. Brett turned on a Gossage fastball, launching a bomb into the right field seats for a two-run home run, giving the Royals a 5-4 lead.
Martin approached home plate umpire Tim McClelland, claiming that there was pine tar on the bat that spanned longer than 18 inches, the maximum amount allowed by rules.
After measuring the pine tar and conferring with other umpires, McClelland agreed, calling Brett out on the play for the final out of the inning, reversing the home run and giving the Yankees a 4-3 victory.
Four days later, however, AL president Lee McPhail upheld the Royals' appeal of the game, ordering the teams to play the bottom half of the ninth inning on Aug. 18. Despite other injunctions by the Yankees, the game was resumed on the 18th, with the Royals holding on for the 5-4 win.
25. Armando Galarraga and the Imperfect Perfect Game
On Wednesday, June 2, 2010, the Detroit Tigers were facing the Cleveland Indians in front of a sparse crowd of 17,738 fans at Comerica Park. Armando Galarraga was on the hill for the Tigers and was effective from the start.
As the game progressed and Galarraga kept mowing down Indians hitters, it was clear that something special was happening. Galarraga had not allowed a baserunner all night long.
By the time the ninth inning approached, Galarraga had set down 24 Indians in a row, and the air at Comerica Park was electric. In the top of the ninth, Galarraga got Mark Grudzielanek on a flyout to deep left center field, and an audible sigh could be heard throughout the stadium. Galarraga then retired Mike Redmond on a grounder to short, and the entire stadium was now up on their feet, anticipating history about to unfold.
Indians shortstop Jason Donald stepped to the plate, and with a 1-1 count, Donald took a Galarraga pitch and hit a weak grounder to first. First baseman Miguel Cabrera, ranging to his right, backhanded the ball and flipped it to Galarraga covering the bag for the final out.
But wait! Jim Joyce, the first base umpire, called Donald safe on the play. A perfect game no more. Replays clearly showed that Donald was out by at least a half-step. All Galarraga could do was smile.
Joyce would later admit that he blew the call, however commissioner Bud Selig would not reverse the decision, and Galarraga will forever be known for throwing the "imperfect perfect game."
24. Roger Maris' Home Run Record and Asterisk Controversy
In October 1961, New York Yankees right fielder Roger Maris would hit one of the most famous home runs in MLB history.
What followed was one of the most famous asterisks in history.
Maris broke the long-standing single-season record held by Babe Ruth, who swatted 60 for the Yankees in 1927.
However, Ruth did it in 154 games. In 1961, due to expansion, the MLB regular-season schedule had been extended to 162 games. Maris broke Ruth's record in his 162nd game, leading many to dispute the validity of the record itself.
It was believed that then-MLB commissioner Ford Frick would attach an asterisk next to Maris' name in the record books if he did not break Ruth's record in 154 games. The asterisk was not attached, but the actual stigma of the asterisk itself was readily apparent and dogged Maris for many years.
23. Albert Belle and His Corked Bat
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
On July 15, 1994, the Cleveland Indians were at Comiskey Park to take on the Chicago White Sox.
With the teams locked in a tight race at the top of AL Central standings, White Sox manager Gene Lamont, acting on a tip, asked the home plate umpire to check the bat of Indians slugger Albert Belle, believing it to be corked.
Upon an initial examination, umpires were unable to find anything amiss, but pursuant to MLB rules, they confiscated the bat and had it stored in their their office at Comiskey Park. The bat would then be sent to MLB offices in New York for further testing.
During the game, someone from the Indians crawled into the umpire's office through the ceiling tiles, switching the bat with a bat from the collection of first baseman Paul Sorrento.
The umpires, upon returning to their office after the game, quickly discovered that the bat was not the one originally confiscated, noting pieces of broken ceiling tile on the floor as well. They immediately ordered the Indians to give the bat back.
The bat was found by MLB to have contained cork and suspended Belle for 10 games. That suspension was later appealed and dropped to just seven games.
Years later, it was revealed that pitcher Jason Grimsley was the one who had stealthily climbed through the ceiling to retrieve Belle's bat.
Ironically, Grimsley would be suspended himself for 50 games in 2006 for violating MLB's drug policy and would later appear in the Mitchell Report as well.
Reference: The Orioles Warehouse
22. Frank McCourt and the Mishandling of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Their Money
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The stewardship of the Los Angeles Dodgers by owner Frank McCourt mercifully came to an end this season with the transfer of ownership to Guggenheim Baseball Management, headed by Mark Walter, Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten.
However, this was not before the steamy and sordid details of McCourt's spending habits were played out in public.
Major League Baseball took over stewardship of the Dodgers early last season amid allegations that McCourt had funneled roughly $190 million from Dodgers' accounts into his own, presumably to help fund his lavish lifestyle which included eight homes.
The announcement of his pending divorce from wife Jamie further fueled accusations, and McCourt and MLB commissioner Bud Selig engaged in a nasty public battle.
The entire incident was a major black eye for one of the most storied franchises in professional sports history.
Reference: Radar Online
21. Rafael Palmeiro and His 10-Game Suspension After Vehement Denial
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Rafael Palmeiro had a phenomenal 20-year career during which he hit 569 home runs and collected over 3,000 hits, only one of four players to total over 500 homers and 3,000 hits (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray).
However, Palmeiro’s career took a stunning turn in 2005. After being named by Jose Canseco as one of the individuals who Canseco identified as a steroid user in his book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, Palmeiro appeared before Congress in March 2005 and uttered the now famous words, "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never."
Just five months later, Palmeiro tested positive for the steroid stanozolol and was suspended for 10 days.
Palmeiro was later named by former player Jason Grimsley as a player who used amphetamines before baseball banned them.
On a better note, however, Palmeiro was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame.
No, not that Hall of Fame. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
20. 10-Cent Beer Night Gone Awry
Photo courtesy homage.com
This was taken from an article I published last year.
On June 4, 1974, the Cleveland Indians decided it would be a good idea to do a “10-Cent Beer Night” at Municipal Stadium. What they got was a horrifying scene instead.
In what should come as no surprise to anyone, the crowd became quickly inebriated, several fans strolled out onto the field either naked or mooning fans and, finally, in the ninth inning, a complete brouhaha took place, with umpire chief Nestor Chylak forfeiting the game to the Rangers after the crowd wouldn’t leave the field in a timely fashion.
Certainly not a shining moment for the Cleveland Indians or for baseball.
19. Did the 1914 Philadelphia A's Conspire to Throw the World Series?
Photo courtesy wikipedia.org
In 1914, the Boston Braves went from worst to first in the National League, shocking the baseball world by winning the pennant and forever becoming the "Miracle Braves."
However, it was a completely different story for the Philadelphia Athletics, who dominated play in the American League on their way to a 99-53 record.
The A's, featuring Chief Bender, Eddie Collins and Frank "Home Run" Baker, were the heavy favorites headed into the 1914 World Series. But the Braves continued their hot play, sweeping the A's in four straight to capture their first-ever championship.
While it was never proven, there were allegations that the A's had tried to throw the World Series to spite manager and team owner Connie Mack, who was known as being miserly.
Despite the fact that no evidence was found against any of his players, Mack nonetheless proceeded to sell off most of his best players, and the A's were at or near the bottom of the American League standings for the next 15 years.
18. Team Doctor Attempts to Throw Game
NY Giants manager John McGraw. Photo courtesy baseball-reference.com
So far, we've seen owners, players and managers involved in various schemes and scandals.
Here is one about a team physician that I wrote about in August 2011.
On September 23, 1908, the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs were involved in a game that concluded with the famous “Merkle’s Boner,” in which Giants player Fred Merkle committed a major baserunning error that caused the game to be declared a tie, with a makeup game to be played at the end of the season, if necessary.
As it turned out, a makeup game was necessary, as the Giants and Cubs were tied atop the standings, and an October 8 game was scheduled to determine the winner of the National League pennant.
On the night before the game, Joseph Creamer, the New York Giants’ team physician, offered a bribe of $2,500 to umpire Bill Kelm to throw the game and guarantee victory for the Giants. Klem refused, and the Cubs ended up beating the Giants for the pennant. Creamer was banned from baseball for life.
There are those who believe that Giants manager John McGraw was behind the bribery offer, and that Creamer was used as the scapegoat to protect McGraw’s reputation.
Reference: Baseball Reference
17. George Steinbrenner and Dave Winfield
Photo courtesy nydailynews.com
We already brought up George Steinbrenner once, but did you honestly think we wouldn't be discussing him again?
Here is what I wrote about The Boss last year in his dealing with slugger Dave Winfield and his subsequent banishment from baseball.
In late 1980, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who had already developed a reputation for spending lavish amounts of money on free agents, signed Dave Winfield to a 10-year, $23 million contract.
In 1985, Steinbrenner referred to Winfield as “Mr. May,” in an interview with New York Times reporter Murray Chass after a late September series against the Toronto Blue Jays, saying, “Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Winfield is Mr. May. My big guys are not coming through. The guys who are supposed to carry the team are not carrying the team. They aren't producing. If I don't get big performances out of Winfield, (Ken) Griffey and (Don) Baylor, we can't win.”
In July 1990, after Winfield had sued the Yankees for not making a $300,000 contribution to his charitable foundation as stipulated in his contract, Steinbrenner hired Howie Spira, a known gambler, and paid him $50,000 to dig up whatever “dirt” he could find about Winfield.
Word of this got back to MLB commissioner Fay Vincent, who suspended Steinbrenner from baseball for a period of two years.
It just goes to show, sometimes one never learns.
16. 1957 All-Star Game Voting Irregularities
An example of the ballot printed every day in local Cincinnati papers in 1957. Photo courtesy redszone.com
In a piece written just last month, I discussed the events of the 1957 All-Star Game.
The 1957 MLB All-Star Game was made memorable for one very distinct and controversial event: ballot-box stuffing.
The National League starting lineup consisted of St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial—and seven members of the Cincinnati Reds.
Fans selected Johnny Temple (2B), Roy McMillan (SS), Don Hoak (3B), Ed Bailey (C), Frank Robinson (LF), Gus Bell (CF) and Wally Post (RF) to start.
There was an immediate outcry. An MLB investigation thereafter showed that well over half of the NL ballots cast came from the Cincinnati area.
MLB commissioner Ford Frick replaced Bell and Post in the starting lineup with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, and for the next 11 seasons, fan balloting for All-Star starters was eliminated.
While there are many who debate the merits of fans voting for All-Star game starters still today, nothing ranked up there quite as significantly as the events of 1957.
15. Angel Villalona Accused of Murder
Photo courtesy mlb.com
There was a time just a few years ago when infielder Angel Villalona was considered a top prospect for the San Francisco Giants.
Then, he became known as the top suspect in a murder investigation.
Villalona was accused of murdering Mario Felix de Jesus Velete in the southern city of La Romana in the Dominican Republic.
Villalona turned himself in 12 hours after the shooting. While he was released on bond, Villalona's budding baseball career was put on hold while he sought to prove his innocence.
Charges were finally dropped in 2011, and Villalona resumed his career in the Giants organization this year.
14. Reliever Ugueth Urbina Viciously Attacks Field Workers with Machete
Photo courtesy emptythebench.com
It's not often that you hear of professional baseball players committing heinous acts of violence. But one incident in 2005 rocked the baseball world. I wrote about reliever Ugueth Urbina in an article published last year.
In November 2005, former reliever Ugueth Urbina's world in baseball came to a crashing halt when he was accused of attempted murder for attacking five people at his farm in Venezuela.
The attack occurred after Urbina suspected the workers of stealing a gun. In horrifying fashion, Urbina attacked them with a machete and tried to pour gasoline on them for the purposes of lighting them on fire.
A jury convicted Urbina in 2007 and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.
Urbina's son, Ugueth Urtain Urbina, was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a non-drafted free agent in December, 2011.
13. 1910 American League Batting Champion Controversy
Cobb and Lajoie. Photo courtesy williams.edu
The American League batting championship took on a decidedly different tone in 1910 when an exclusive automobile manufacturing company made the decision to get involved.
The Chalmers Automobile Company announced that the winner of the batting title in the AL that year would win a brand new Chalmers 30 automobile.
Considering the relatively low wages made by players at that time, it was a gigantic prize.
At the end of the season, Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers was hitting just above .385 with just two games to play, electing to sit out the final two games in order to protect his average and his slim lead over Napolean Lajoie of the Cleveland Indians.
Lajoie played his final two games against the St. Louis Browns, who elected to "help" Lajoie along by a series of strange infield shifts, including playing the third baseman in the outfield grass.
As a result, Lajoie collected eight hits on that final day, but results showed that Cobb had beaten Lajoie, .384944 to .384084.
The resulting controversy surrounding the Browns' obvious attempt to let Lajoie hit safely resulted in AL president Ban Johnson banning Browns manager Jack O'Connor from baseball.
Chalmers eventually gave cars to both Cobb and Lajoie.
Reference: How Cobb Played the Game
12. Barry Bonds, BALCO and His Balls
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
When Barry Bonds retired following the 2007 season, he was the all-time leader in home runs and the holder of the single-season home run record as well. But how he got there remains steeped in controversy.
It was bad enough that Bonds had been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, thereby calling into question the records he set.
But we also had to hear about certain parts of his anatomy that we really didn't need to know about.
Here is what I wrote about Bonds and BALCO back in September 2011.
Earlier this year, the world got to read and hear about the trial involving Barry Bonds, and charges that he obstructed justice and perjured himself in front of a grand jury who was investigating the BALCO steroids case.
However, in absolutely horrifying fashion, the world listened as Barry Bonds’ former mistress, Kimberly Bell, described in graphic and horrifying detail how Bonds’ balls…er, testicles, had drastically changed in size and shape.
Some of the horrifying details Bell discussed were:
She noticed changes in Bonds' testicles, specifically in their size and shape. She said Bonds had trouble maintaining an erection, adding that had not happened prior. She also said he had back acne, became physically bigger and started to lose his hair.
I could have gone my whole life without EVER needing to hear that, thanks.
11. Hall of Fame Says No to Suspected PED Users
Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire aren't even close to getting in the Hall of Fame, despite setting records and reaching landmark achievements.
Soon, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez and several others will find out that the doors to Cooperstown may be closed to them as well.
All of them have been suspected, and some even admitted, to have used performance-enhancing drugs during their careers, and considering how the voters for the Hall of Fame have kept the doors closed tight for Palmeiro and McGwire, their stance on others waiting to get in will likely be the same.
10. Marge Schott Shows Support for Hitler
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
On December 21, 1984, Marge Schott, who was a minority shareholder of the Cincinnati Reds, purchased the controlling interest of the Reds, becoming their CEO and president in 1985. Schott became the second woman in MLB history to have controlling interest in a team without inheriting it.
Schott quickly became a very outspoken owner, but in the early 1990s, Schott was outspoken in not such a nice way.
In 1992, Schott used the "N" word in describing two former players, Eric Davis and Dave Parker, and later in the year, Schott issued a statement that essentially supported Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, and wondered why the use of the word "Jap" was offensive.
After an investigation by MLB, Schott was suspended from day-to-day operations for the Reds for the year in 1993.
Her problems didn't end there, however. On May 5, 1996, Schott again voiced her support of Hitler, saying that he "was good in the beginning, but went too far."
Following those comments, Schott was again suspended from baseball, this time lasting through the 1998 season.
Schott sold her controlling interest in the Reds in 1999 after learning that she had lost the support of the board and would be ousted.
9. The Pittsburgh Drug Trials
Photo courtesy books.google.com
A group of players for the Pittsburgh Pirates put themselves in the middle of a major scandal in the 1980s for their enjoyment of an illicit drug that portended what was to come years later.
Here was my take on the Pittsburgh drug trials in an article I wrote in August 2011.
In the early 1980s, the Pittsburgh Pirates were a gritty bunch of ballplayers who supplied a fair amount of entertainment for their fans. However, much more was going on behind the scenes than anyone had ever suspected.
In 1985, a shocking cocaine scandal was revealed, involving several current Pirates—Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, Lee Mazzilli, John Milner, Dave Parker, and Rod Scurry. All of the players were granted immunity in exchange for testimony given to a grand jury which led to the Pittsburgh drug trials in September 1985.
Other non-Pirates were also implicated, and provided testimony as well. Willie Mays Aikens, Vida Blue, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Tim Raines and Lonnie Smith were all called to give testimony in front of the grand jury as well.
Baseball had a golden opportunity to seriously revise drug testing at the time, but neglected to do so.
8. Jose Canseco Outs Players in PED Scandal
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
In 2005, former slugger Jose Canseco, who had hit 462 home runs during his major league career and had been involved in several off-field incidents, released the book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.
In the book, Canseco claimed that former teammates Mark McGwire, Juan González, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Giambi all used steroids during their careers, and that he was the one primarily responsible for introducing steroids to baseball.
The resulting frenzy that took place after the book was published didn't just lead to Canseco being blackballed by players and teams alike, but also gave a look into exactly how prevalent PED use appeared to be.
7. Cap Anson Refuses to Play on Same Field with African-Americans
Photo courtesy kids.britannica.com
Cap Anson was one of the greatest players in the early years, but his actions led to a color barrier that would not be broken for many decades.
In August 1883, Anson refused to step onto the field and play against the Toledo Blue Stockings because they had a black man, Moses Walker, playing catcher for them.
Anson backed off when the Blue Stockings manager told Anson that his team, the Chicago White Stockings, would lose all of the gate proceeds from the game.
However, the following year, Anson again refused to play Toledo when Walker and his brother were on the team.
It would be another 63 years before the color barrier was finally broken.
6. Babe Ruth Sold to New York Yankees
Photo courtesy mitchellarchives.com
In 1919, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee made a transaction that forever tarnished his name and saddled the Red Sox with a supposed curse that would not be lifted until 2004.
In late December of that year, Frazee sold Red Sox star pitcher Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000 plus a $300,000 loan for the mortgage on Fenway Park. While many reports at the time pointed to Frazee using the money to finance his play No, No, Nanette, those reports have since been disputed and debunked.
Whatever the reason, Frazee’s transaction turned him into an instant pariah and sparked the Curse of the Bambino, which was finally put to rest with the Red Sox World Series victory in 2004.
5. All-Time Hits Leader Pete Rose Banned for Life
Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE
Pete Rose is still waiting for reinstatement into baseball by commissioner Bud Selig, who has given no indication he's ready to even think about it.
Here is what I wrote about Rose and his lifetime ban back in August 2011.
When Pete Rose finally broke Ty Cobb's long-standing record for most hits in a career in Sept. 1985, he was considered to be a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. However, something else got in the way.
In early February 1989, MLB starting investigating gambling allegations levied against Rose, and specifically that he had bet on baseball. Following a meeting with MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth and NL president Bart Giamatti, Giamatti, who had taken over as MLB commissioner, launched an investigation by hiring attorney John Dowd to conduct an more intense background check of Rose's possible gambling dalliances.
Dowd started his investigation which lasted three months. Sports Illustrated also ran a cover story detailing Rose's gambling.
After months of speculation, allegations and investigations, Giamatti and Rose came to an agreement whereby Rose voluntarily agreed to accept a lifetime ban, also admitting at the time that the evidence presented against him was in fact enough to agree to the ban.
However, Rose continued to vehemently deny that he had bet on baseball for the next 15 years. Finally, in 2004, Rose admitted in his book My Prison Without Bars that he had indeed bet on baseball games, including games involving his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.
Rose is still awaiting reinstatement.
4. Baseball Goes on Strike and Cancels World Series
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
On Aug. 12, 1994, after MLB owners and players were unable to resolve differences that had been brewing for years, a work stoppage ensued.
Mediators tried to get the two sides talking with an aim to end the strike as quickly as possible, however no progress was made whatsoever, and MLB acting commissioner Bud Selig was forced to cancel the rest of the season, including the World Series, on Sept. 14.
The strike lasted 232 days and officially ended on Apr. 2, 1995, with play to be resumed on Apr. 25.
The strike had a lasting effect on fans, who were absolutely outraged over the greed and petty acts of behavior displayed by both sides during the strike. As a result, attendance dropped over 20 percent from 1994 to 1995, and television ratings were significantly affected as well.
3. Owners Scheme to Create Collusion
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
In the 1980s, under the terms of the Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement, collusion is defined as "Players shall not act in concert with other Players and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs."
Unfortunately for the owners, that is exactly what they were accused of in September 1987.
Following the 1985 season, of 35 free agents available, only four were signed by other teams. In 1986, the same number of players switched teams during the offseason. And, for the first time since free agency started, the average major league salary dropped.
The MLB Player’s Association filed a grievance against the owners, and in September 1987, independent arbitrator Thomas Roberts ruled in favor of the players, citing the owners had schemed together to create collusion.
2. The Release of the Mitchell Report
Mario Tama/Getty Images
On March 30, 2006, MLB commissioner Bud Selig appointed former Senator George Mitchell to lead an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.
The investigation was spurred by several incidents, including the release of the book Game of Shadows by San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, and negative remarks by members of Congress regarding the ineffectiveness of MLB drug policies.
After a 21-month investigation, the Mitchell Report was released, which cited 89 different players as alleged to have used PEDs or steroids.
The report also gave recommendations as to setting strict enforcement policies and guidelines for MLB going forward, many of which were agreed upon and implemented.
1. The Chicago Black Sox
Photo courtesy 90feetofperfection.com
For me personally, this scandal will always rank as among the darkest days in the annals of Major League Baseball.
Eight former players accused of conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series. The shocking events of the day spawned the famous movie, Eight Men Out, as well as countless other books, TV specials and cable documentaries.
The great Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven others were tried and acquitted of all charges in 1921, however MLB commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who had just been elected as commissioner the year before, decided to permanently ban all eight players regardless of the outcome of the trial.
The day after the players were acquitted, Landis levied the lifetime ban and issued this statement:
Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.