The 50 Most Unforgivable Acts in MLB History
Baseball is a great sport filled with many outstanding moments. Unfortunately, with all of the good moments that have occurred in MLB history, there have also been many dark moments.
Unforgivable acts have been committed not only by players and coaches, but also fans, ownership and the league. Baseball has seen its fair share of brawls, racism and drug use over the years.
These have led to some of the worst incidents in baseball history. However, there are other issues that have arisen as well and have left a mark on MLB.
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50) Chicago White Sox Wear Shorts During a Game
Former White Sox owner Bill Veeck was known for having many promotions at games. In 1976, he decided to have the White Sox wear shorts as a part of their uniform.
The shorts were only worn for one game that season, the first game of a doubleheader against the Royals on Aug. 8th. White Sox players looked like they were players from an amateur softball team.
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49) Lee Elia's Tirade About Wrigley Field Fans
After a loss that lowered the Cubs' record to 5-14 in the 1983 season, Cubs manager Lee Elia had some words for the fans that had been at Wrigley Field. He was angered by the fact that the fans had been booing the Cubs players.
Elia unleashed a profanity-laced tirade that cannot be printed here. He cursed out the Cubs fans and called them out, saying that none of them work since they were able to attend a day game.
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48) Pete Rose Bets on Baseball
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The Pete Rose case is one that leads to many different opinions from people. Rose denied betting on baseball, but he was eventually banned from MLB. Years later, Rose admitted that he bet on the Reds to win when he was managing the team.
He has tried to be reinstated by MLB four times, and each one of his efforts has been denied. There has been growing support from fans for the game's all-time hit leader.
Many fans believe that he deserves a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but for now, MLB disagrees.
47) Dave Kingman Sends a Rat to a Female Reporter
When he was a member of the Oakland Athletics, Kingman sent a pink box to Susan Fornoff of the Sacramento Bee during the first inning of a game. Inside the box was a live rat that had a tag that said, "My name is Sue."
The A's responded by levying a $3,500 fine on Kingman and letting him know he would be released if any similar incidents occurred.
Kingman did not apologize and noted that it was just a practical joke, and he had played ones which were much worse in the past.
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46) Ball Goes Through Buckner's Legs
The Curse of the Bambino is incredibly well known in baseball circles. 1986 presented the Red Sox with a chance to finally break the curse.
Down by two runs in the 10th inning and with just one out left, it looks like the Mets would lose to the Red Sox. The Mets cut the deficit in half, and then Mookie Wilson stepped to the plate. With just one out left, it looked like the Red Sox would finally be world champions
First, a wild pitch tied up the game. Then Wilson hit a grounder to first, and the ball went through Bill Buckner's legs.
The Mets won the game and the World Series, and the Curse of the Bambino lived on. Buckner became a scapegoat for Red Sox fans.
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45) Merkle's Boner
The New York Giants were in the middle of a tie game against the Chicago Cubs in 1908 that would help decide who won the pennant. In the bottom of the ninth, Al Bridwell hit an RBI single that appeared to be the game-winning hit.
However, Fred Merkle, who had been on first base, had failed to reach second base. He saw the celebration and turned around to join in. The ball was eventually thrown to second base at some point during the celebration.
The umpires had a conference and called Merkle out. The game was then called a 1-1 tie because of darkness.
The game was later replayed, and the Cubs won 4-2. Merkle's mistake had cost the Giants the pennant.
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44) Chan Ho Park Drop-Kicks Tim Belcher
In a 1999 game against the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park gave up a grand slam and was clearly frustrated.
Later in the game, Park stepped up to the plate and bunted a ball down the first base line. Angels pitcher Tim Belcher picked it up and tagged Park hard in the chest. Park began to walk back to the dugout but then turned around. He then delivered a drop kick to Belcher's chest.
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43) American League Introduces the Designated Hitter
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In 1973, the game of baseball changed. The American League decided to introduce the designated hitter rule. The strategy in American League baseball suddenly became different from that in the National League.
Several players have made their careers by playing DH. Edgar Martinez is one of the most famous players to do this, as is David Ortiz.
42) Billy Goat Kicked Out of Wrigley Field by Philip Wrigley
The Curse of the Billy Goat is blamed for keeping the Cubs out of the World Series since 1945. Billy Sianis had bought two tickets to the 1945 World Series, one for himself and another for his pet billy goat. They were allowed to enter the stadium and sat in their seats.
After a few innings, Sianis and his goat were ejected from the game because of the goat's objectionable smell. Sianis was so angered by this that he cursed the the team.
Cubs fans have tried to reverse the curse for years but have never succeeded.
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41) Braves-Padres Brawl
The game began with Braves pitcher Pascual Perez hitting Padres leadoff man Alan Wiggins. Words were exchanged, but nothing happened.
When Perez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second, Ed Whitson threw a high fastball near his head.
Perez started jawing and waving his bat around. Padres catcher Terry Kennedy started to yap at Perez, and then Perez began to motion more with the bat. The benches cleared. Things began to escalate from there.
The Padres tried to hit Perez three more times, each one inciting another brawl. He was finally hit in the ninth inning, and another fight broke loose.
The final tally: 13 players and both managers ejected, 11 players and both managers fined, four players and both managers suspended and five fans arrested.
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40) Chuck Knoblauch Arguing a Call Instead of Chasing the Ball
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During Game 2 of the 1998 ALCS, Travis Fryman bunted to move Enrique Wilson over from first base. Tino Martinez fielded the ball and threw it to Chuck Knoblauch, who was covering first base. The ball hit Fryman.
Instead of chasing after the ball, Knoblauch chose to argue the call with the umpire. Wilson continued to run around the bases and scored on the play. He was the go-ahead run, and the Indians would go on to win the game.
39) Roger Clemens Throws Bat at Mike Piazza
After Clemens had drilled Piazza in the head with a pitch during interleague play, there was a lot of tension when they two faced off again in the World Series. Piazza hit a foul ball, and his bat broke, with part of it heading towards Clemens.
Clemens then threw the bat shard at Piazza. He would later say that he believed it was the ball. As to why he would be throwing the ball at Piazza and not first base, no one knows. The benches eventually cleared, but there was not a fight.
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38) Roberto Alomar Spits on Umpire
As a member of the Baltimore Orioles, Roberto Alomar got into a heated argument with umpire John Hirschbeck about a called third strike. Alomar then spit in Hirschbeck's face.
Alomar said that Hirschbeck used a racial slur and that he was bitter because of things that had happened in his personal life. When Hirschbeck heard what Alomar had said about his personal life, he had to be restrained from confronting him the next day.
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37) Roger Clemens Perjury
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Roger Clemens was one of the players that testified in front of Congress about steroids. He said that he had never used them. However, there is much evidence to the contrary.
Clemens has now been brought to court for perjury charges. The case has hit a snag, but it appears that it will be messy. Former teammate and best friend Andy Pettitte is supposed to testify against him.
36) Rafael Palmeiro Wagging His Finger and Lying to Congress
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Palmeiro testified in front of Congress about steroid usage in baseball. He stated, "I have never used steroids. Period," and his testimony was so compelling that he was asked to join a task force on the issue.
Then the following season, Palmeiro failed a steroid test and was suspended for 10 games. He claimed that he had not taken any steroids but that the positive test was the result of a tainted vitamin shot.
35) Barry Bonds Steroid Saga
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Bonds is undoubtedly the biggest name that has been tied to steroids. His single-season and career home run records have constantly been called into question.
He used "The Cream" and "The Clear" but defended himself by saying that he thought it was just flaxseed oil.
In the book Game of Shadows, it is alleged that Bonds knowingly used other steroids such as stanozolol. He is involved in a perjury case that is still ongoing.
34) Steve Bartman Incident
With a 3-2 series lead in the 2003 NLCS, the Cubs were up by three runs in the top of the eighth inning. They were just five outs away from breaking the Billy Goat Curse and making the World Series.
Luis Castillo hit a pop-up to the outfield, and as it drifted towards the stands, fan Steve Bartman reached for it, preventing Moises Alou from making the catch.
The Cubs then went on to give up eight runs and lose the game. They lost Game 7 the following day. Bartman received death threats because he had done what many fans would do and tried to get himself a souvenir.
Cubs fans still blame Bartman for the loss. The Bartman ball was eventually destroyed, and the seat in which Bartman was sitting has become a tourist attraction.
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33) Pittsburgh Drug Trials
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Now, the major drug problem in baseball is steroids. In the 1980s, it was cocaine. The issue came to a head at the Pittsburgh Drug Trials.
Many major league players such as Lee Mazzilli, Dave Parker, Vida Blue, Keith Hernandez and Tim Raines were called to testify. Some of them admitted to using cocaine.
Eleven players received suspensions as a result of the trials. Even the Pirates mascot, Pirate Parrot, had been involved in some of the drug deals that were going on.
32) Montreal Expos Move to Washington, D.C.
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Washington, D.C. has done a good job of supporting the Nationals, but it was a painful moment when Montreal lost its MLB team. There was talk that the Expos would be contracted, but instead they moved to the U.S. capital.
The Expos did have trouble drawing fans to their games, but those that did show up were incredibly passionate. They loved baseball, and they loved their team.
31) Pilots Leave Seattle After One Season
Pilots fans likely consider Expos fans lucky that they got to watch their team for 35 seasons. The Pilots only played one season in Seattle in 1969 before they were moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers.
The team struggled and won just 64 games during its existence. However, baseball returned to Seattle in 1977 with the Seattle Mariners. It is a shame, though, that the Pilots were only able to last in Seattle for one season.
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30) John Rocker Speaks His Mind and Calls Out New York City
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Prior to 2000, the only reason that John Rocker was not very well liked in New York because of the simple fact that he played for the Mets' biggest rival, the Atlanta Braves. Then Rocker gave an interview with Sports Illustrated.
With just a few quotes, Rocker managed to come off as racist, homophobic and sexist. He also called Mets fans degenerates. He was suspended for 14 games as a result of his comments.
The next time Rocker came to New York, the Mets had over 700 police officers at the game.
29) Marge Schott Makes Racist Slurs and Supports Hitler
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Marge Schott was one of the few women who had owned a professional baseball team. The former Reds owner was known for her controversial behavior.
While owner of the Reds, Schott had made slurs towards African-Americans, Jews and the Japanese. Schott was also banned from managing the team from 1996 to 1998 because she publicly made comments that were favorable toward Adolf Hitler.
28) Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants Move to California
The Dodgers and Giants had been two of the more successful teams in MLB history, yet they were moved from their New York locations to California following the 1957 season. Both teams had wanted new stadiums, and they were not getting built.
Los Angeles and San Francisco had courted the teams, and they decided to move out west. Fans in New York were devastated. The moves led to a new National League team being created in New York in 1962, the Mets.
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27) George Steinbrenner Hires Howie Spira to Spy on Dave Winfield
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In 1990, George Steinbrenner was suspended by commissioner Fay Vincent for hiring former gambler Howie Spira to spy on Dave Winfield. Steinbrenner had paid Spira $40,000.
This incident had occurred because Winfield's contract stated that Steinbrenner need to make a large annual contribution to Winfield's charity.
He believed that the charity was being run poorly and hired Spira to investigate. Steinbrenner was looking for a way to get out of his obligation.
26) George Moriarty vs. the Chicago White Sox
Normally, it's the players that challenge the umpires. After losing two games of a doubleheader against the Indians in 1932, Chicago White Sox players accused umpire George Moriarty of intentionally making calls against them.
Moriarty, a former White Sox player, challenged the team to a fight. Pitcher Milt Gaston agreed, and Moriarty knocked him down with just one punch. A few more White Sox jumped in and beat Moriarty.
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25) Pete Rose Taking Out Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game
Back in 1970, the All-Star game had no meaning behind it. It was just an exhibition game for the fans' enjoyment. However, "Charlie Hustle" showed the effort that he showed in every game.
With the game tied in the ninth, Pete Rose barreled through catcher Ray Fosse to score the game-winning run. The collision left Fosse with a separated shoulder, which caused him to miss time in the second half of the season.
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24) Pedro Martinez vs. Don Zimmer
In Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, Pedro Martinez hit Karim Garcia with a pitch. This elicited a shouting match between Martinez and the Yankees dugout.
Martinez then pointed to his head, which many players interpreted as him threatening to hit another Yankee.
In the bottom half of that inning, Roger Clemens threw a fastball near Manny Ramirez's head, and the benches cleared. Yankees coach Don Zimmer made a beeline for Martinez. Martinez was able to avoid Zimmer's charge and threw him to the ground.
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23) Commissioner Bowie Kuhn Banning Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays
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Bowie Kuhn made two very controversial decisions when he banned both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from baseball. Both players were banned because they were involved in promotions at casinos.
Neither of the men had gambled, and both were retired when they did the promotion. The move was questioned when it happened. Peter Ueberroth, baseball's next commissioner, reinstated both Mantle and Mays.
22) New York Mutuals and Philadelphia Athletics Expelled from NL
The New York Mutuals and Philadelphia Athletics were two of the more popular clubs in the newly formed National League. However, in 1876, both clubs were struggling to make money.
Each team had an road series late in the season. Instead of making the trip and losing more money, each team decided to play games at home against local competition.
William Hulbert, one of the founders of the National League, expelled both teams from the league, which was a move that shocked baseball.
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21) Ben Chapman's Instructions to His Team About Jackie Robinson
Chapman was opposed to having African-American players in MLB. When the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson came to town to play the Phillies, he instructed his pitchers to hit Robinson if the count was ever 3-0.
Phillies players were also directed by Chapman to verbally abuse Robinson. They were not alone in their actions, as Chapman derided Robinson as well. There was a lot of negative backlash, and Chapman ate crow the next year and posed for a picture with Robinson.
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20) Los Angeles Dodgers Bankruptcy
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The McCourts' divorce has had a major impact on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Owner Frank McCourt is trying his hardest to keep the team.
However, McCourt is currently struggling to make payroll. McCourt initially said that the divorce would not impact the Dodgers' day-to-day operations. That has not proven to be the case, and this is certainly a bad time for a classy organization.
19) Tigers Fans Throw Garbage at Ducky Medwick
During Game 7 of the 1934 World Series, Medwick hit a triple to deep center and slid hard into third base to beat the throw. In the next inning, Tigers fans showed their displeasure with Medwick.
Fans throw garbage and rotten fruit at Medwick. This lasted for over 30 minutes. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis then removed Medwick from the game for his own personal safety.
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18) Juan Marichal Attacks Johnny Roseboro
In a game against the Dodgers, Marichal had brushed back two Dodgers hitters. When he stepped up to the plate, Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax did not want to retaliate.
However, his catcher, Johnny Roseboro did. He threw all of the pitches back to Koufax close to Marichal's face.
Marichal then turned around and hit Roseboro over the head with his bat three times. He opened a two-inch gash on Roseboro's head that required 14 stitches to close. Marichal was suspended for nine games as a result of the incident.
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17) Babe Ruth Hits an Umpire
Ruth had not one but two incidents with MLB umpires. He once threw dirt at an umpire and then ran into the stands to confront a heckler.
However, his first incident with an umpire occurred when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox. After displaying anger about walking the leadoff batter in a game against the Washington Senators, Ruth ran up to the home plate umpire and punched him.
He was suspended for 10 games.
Photo Credit: The Baseball Biography Project
16) Ty Cobb Punches One-Handed Heckler
Ty Cobb was not known for having a good temper. He was fiery on the field and was known to sharpen his spikes to intimidate opposing players.
Cobb was also one of the best players of all time. As a result, opposing fans would constantly heckle him.
One day in 1912, Cobb had had enough of it. He ran into the stands and attacked a heckler.
It should be noted that the heckler had only one hand.
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15) Cap Anson Refuses to Play Against African-Americans
Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first African-American man to play professional baseball when he was a member of the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884.
The Chicago White Sox where scheduled to play against the Blue Stockings in an exhibition game.
Cap Anson of the White Sox, one of the game's best players, refused to play if Walker was on the field. Anson played in the game when he learned that he would lose a day's salary, but he retained his feelings about African-Americans playing baseball.
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14) 2002 Major League All-Star Game
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The 2002 All-Star Game went into extra innings. In the middle of the 11th inning, both teams' managers had realized that they had no pitchers left other than those that were in the game.
They then met with commissioner Bud Selig.
Commissioner Selig announced the controversial decision that the All-Star game would end in a tie. This angered fans who where there to see the game. As a result of the tie, there was no All-Star Game MVP.
The next season, Selig announced that the All-Star game winner would receive home-field advantage in the World Series.
13) Players Strike in 1994, Owners Hire Replacement Players
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Negotiations during the 1994 season between the players and owners went nowhere. The owners were concerned about the players' average salary, which was $1.2 million, and they wanted to enact a salary cap.
The strike, which began on Aug. 12th, led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. It also cost fans the chance to see a few historic moments.
Tony Gwynn was batting .394 and could have been the game's first .400 hitter since Ted Williams. Matt Williams had 43 home runs and was on pace to tie Roger Maris' single-season home run record. The Expos also had the best record in baseball at the time of the strike.
The strike also led to one of the more humorous trades in baseball history. Two weeks before the players went on strike, Dave Winfield was traded from the Twins to the Indians for a player to be named later.
Once the season was canceled, the Indians took Twins executives out to dinner and paid the bill to settle the trade.
After the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, fans were angry and wanted to see baseball. The owners hired replacement players to participate in spring training. These players were referred to as "scabs."
Some replacement players would later go on to win World Series titles. These players include Shane Spencer, Kevin Millar, Damian Miller and Brendan Donnelly. They were not able to be a part of the MLBPA and thus were not included on World Series champion memorabilia.
12) Protesters Try to Burn US Flag
Unforgivable moments occasionally lead to heroes that save the day. On April 25th, 1976, two protesters ran onto the field at Dodger Stadium. They brought an American flag with them and began to cover it with lighter fluid.
They were fumbling around with the lighters when, out of nowhere, Rick Monday came and saved the flag.
Monday got a huge round of applause from the crowd when he saved the flag. He had served in the Marine Corps Reserves in the 1960s, so because of his experiences, he felt that he needed to protect the flag.
The protesters were eventually arrested for their disgraceful actions.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Public Library
11) 10-Cent Beer Night
In hopes of boosting attendance, the Cleveland Indians offered a 10-cent beer night. They believed that the cheap beer would help them sell more tickets.
The game turned into a mess. Fans ran onto the field naked, and others flashed players. Food was thrown onto the field. In the ninth inning, a fan ran onto the field and tried to take Jeff Burroughs' hat. He tripped during this incident, and Billy Martin thought he was being attacked.
Texas Rangers players came out onto the field wielding bats. More fans came onto the field with weapons such as knives, chains and nunchuks. When he realized that the Rangers players might be in trouble, Indians manager Ken Aspromonte sent his players out with bats to protect them.
The game was eventually forfeited to Texas.
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10) Disco Demolition Night
The White Sox should have taken note of how promotions could quickly get out of hand from 10-Cent Beer Night. Chicago hosted Disco Demolition Night during a doubleheader in 1979.
Over 90,000 fans had showed up to try to get into the stadium, which had a 52,000 person capacity. Fans tried to sneak into the stadium.
After the first game, local DJ Steve Dahl was let into center field with a box full of records. The box was rigged with explosives, and when it exploded it left a small hole in center field and started a fire. Fans then poured out onto the field and lit more fires, started a few riots and vandalized the stadium.
Chicago police were called in to deal with all of the fans. The second game of the series was eventually forfeited to the Tigers.
Photo Credit: NY Times
9) Ray Chapman Killed by a Pitch
Ray Chapman stepped up to the plate against Carl Mays for his third at-bat of the game on Aug. 16th, 1920. Mays had been angry that Chapman was crowding the plate in his first two plate appearances.
Mays uncorked a spitball up and in that Chapman never saw. The ball had been so scuffed up and dirty that he could not pick it up out of Mays' hand. He made no effort to move out of the way.
The ball struck Chapman in the head so hard that it sounded like it hit the barrel of the bat. Mays thought this is what happened and picked up the ball and threw to first.
Chapman collapsed on the field and had blood pouring out of his left ear. He was quickly taken to a hospital, where he passed away 12 hours later.
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8) The Reserve Clause
The reserve clause was around from early on in baseball's history, as owners realized that they could not depress players' salary but could limit their ability to change teams. This had been challenged under the Sherman Antitrust Act, but the Supreme Court ruled that baseball was not a trust.
Finally, in 1975, the reserve clause was overturned by arbitrator Peter Seitz. He heard the cases of Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally, who had played the previous season without a contract. They were playing on the basis of the reserve clause.
The two players argued that they were now free to sign with any team. Seitz agreed, and this started free agency.
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7) Collusion in the 1980s
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In the 1980s many of the owners were more concerned with making money on their teams than actually winning the World Series. This led to three years of collusion between the owners in regard to free agents.
After the 1985 season, only four of the 35 players on the free agent market changed teams. They were also only offered short-term deals. Star players such as Kirk Gibson and Phil Niekro only received offers from their former teams. The players filed a grievance in February 1986.
The following offseason, only four players switched teams, and the average MLB salary declined. Three-quarters of the free agents signed one-year deals. The players filed a second grievance claim.
During the 1987 offseason owners created an information bank so that they could exchange information about the contracts that they were offering to players. For the third consecutive year, the players filed a grievance.
The players ended up winning all of their grievance claims. Some players were given the opportunity to be "new look" free agents in which they were open to sign with any team while still retaining their current contract if they couldn't find a deal.
In a final settlement in 1990, the owners agreed to pay $280 million to the MLBPA, which would decide how to distribute it to the impacted players.
6) Royals First Base Coach Tom Gamboa Attacked
During the top of the ninth inning in a game against the Chicago White Sox in September 2002, Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa was just doing his job. After the first out of the inning was recorded, Gamboa was focused on home plate.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, two fans, a father and son, came running on to the field. They went straight for Gamboa and began attacking him.
The Royals players came onto the field to help their coach. Gamboa suffered a few cuts and bruises.
Photo Credit: USA Today
5) Giants Fan Bryan Stow Attacked Outside of Dodger Stadium
Some fans take rivalries way too seriously. Unfortunately, Bryan Stow found that out after attending a Giants-Dodgers game in Los Angeles.
Stow was in Giants gear, and he was walking to his car with a few friends after the game. They were taunted by two fans in Dodgers gear.
The two Dodgers fans then attacked Stow from behind and kicked him while he was on the ground. They attacked his friends as they were trying to help him. Stow suffered a severely fractured skull.
There will be large medical bills for Stowe for the rest of his life. His family is suing the Dodgers for this, but individuals can also help out through the foundation set up for him.
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4) Eddie Waitkus Shot by an Obsessed Fan
Eddie Waitkus was one of the Cubs' best players in 1947 and 1948. This caught the attention of Ruth Ann Steinhagen. She had become obsessed with Waitkus, but seeing him at the ballpark every Cubs game kept her in check.
Then, in 1949, Waitkus was traded to the Phillies. While the Phillies were on a road trip in Chicago, Steinhagen snapped.
She went to the hotel where the Phillies were playing and checked in under the name of one of Waitkus' former high school classmates. She left a note at the front desk saying she urgently needed to see him.
When Waitkus went to her room, she shot him in the chest with a rifle. The bullet narrowly missed his heart, and he was rushed to surgery. Waitkus survived but suffered from PTSD after the shooting.
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3) Barney Doyle Killed at the Polo Grounds
Barney Doyle was a big Brooklyn Dodgers fan. He went to a doubleheader between the Dodgers and Giants in 1950 at the Polo Grounds. Doyle took a friend's 13-year-old son to the game with him.
On Coogan's Bluff, which overlooked the Polo Grounds, was 14-year-old Robert Peebles. He had found a gun in Central Park and decided to shoot a bullet up into the air for fun.
The bullet came down inside the Polo Grounds and hit Barney Doyle in the left temple. Doyle was killed, and according to reports, once the police moved his body, fans fought over his seat.
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2) Black Sox Scandal
The Black Sox Scandal is one of the worst incidents in baseball history. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball after they threw the 1919 World Series.
One of the players banned after the incident was Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the game's superstars. To this day, it is still debated whether or not Jackson was actually involved in the scandal.
Jackson batted over .400 in the Series and did not make any errors.
Photo Credit: Famous Trials
Major League Baseball never had a written rule that prevented African-Americans from playing in the league. However, there was a gentleman's agreement that prevented them from playing.
After Moses Fleetwood Walker and Frank Grant left their teams following the 1888 season, Major League Baseball did not have any African-American players until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.
MLB missed out on many outstanding baseball players, such as Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston. Each of these players, as well as other in the Negro Leagues, would have made large contributions in MLB had they been allowed to play.
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