Alex Rodriguez and 5 Immortal MLB Careers Destroyed by Scandal

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIISeptember 5, 2011

Alex Rodriguez and 5 Immortal MLB Careers Destroyed by Scandal

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    Major League Baseball is over 120 years old. While the league has had its fair share of memorable moments, there's also been plenty of controversy and scandal that's harmed the public image of the game.

    Many players have tried to cheat the system, but not many have gotten away with it. Here are five of the biggest names in baseball history that have been involved in scandal.

Dave Parker

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    Pittsburgh Pirates players Dave Parker, Dale Berra, Rod Scurry, Lee Mazzilli, Lee Lacy and John Milner, as well as some other MLB stars such as Keith Hernandez, Tim Raines, Vida Blue, Enos Cabell and Lonnie Smith, appeared before a Pittsburgh grand jury in September of 1985. The Pittsburgh Drug Trials, as it was dubbed, made national headlines. Overall, 11 players were suspended.

    Is Dave Parker Hall of Fame worthy? Maybe, but many agree that his cocaine problem kept him out enshrinement possibility.

    Parker had a fantastic five-year stretch between 1975-79 in right field. He won the MVP award in 1978 with a .334 average, 30 HR and 117 RBI. To go along with his bat, "The Cobra" had one of the strongest throwing arms in his time.

    After 1980, his drug demons led to weight gain and injury. He was never the same player.

Shoeless Joe Jackson

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    Betting in baseball had been a problem since the 1870s, but the 1919 Black Sox scandal was the tipping point. Players didn't make great salaries in those days. Throwing games was a way for some players to make an extra buck.

    Charles Comiskey wasn't a well-liked man among the White Sox players, as he was very stingy with pay. Eight White Sox players, including the legendary Joe Jackson, received bribes for throwing the 1919 World Series.

    The players were acquitted in court, but all eight players were banned for life by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who wanted to make a statement about gambling in baseball.

    Jackson was a .356 career hitter and totaled 54 home runs, 785 RBI and 873 runs.

Pete Rose

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    It's the most discussed question in regards to the Hall of Fame: should Pete Rose have a plaque in Cooperstown?

    Baseball's all-time hit king bet on 52 Reds games in 1987 at the minimum of $10,000 a day. In 1989, Rose agreed to take a voluntary ban from the game. The agreement had three major clauses...

    —Major League Baseball would make no finding of fact regarding gambling allegations and cease their investigation
    —Rose was neither admitting or denying the charges
    —Rose could apply for reinstatement after one year.

    Commissioner Bart Giamatti went public with the scandal anyway. Eight days later, Giamati passed away due to a massive heart attack. Fay Vincent, a close friend of Giamatti, took over as commissioner. Some believed that the stress attributed by Rose's ban led to Giamatti's death.

    Rose finally admitted to betting on baseball in 2004 in his book "My Prison Without Bars."

Barry Bonds and the Other PED Users

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    Will the BBWAA ever induct Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame? Will the fans ever forgive them or the other users during the steroid era?

    Steroids don't improve a hitter's ability to hit a baseball. It doesn't help with hand-eye coordination or timing. It doesn't matter if you're a lean 150 pounds, and transform yourself into a roid-raging 250-pound man; if you can't hit a breaking pitch before taking PEDs, you're not going to hit it after, either.

    What steroids do do is help a hitter with bat speed and recovery. It's why you saw guys like Bonds and Clemens still perform at a high level in their late 30s. It's why home runs were way up during the era. And it might by why none of the suspected PED users ever get to Cooperstown.

Alex Rodriguez

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    Just like many of the names I spoke about in the previous slide, Alex Rodriguez was another one of those PED users, but his revelation was very shocking to many. It was thought that he was a breath of fresh air and actually clean.

    When it was found out that he was dirty as well, this not only tarnished A-Rod's career, it had people questioning whether or not any of the game's stars were clean. Could Albert Pujols possibly be dirty? The fans just didn't know any more.

    And now, MLB is investigating his involvement in the participation of an illegal poker game. He's gone from the most revered player in Seattle to arguably the most hated in the game today with the Yankees.