10 Most Embarrassing Lies in MLB History
In the aftermath of the Melky Cabrera suspension last week, details have emerged that reveal a bizarre tale of lies and deception that was put together solely for the purpose of trying to exonerate Cabrera.
Cabrera and his associate were trying to take advantage of a loophole in the MLB drug testing policy in the same manner that Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun was able to successfully appeal his suspension last February.
The case is still under investigation, and by the time everything is said and done, Cabrera could have a lot more than just a 50-game suspension to worry about. Jail time could be quite possible.
Cabrera's ludicrous attempt to lie his way out of his troubles brings to mind several other lies that were brought to light in other bizarre stories in MLB history as well.
Here are a few of them.
1919 Black Sox Scandal
After the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago White Sox in the 1919 World Series, rumors quickly began to swirl about a possible fix perpetrated by several players of the White Sox.
Indeed, the fix was on.
It was revealed that White Sox first Chick Gandil instigated the fix by getting together with long-standing buddies of his who happened to be part of an underworld ring that included known gamblers.
Together Gandil and his cronies enlisted the help of several of Gandil's teammates to conspire to throw the World Series for large sums of money.
While the players were surprisingly acquitted of all charges in a court of law in August 1921, they were all banned from baseball the day after the verdict by MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
1980s Owner Collusion
Following the 1985 MLB season, there were 35 players eligible for free agency. Of those 35 players, only four were signed by other teams.
The following year, the exact same number of players switched teams. The players and the MLBPA started crying foul.
The MLBPA filed a grievance against the owners, citing a concerted effort to create collusion.
Independent arbitrator Thomas Roberts agreed, citing the owners had in fact agreed to scheme together to create collusion in an effort to drive salaries down.
Albert Belle and His Corked Bat
Apparently, slugger Albert Belle, at times, needed a little help.
On July 15, 1994, Belle and the Cleveland Indians were at Comiskey Park to face the Chicago White Sox. Sox manager Gene Lamont got a tip that something might be amiss with Belle's bat.
He approached the home plate umpire and asked him to check Belle's bat. The umpire was unable to find anything wrong at the time, but under MLB rules was able to confiscate the bat and have it sent to the MLB office in New York for further testing.
Obviously, Belle and his teammates weren't about to let that happen.
Indians pitcher Jason Grimsley crawled into the umpire's office at Comiskey Park—where the bat was being held for safekeeping—while the game was in progress and attempted to switch the bat out, using a bat from the collection of first baseman Paul Sorrento.
Needless to say, their ruse was revealed. Following the game, the umpires immediately demanded that the Indians return the bat in question.
The bat was indeed found to contain cork, and Belle was suspended for 10 games, later dropped to seven games upon appeal.
Grimsley would later have his own issues with MLB, suspended for 50 games in 2006 for violating MLB's drug policy.
Sammy Sosa Has Issues with Cork Too
In an interleague game in early July 2003, the Chicago Cubs were facing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when slugger Sammy Sosa came to the plate in the first inning.
Sosa hit a grounder to second, shearing his bat in the process. Devil Rays catcher Toby Hall threw part of the bat back towards home plate, landing near the feet of umpire and crew chief Tim McClelland.
McClelland immediately spotted cork in the barrel of the bat and ejected Sosa.
Sosa would later claim that the bat was a batting practice bat, and he had mistakenly mixed it up, putting it in his game collection.
"Just to put on a show for the fans. I like to make people happy and I do that in batting practice," Sosa said at the time.
"I was just trying to get ready and go out there and get ready for the game, and I just picked the wrong bat. I feel sorry. I just apologize to everybody."
I've been around enough major league clubhouses to know that to be a bold-faced lie.
MLB players fiercely protect their collection of bats and always know exactly which bats to use in game situations.
Sosa had been 1-for-10 with eight strikeouts before that particular at-bat—he knew exactly what he was doing.
Fausto Carmona aka Roberto Hernandez
Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona started his first game of the season on Aug. 15 against the Los Angeles Angels.
However, the back of his uniform jersey sported a different name above his number 55—Hernandez. Roberto Hernandez, that is.
Hernandez returned to the Indians in July after taking time in the Dominican Republic to clear up the not-so-small issue of a fake name and age.
The Indians threw Hernandez a birthday party upon arrival.
Hey, it's only three years. I wouldn't mind so much shaving three years off, either.
Leo Nunez aka Juan Carlos Oviedo
Unlike Fausto Carmona aka Roberto Hernandez, Miami Marlins reliever Leo Nunez, aka Juan Carlos Oviedo, has yet to throw a pitch in the 2012 season.
Much like Hernandez, Oviedo got caught fibbing just a little about his real age as well.
Oviedo's age scam wasn't quite as bad as fellow Dominican Hernandez—Oviedo was only a year older than what he had listed under the Nunez name.
Mark McGwire 'Fesses Up Before Returning to Baseball
Nine years after he retired as a player, slugger Mark McGwire had the opportunity to return to baseball, this time as a hitting coach.
There was just one small thing he had to do first—admit to his steroid use.
McGwire was asked to return to baseball by former manager Tony LaRussa as his hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.
McGwire decided to finally admit what just about everyone had previously known, releasing a statement to the Associated Press acknowledging that he had used steroids on and off over a 10-year period.
However, he stated in a later interview that he didn't think the steroids actually gave him more power to hit home runs—that was a God-given talent.
Rafael Palmeiro Shakes His Finger at Congress and Then Gets Caught
On March 17, 2005, slugger Rafael Palmeiro sat in front of a Congressional panel 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."
Apparently, Palmeiro's version of the word "clearly" is a bit different than everyone else's version.
Five months later, Palmeiro tested positive for the steroid stanozolol and was suspended for 10 days by Major League Baseball.
Even then, Palmeiro refused to come clean, claiming he had no idea how the substance turned up in his body.
On a happier note, however, Palmeiro was recently honored by a Hall of Fame.
No, not that Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose Denies Betting on Baseball
In February 1989, MLB launched an investigation into the betting habits and activities of baseball's all-time hits leader and current Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose.
After months of exhaustive background work turned in by attorney John Dowd, MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti and Rose came to an agreement whereby Rose would agree to a permanent ban from baseball.
Following the ban, Rose would continue to deny that he bet on baseball for the next 15 years.
Rose would finally come clean to betting on games, including games played by his own team, in his book My Prison Without Bars.
The admission sold books and made money—don't think for one second there was any other reason Rose finally made the admission.
Melky Cabrera's Elaborate Website Scheme
The details that have emerged regarding San Francisco Giants left Melky Cabrera's use of performance enhancing drugs and an elaborate cover-up is literally soap opera stuff.
In an exclusive report by the New York Daily News, Cabrera's "associate" put together fake websites and made up fake products in an effort to try and exonerate his friend.
Juan Nunez paid $10,000 to take over a website and create the illusion that Cabrera had ordered a topical cream to use. Nunez was trying to take advantage of a loophole in MLB drug testing documentation that allows a player to attempt to prove their innocence by claiming they had used a product that contained a banned substance without their knowledge.
When MLB began asking questions about the website, it was found that the product Cabrera supposedly ordered and used was, in fact, fictitious, as well as the website itself.
Now, Cabrera isn't just serving a 50-game suspension, he could be serving time as well.
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.