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The 3 Biggest Scandals in MLB History

What are the three biggest scandals in MLB history? As the Houston Astros battle back from three games behind, more and more fans want to point out they cheated. Yes, what they did was despicable but fans need to realize that what they did was not the worst thing baseball has seen. Aside from the Astros stealing signs other teams have done it and other teams have done worse. Spoiler alert they are not included in the three biggest scandals in MLB history.

Black Sox

Back in 1919, the Chicago White Sox met the Cincinnati Reds in the world series. The series would be fixed so the Reds would win, and eight players would receive lifetime bans for their roles. Eddie Cicotte, Lefty Williams, Chick Gandil, Fred McMullin, Swede Risberg, Happy Felsch, Buck Weaver, and Joe “Shoeless” Jackson.

It started on September 21st, 1919 when a meeting took place in New York among Sox players. Among the players was third-baseman Fred McMullin. Although McMullin did not partake in the fixing he had knowledge of it and stayed quiet, resulting in his lifetime ban. Star outfield Joe “Shoeless” Jackson was reportedly involved in the scandal but did not attend the meeting.

The whole scheme started to fall into place when one of the “clean” players came down with the flu. As starting pitcher Red Faber got sick, things started to look up for the Black Sox as the pitcher would not be able to take the mound. Years down the road another “clean” player came out and said that if Faber played the fix would not have been successful.

The series started October 1st, 1919 and on gameday rumors started spreading about the fix. As rumors spread gamblers began to heavily bet on the Reds, causing odds against the Reds to heavily swing. Word would make it up to the booth. Thus, resulting in many reporters comparing notes on suspected botched plays.

Pitcher Eddie Cicotte started game one. After Cicotte’s first pitch was a strike he would hit Reds batter Morrie Rath signaling the fix was on. Throughout the series, the eight players would go on to make easy errors and bat terribly, aside from Shoeless who led the series with a .375 batting average. The Reds would go on to win the nine-game series in eight games.

After the series, six players would receive $5,000 and Gandil received $35,000. Weaver did not receive any money from the fix. All eight players would receive a lifetime ban and taint some beautiful careers. Although Shoeless Joe Jackson led the series in batting average since he had knowledge of the fix and accepted money, he would never see a Major League diamond again.  

Scandals in MLB
image via nytimes.com

Performance Enhancing Drugs

For years – and to this day – MLB players and athletes around the world have used performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge against opponents. We are talking steroids, not LSD like Dock Elias used to earn his no-hitter in 1970.

In the 1990s many baseball stars were juicing. In 2005 Jose Canseco blew the whistle on steroid use in the MLB. Canseco claimed 85% of major leaguer used steroids. Such as his former teammates Mark McGuire, Jason Giambi, and Ivan Rodriguez. Giambi and McGuire have both admitted and apologized for their steroid use, while Rodriguez has not admitted to it, he is sitting pretty in Cooperstown.

Steroids have forever tainted the record books. Allegedly, the homerun king himself Barry Bonds juiced throughout his career. Bonds holds the record for most home runs in a season and throughout a career. Although never proven many in the baseball suspect Bonds PED use and he is yet to enter Cooperstown.

Many other “greats” have been busted (or accused) for steroid use such as Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez. Others have been accused but never proven guilty such as David Ortiz. In 2003 Ortiz reportedly failed a PED test but nothing came about the situation.

Performance-enhancing drugs have tainted baseball for the greater good. Although certain substances are banned in major league baseball many will still abuse them and that will not change. Many have been burned and careers quite possibly have been ruined due to use.

image via sfgate.com

Pete Rose

This could be the most controversial thing to ever happen to baseball. Arguably the greatest hitter in MLB hitter to even step on the field bet on baseball and received a lifetime ban. Both of which are a travesty to the game of baseball itself.

In 1987 while managing the Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose allegedly bet on 52 Reds games, with the wagers ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 a day. Although it was never proven that Rose ever bet against his Reds it was highly unethical. After an extensive investigation, acting commissioner Angelo Bartlett Giamatti handed Rose a lifetime ban from baseball. In which he could apply for reinstatement one year later. Eight days later Giamatti would pass away due to a heart attack.

Rose has applied for reinstating a few times over the years all resulting in nothing. Many baseball fans believe it is time to reinstate the hit king so he can be rightfully enshrined into Cooperstown. While Rose may have screwed up betting on baseball nothing has ever pointed to him betting against his team.

If that is the case it is a major scandal to not allow an all-time great be placed on the right side of the history books. On the other side if he were betting against the Reds and throwing away a whole season then it would be one of the biggest travesties MLB has seen.

scandals in MLB
image vis cnn.com

Finals Thoughts on Scandals In MLB

These three MLB scandals have tainted the game of baseball more than the Astros sign-stealing ever could. Fans need to stop talking about the Astros cheating and either root for them to lose, or campaign to get Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame.


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