Every team in baseball has had its ups and downs, but missing a clear catch is not the same as taking drugs or messing with the ball.

Today we are diving into the dark parts of MLB’s past, where players tainted our beloved game and showed us just how far they will go to get that win.

Some of these scandals may have been forgotten as time has gone by, but we don’t forget! Learning from our past mistakes stops them from repeating, and we don’t want any player, referee, or fan thinking they can ruin our games. Luckily none of these players will be part of Fanduel’s MLB DFS picks, so we can continue watching the game, hoping that the players have learned from their darkened past, in the meantime let’s get into it! Here are the 5 most controversial scandals in MLB history!

The Black Box Scandal of 1919

Despite this happening over a century ago, we still talk about the events today. It was the 1919 World Series and the Chicago White Sox was up against the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox’s owner at the time was Charles Comiskey, and although he was once a player himself, the players did not like him. This was because of a myriad of reasons, but mainly he underpaid everyone. 

Underpaid, underappreciated, and hating their job, the baseball players couldn’t leave the team without being banned from baseball completely. This was because of a horrible clause in their contract which stated that players could not change teams without the current team’s permission. With no union in place, the players had no choice but to play in a toxic environment. 

Disgruntled, the team had a plan. They would purposefully lose the World Series, and gamble on themselves for the losing position. Because the Chicago White Sox had won the series in 1917, the odds were in their favor, meaning they would receive a massive payout from this bet.

However, the spectators knew that something wasn’t right, and it soon came to light that the team won $5,000 or more each, which is the equivalent of $75,000 in 2020.

A public trial took place in 1921 and the judge decided to ban all of the 8 men involved. None were allowed to play professionally again. Because of this incident, a commissioner was appointed, to make sure that baseball’s integrity was intact.

The Mitchell Report of 2007

The Mitchell report, written by George Mitchel (a former US Senator), was published in 2007. It was a damning report with 409 pages proving that some of the best baseball players of the era were using anabolic steroids and human growth hormones.

This means that the players were illegally enhancing their performances with drugs, creating an unequal playing field, and abusing the law of the land. 89 MLB players were named in the report, as this was not a one-team problem. Many of the stars were prohibited from playing again and were fined over $18,000.

Pittsburgh Drug Trials of 1985

The drug trial, 22 years before the Mitchell report, was another show of players and teams trying to boost their chance of winning through cheating. However, unlike using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs, the players and teams use cocaine. 

Major players Vida Blue, Alan Wiggins, John Milner, Willie Aikens, Enos Cabell, Lonnie Smith, Keith Hernandez, Rod Scurry, Tim Raines, and Jeffrey Leonard were called into court in September 1985.

These 11 players were officially suspended from Major League Baseball and charged for using drugs and tampering with the game.

In the trial, it was revealed that the drug addiction among the team was so bad that Rod Scurry once left the stadium during a match looking for more cocaine. The game was in the late innings, but that didn’t stop him from searching for a dealer.

Each player was sentenced to jail time, and many had fines too. However, no rules were added to MLB to stop it from happening again.

Pete Rose Betting Scandal of 1989

In 1989 it was announced that Pete Rose had been betting on baseball games throughout his career. 

Betting on a game you play in, means you are likely to shift the results in your favor. Rose knew the people in each team and was friendly with most of them. He had enough influence to change the results to cash in big. 

When the rumors circulated, the commissioner put lawyer John Dowd to the case. His report was named the Dowd Report, and the 225 pages showed 7 times in which Pete Rose bet on a game. Fifteen years later, in his own autobiography, Rose admitted to the scandal.

As a result of the Dowd report, Rose was banned from all aspects of professional baseball. Many still want his Hall of Fame states removed, however, his gambling didn’t affect his “All Time Hits” title.

The Steroid Era Continued – 2005

The whole of the 2000s era was littered with steroids. In the congressional hearing of 2005, big-name players like Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa were asked to testify. They denied the allegations of doping but were later tested positive for steroids.


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