Aug 2, 2013, 7:45 AM EDT
As we wait for Bud Selig to do whatever he plans to do to Alex Rodriguez, let us remind ourselves that he will not be the first person to be (possibly) banned from baseball for life. He’s not even part of a small group of people which, as most people recite it, includes only Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and him. There have been lots of baseball bans over the years. Thirty-eight have been banned, actually.
We know Rose. We know Jackson. If we think for a minute we also probably realize that Seven of Shoeless Joe’s teammates joined him as a result of the Black Sox scandal. But do you remember any of the others? Probably not most of them as the vast majority of bannings took place in the years before and just after Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis came into office, tasked with cleaning up the game following the infamous 1919 World Series.
There are some interesting cases among those early bannings. Nearly a dozen players and managers were banned from baseball for either gambling, associating with gamblers or conspiring to fix games prior to the Black Sox scandal. But it wasn’t just players and managers. There was one umpire — Dick Higam — who was banned in 1882 for conspiring to help throw Detroit Wolverines games. There was even a team physician, Joseph Creamer, who worked for the New York Giants, who was kicked out of the game in 1908.
After Landis took office he famously swept out the Black Sox, but that wasn’t the end of his ban hammer. He kicked out three or four other players for gambling in the next several years. He banned a couple for refusing to honor their contracts with their current teams (once upon a time wanting to actually control the circumstances of one’s employment was considered just as bad as gambling or steroids). Landis banned a guy for playing exhibition games which included the banned Black Sox. He even banned an owner — William B. Cox of the Philadelphia Phillies — for betting on his team’s games.
After Landis died in 1944, no one was banned for over 30 years. Then Bowie Kuhn decided to ban Fergie Jenkins after he was busted for cocaine and marijuana possession in 1980. That ban was overturned two weeks later by an independent arbitrator. In 1983 came perhaps baseball’s dumbest ban ever: Kuhn banned Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays because they took jobs as casino greeters in Atlantic City. This despite the fact that their employers prohibited them from gambling in Atlantic City and despite the fact that there were no sports books in Atlantic City at the time. Some of us may take issue with some of the specifics of baseball’s war on PEDs, but it’s a divine crusade compared to what Bowie Kuhn was up to in the early 80s.
You’re probably more likely to remember the rest of the bans: Rose for gambling in 1989. George Steinbrenner in 1990 for paying a private investigator $40,000 to “dig up dirt” on Dave Winfield. Marge Schott in 1996 for making slurs against African-Americans, Jews, Asians and homosexuals, and for making sympathetic comments about Hitler and the Nazis. There are people who will claim that A-Rod is the worst person in baseball history, but jeez, at least he’s not a Nazi sympathizer. We hope.
Anyway, whatever happens today — at least most likely today — will be huge news. But it won’t be the first time a big name is drummed out of the sport. And, thanks to Bowie Kuhn’s silly ban of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, if Rodriguez is banned for life, he won’t even be the biggest name banned in the past 30 years.
May 4, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT
0-4 with a 6.29 ERA.
May 4, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT
Milwaukee now has the guy who had easily the best batting stance of any current manager.
May 4, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT
Nearly a month ago Hardy was said to be “close” to starting a rehab stint.
May 4, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT
Seven errors in 21 games.
May 4, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
He says “it’s family business” and that “the old A-Rod is gone.”
May 4, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
This is getting ridiculous.
May 4, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT
This is the shortest post in the history of HBT.
May 4, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT
And noting how the Yankees can and do sell everything that isn’t nailed down but somehow can’t figure out how to market home run number 660.
May 4, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
“I got it”
May 4, 2015, 7:24 AM EDT
Some late-inning heroics. Extra-innings heroics, actually. Like baseball is some kind of gosh darned after hours club or something.
May 4, 2015, 12:23 AM EDT
The Brewers acted quickly to find a new manager after firing Ron Roenicke on Sunday night.
May 3, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT
The Dodgers acquired first baseman Andy Wilkins from the Blue Jays and designated Scott Baker for assignment on Sunday.
May 3, 2015, 11:35 PM EDT
The Padres are expected to promote catching prospect Austin Hedges on Monday.
May 3, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT
The Athletics released Cody Ross on Sunday.
May 3, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT
Ron Roenicke is the first casualty of the Brewers’ poor start to the season.
May 3, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT
Would Joe Mauer better serve the Twins in the leadoff spot?
May 3, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT
White Sox manager Robin Ventura has taken some heat for the team’s slow start, but first baseman Jose Abreu stuck up for him.
May 3, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT
Jean Segura was hit in the head by a pitch attempting to bunt. Thankfully, he appears to be okay.
May 3, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT
The Cardinals won again in walk-off fashion and now own baseball’s best record.
May 3, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT
The Astros keep on winning.
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 60
- Report: Brewers hire Craig Counsell to replace Ron Roenicke 23
- Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke 53
- Jordan Walden lands on disabled list with biceps injury 11
- Rays place outfielder Desmond Jennings on 15-day disabled list with bursitis in his left knee 1
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 34
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring 131
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges team won’t pay A-Rod $6 million bonus for 660th home run 69
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal (363)
- Comment of the Day: do not underestimate the seriousness of the anti-DH crowd (201)
- Monday’s White Sox/Orioles game postponed due to ongoing protests and violence in Baltimore (162)
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring (132)
- The Orioles will play to no fans tomorrow; this weekend’s series will move to Tropicana Field (125)