5 Shocking Major League Baseball Scandals

Scandals That Rocked Major League Baseball

  • Pete Rose Gambling
  • Mitchell Report
  • Cleveland Beer Night
  • John Rocker
  • Black Sox

Major League Baseball has millions of fans around the world, but those fans know that an MLB scandal can change the way they feel about the sport. Those scandals range from players who bet on and against their teams and issues involving illegal drugs. Any fan of and those who play the sport can learn about the most shocking scandals.

1. Pete Rose Gambling

Despite playing with the Cincinnati Reds for more than two decades and being one of the top players in history, Pete Rose has a lifetime ban on joining the sport’s Hall of Fame. Rose spent several years both playing and working as a manager before becoming one of the team’s full-time managers. Sports Illustrated published a story in 1989 that stated he had a gambling problem and often bet on the outcome of his team. As a manager, he had a role in how the team performed, which led to his lifetime ban.

2. Mitchell Report

Released in 2009, the Mitchell Report backed up the stories of steroid use in the sport and led to a major MLB scandal. This report went beyond simply claiming that players used the drug and named names, including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemons. The scandal rocked fans and left them wondering if their favorite players were really as great as they once thought or if their skills relied heavily on steroid use. This scandal had an impact that still exists today as the MLB prohibits the use of steroids. Those caught using illegal drugs face a suspension that can lead to a permanent ban.

3. Cleveland Beer Night

Though cheap beer was a staple at many stadiums over the years, the Cleveland Indians changed the way people thought about drinking during a game. The promotional department for the team came up with the idea of selling beer for just 10 cents in 1971 but severely underestimated the number of people who would turn out and how much they would drink. During the game against the Texas Rangers, fans became unruly. Not only did they hurl objects at the opposing team, but they also jumped onto the turf. It became so problematic that the umpires ended the game early and awarded the win to the Rangers.

4. John Rocker

John Rocker had the chance to become one of the top MLB players of all time but saw his career cut short after making some derogatory comments. While playing for the Atlanta Braves, Rocker gave a Sports Illustrated interview in which he talked badly about black people and Asians as well as homosexuals. Fans burned his jerseys and booed him when he stepped on the field. The Braves fired him, and though he tried to play for other teams, he retired just a few years later. This scandal made headlines again when he appeared on Survivor.

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5. Black Sox

The biggest MLB scandal of all time is likely the Black Sox scandal. According to Nat Berman, this ranks as one of the top 10 baseball scandals. During the 1919 World Series, eight players on the White Sox team received payments from gamblers to throw the game and let the Cincinnati Reds win. The eight players received lifetime bans from the sport’s commissioner and never played in the MLB again.

Sports scandals can range from players making comments that upset fans to gambling and cheating on and off the field. Though the Black Sox scandal is the top MLB scandal, it’s far from the only one that rocked the sport and its fans.