Sorry to break this to you, but cheating is as much a part of baseball as Babe Ruth, hot dogs, and obnoxious drunk guys in Philly.
Earlier this month, more evidence that Pete Rose used corked bats emerged from Montreal. That came years after a Deadspin article shed light on the matter of his bats used to break Ty Cobb’s hit record in 1985. But the story out of Montreal suggested that Rose had been using corked bats almost his whole career.
Rose is already banned from baseball for life, as he should be, for gambling on the team he managed, so there’s no sense in punishing him further. But no one really wants to, anyway.
Because cheating has always been a part of baseball and no one really cares that much about it.
I can prove it.
If you want to suspend the Astros or take away their pennants and title, what about the 1951 New York Giants? The Bobby Thomson, “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” “The Giants win the pennant!” team. A Wall Street Journal investigation in 2001 revealed that the Giants were basically the Astros of their day, using what was then state-of-the-art technology — a telescope and an electronic buzzer — to relay signals to their hitters.
“Every hitter knew what was coming,” Giants reliever Al Gettel said. “Made a big difference.”
The Giants trailed their hated rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, by 13½ games at one point before completing the comeback on Oct. 3 on Thomson’s homer, one of the most iconic moments in American sports history.
Should that be wiped away? Should the Giants be punished, have their pennant disqualified? Should Monte Irvin and Willie Mays be kicked out of the Hall of Fame?
Of course not. No one wants that.
It’s clear by the slaps on the wrist that the Astros and Boston Red Sox have gotten from Rob Manfred that the commissioner is no more interested in punishing teams for sign stealing than they were in the past. It’s not cycling, it’s not the Olympics. If baseball really wanted to eliminate sign stealing, it could easily do so. Equip pitchers, catchers, managers, and coaches with headsets to communicate the way the NFL does.
There are plenty of other cheaters in baseball history, including some of the most popular and revered players in the game. Here’s a look at some of them.