Baseball Cheats and Scammers
On April 1, 2005, Alex Sanchez of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays became the first baseball player to get busted under Major League Baseball's new rules against the use of performance enhancing substances. Sanchez is protesting the 10-game suspension and says he's never used any kind of banned substances - but he wouldn't be the first baseball player to try something dishonest. Here's a look at some of baseball's most infamous cheaters.
Sammy Sosa's Bat Gets a BoostIn 2003, Sammy Sosa was busted for using a corked bat to add some extra pop to his swing. The former Chicago Cub and National League homerun champ was suspended seven games for the corked bat. Sammy claimed that he grabbed the juiced bat "by mistake" and it was the first time he'd used a corked bat during a game. Yeah right... and Britney Spears isn't pregnant, Kobe Bryant just gave that hotel clerk a peck on the cheek and Ashley Simpson really can sing.
The Emery Board In The Pocket TrickIn 1987, pitcher Joe Niekro was throwing pitches that were darting and diving faster than a hummingbird on a sugar high. The home plate umpire went to the pitcher's mound to ask Joe about his pitches when an emery board fell out of Joe's back pocket. It turned out Joe had been using the piece of manicuring machinery to scuff the ball so it would dip and dive. Joe claimed he needed the emery board to file his nails but Major League Baseball thought otherwise and suspended him for ten games.
Stealing SignsStealing signs from a catcher is a common trick in baseball for teams to get an advantage on their opponents. Even though it's illegal, that hasn't stopped teams from trying. In 1900, the backup catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies would sit in the center field stands with a pair of long-range spyglasses and steal signs from the other team's catcher. He would then relay these signs to Phillies' third-base coach through a buzzer device that went underneath the field. This sign-stealing scam worked wonders for the Phillies until a player for the Cincinnati Reds was running around third base and nearly tripped over the wires of the secret device which were sticking out from under the field.
Belle's BatIn 1994, an umpire suspected that Albert Belle of the Cleveland Indians was using a corked bat, so he confiscated Albert's bat and locked it in his dressing room to inspect later. While the game continued, pitcher Jason Grimsley tried to help out his teammate by replacing the confiscated bat. He crawled through a duct in the ceiling and snuck into the umpire's dressing room. He replaced Albert's illegal bat with another one belonging to teammate, Paul Sorrento. After the game, the umpire quickly figured out the bats had been switched, since the replacement bat had Paul Sorrento's name on it. Albert Belle's bat was found and inspected. It had indeed been corked, and Albert was suspended for ten games.