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A ban from Major League Baseball is a form of punishment levied by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) against a player, manager, executive, or other person connected with the league as a denunciation of some action that person committed that violated or tarnished the integrity of the game. A banned person is forbidden from employment with MLB or its affiliated minor leagues, and is forbidden from other professional involvement with MLB such as acting as a sports agent for an MLB player. Since 1991, all banned people – whether living or deceased – have been barred from induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Major League Baseball has maintained an official list of "permanently ineligible" people since Kenesaw Mountain Landis was installed as the first Commissioner of Baseball in 1920. Although the majority of banned persons were banned after the establishment of the Commissioner's office, some were formally banned prior to that time while a few others were informally "blacklisted" by the Major League clubs. Most persons who have been banned (including many who have been reinstated) were banned due to association with gambling or otherwise conspiring to fix the outcomes of games; others have been banned for a multitude of reasons including illegal activities off the field, violating some term of their playing contract, or making disparaging remarks that brought the game into disrepute.

History

Kenesaw Mountain Landis, federal judge and Commissioner of Baseball (1920–44).

Prior to 1920, players were banned by the decision of a committee. There were 14 players banned from 1865 to 1920; of those, 12 were banned for association with gambling or attempting to fix games, one was banned for violating the reserve clause, and one was banned for making disparaging remarks.

In 1920, team owners established the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, ostensibly to keep the players in line and out of corruption's way. Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a federal judge, was the owners' ideal candidate for the job and was given unlimited power over the game, including the authority to ban people from the game.

He banned many players and various others, often for seemingly small offenses, and at times almost indiscriminately. In his 24 years as commissioner, Landis banned more people than all of his successors combined. The last person banned by Landis to remain alive was William D. Cox, who died in 1989.

As of 2021, no one has died while still ineligible after being banned by one of Landis' successors. In 1991, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum voted to bar banned players from induction. The oldest living person on the ineligible list is Pete Rose, who is 81 years old as of 2022. Rose's banishment remains among the most bitterly debated of any imposed after Landis' tenure. While Rose eventually admitted to betting on his team (which under the rules then and now in force are grounds for permanent ineligibility), his supporters argue that a lifetime ban is unjust due to a lack of conclusive evidence that his gambling directly affected the outcome of any games, and also due to modern society's more relaxed attitude towards gambling.

By the 21st century, the use of performance enhancing drugs had replaced the possible influence of gambling as the greatest perceived threat to the integrity of the game.

Subsequently, both the Commissioner of Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association came under intense pressure from fans, owners, current and former players, team officials, and the United States Congress to take decisive action against PED use in baseball. In 2005, as a result of the findings of the Mitchell Report, the owners and the MLBPA reached a new Basic Agreement which stipulated that multiple violations of the overhauled Major League Baseball drug policy would result in a lifetime ban.[1]

Punishment

Prohibited

A person who has been banned from Major League Baseball is barred from:

Terms such as "lifetime ban" and "permanent ban" are misnomers, as a banned person may be reinstated (i.e., have the ban removed) whether by the decision of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball or (in the case of players banned since the establishment of the Major League Baseball Players Association) following an appeal by the MLBPA on behalf of a banned player to an independent arbitrator empowered to hear and adjudicate such appeals. Furthermore, in the case of Hall of Fame induction, bans have typically extended beyond a person's lifetime.

Non-prohibited

Among the activities that a banned person is not precluded from participating (as of 2016) in include:

List of banned people

Bans that are in effect and/or that were still in effect at the time of the banned person's death are denoted in bold. Living persons are denoted in italics. No banned person has ever been posthumously re-instated by Major League Baseball.

Pre-1920

These players were banned from baseball prior to the creation of the office of Commissioner of Baseball.

Jack O'Connor
Jack O'Connor

Unofficial-turned-official bans

These players were unofficially banned from baseball before the creation of the office of Commissioner of Baseball. They later had their bans made official by baseball's first Commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Heinie Zimmerman
Heinie Zimmerman

Banned under Commissioner Landis

Landis banned a total of nineteen people during his tenure, more than all of his successors combined. Of the nineteen, two were re-instated by Landis, one was re-instated by a successor and sixteen remain banned. As a condition of accepting the Commissioner's post, Landis demanded and got nearly unlimited power to sanction every person employed in the major leagues, from owners to batboys. In practice, Landis only meted out punishment for serious off-field transgressions he believed were a threat to the image and/or integrity of the game. Disciplinary action for the on-field behavior of players, coaches and managers remained the responsibility of the respective league presidents, as it had been prior to the creation of the Commissioner's office.

Shoeless Joe Jackson
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Lefty Williams
Lefty Williams
Chick Gandil
Chick Gandil

Banned under Commissioner Kuhn

After Landis died in 1944, there was a long lull before the next banishment. During the tenures of Commissioners Happy Chandler (1945–1951), Ford Frick (1951–1965), Spike Eckert (1965–1968), Bowie Kuhn (1969–1984) and Peter Ueberroth (1984–1989), only three players (or former players) were banned for life.

All three were banned by Kuhn, and all three were later reinstated. By the time of Kuhn's tenure, players had organized the Major League Baseball Players Association and negotiated the first Basic Agreement with the owners. Among other things the Agreement provided, for the first time, an independent process through which active players could appeal disciplinary decisions (up to and including lifetime bans) by League presidents or the Commissioner. As of 2022, no such process exists for personnel who are not members of the MLBPA.

Banned under Commissioner Giamatti

A. Bartlett Giamatti served only five months as Commissioner of Baseball before he died of a heart attack at his Martha's Vineyard home on September 1, 1989.

Banned under Commissioner Vincent

Fay Vincent became commissioner upon the death of Giamatti.

Banned under Commissioner Selig

Bud Selig became Commissioner after Fay Vincent's resignation; he was Acting Commissioner between 1992 and 1998, and was elected to the Office of Commissioner in 1998. In 1999, Selig oversaw the disbandment of the American and National League offices and took over all but a few ceremonial duties formerly performed by the League Presidents, including the discipline of personnel for on-field behavior.

Banned under Commissioner Manfred

Rob Manfred succeeded Bud Selig as the Commissioner of Baseball after Selig's retirement on January 25, 2015. To date, he has banned more people than his three immediate predecessors combined, and is second only to Landis for most people placed on the permanent ineligibility list.

See also

References

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  2. ^ Statement by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Pete Rose [1]
  3. ^ Statement by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Pete Rose [2]
  4. ^ The New York Mutuals were a member of the National Association of Base Ball Players (which is not to be confused with the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players) at the time; the NABBP was not a major league.
  5. ^ Stevens, David (1998). Baseball's Radical for All Seasons: A Biography of John Montgomery Ward. Scarecrow Press. p. 9.
  6. ^ Brody, Seymour (2004). Jewish heroes & heroines of America: 151 true stories of Jewish American heroism. ISBN 9780883910269. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Robert C. Hoie (2013). "The Hal Chase Case". Society for American Baseball Research.
  8. ^ Gandil, Arnold (Chick). This is My Story of the Black Sox Series. Sports Illustrated, 1956-09-17.
  9. ^ Dickie Kerr Will Be Back With Sox
  10. ^ Eldridge, Larry. "Ferguson Jenkins drug charge: why arbitrator upset suspension". csmonitor.com. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  11. ^ "Jenkins, Ferguson". baseballhall.org. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  12. ^ Spokane Spokesman-Review, October 20, 1983, "Kuhn called off-base for Mantle, Mays bans".
  13. ^ Martinez, Michael. "MAYS, MANTLE REINSTATED BY BASEBALL COMMISSIONER". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  14. ^ Associated Press, March 16, 2007 "Rose admits to betting on Reds 'every night'".
  15. ^ Barnes, Craig (February 25, 1992). "Yankees Make Molloy Chief Administrator". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
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  17. ^ Mitchell, Houston. "Donald Sterling uproar: A look at Marge Schott, other penalized owners". latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  18. ^ Goldman, Tom. "She Was Generous. She Was Also Racist. Should This Ballpark Carry Her Name?". npr.org. National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  19. ^ Maske, Mark. "OWNER SCHOTT SURRENDERS REDS' REINS". washingtonpost.com. WP, LLC. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  20. ^ "Schott in the foot". espn.com. ESPN, Inc. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  21. ^ Goldstein, Richard. "Marge Schott, Owner of Cincinnati Reds, Dies". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  22. ^ Perry, Dayn. "MLB conditionally lifts permanent ban of Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia, who could return in 2019". CBSSports. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  23. ^ Kramer, Daniel (November 20, 2018). "Mets part ways with reliever Mejía". MLB.com (in European Spanish). Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  24. ^ "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". MLB.com. January 2019. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  25. ^ "Ex-Cards scouting director Chris Correa sentenced to prison for hacking Astros", ESPN (July 19, 2016).
  26. ^ "After investigation, MLB orders Cardinals to forfeit top two picks, pay $2 million to Astros", ESPN (January 30, 2017).
  27. ^ Ben Reiter (October 4, 2018). "What happened to the Houston Astros' hacker?". Sports Illustrated.
  28. ^ "Ex-Braves GM John Coppolella banned; team loses top prospect". ESPN.com. November 21, 2017.
  29. ^ "Braves penalized for int'l signing violations". MLB.com. November 21, 2017.
  30. ^ "Statement of the Commissioner" (PDF). Major League Baseball. January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  31. ^ "Roberto Alomar placed on MLB ineligible list over 2014 sexual misconduct allegation". ESPN.com. April 30, 2021.
  32. ^ Rick Westhead (April 30, 2021). "MLB, Blue Jays fire Alomar after workplace complaint". The Sports Network.
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  34. ^ Davidoff, Ken (February 2, 2021). "MLB investigating Mickey Callaway's alleged sexual harassment". New York Post. Retrieved May 26, 2021.