List of Major League Baseball figures who have been banned for life

Since baseball's evolution from exhibition to professional sport, a number of players, executives (up to and including team owners), and others have been banned from the sport for the remainder of their lifetimes, and in some cases banned "forever". Major League Baseball has maintained a list of "permanently ineligible" people since the first Commissioner of Baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, was installed in 1920. Although the majority of banned persons were banned after the establishment of the Commissioner's office, a few were banned prior to that time.

In the sense that Major League Baseball uses the term, "banishment" from the game entails becoming ineligible to play, coach or manage, or be otherwise professionally involved with the game, including acting as a representative for a player, coach or manager, or being involved with the executive management of a team, such as in the capacity of an accountant or other peripherally-related occupations that may involve Major League Baseball. It also severs all connections from the person banned and any MLB team, which means that if a banned person wishes to attend a game, he has to buy a ticket like everyone else.

The one exception to this rule is if the banned person is invited by MLB or one of its franchises to take part in public ceremonies and the like. Pete Rose is the banned player who has taken advantage of this exception the most often and the most visibly.

The primary cause for lifetime banishment, according to the Commissioner's office, is that the banned person violated or otherwise tarnished the integrity of the game. In 1995, the Baseball Hall of Fame voted to bar players on the ineligible list from induction. This was changed in 2001; players on the list can be considered by the Veterans Committee, but not by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

What follows is a chronologically-ordered list of these people, the date and/or year of the banishment (if available), and a brief summary of the cause for their banishment. Some of them have been reinstated, and are noted as such.

People banned before 1920

Note: Banishment was decided by committee until 1920, when the office of the Commissioner of Baseball was established.

* Thomas Devyr, Ed Duffy and William Wansley, New York Mutuals, banned in 1865 for associating with known gamblers. Devyr was reinstated the same year; the others were reinstated in 1870.
* George Bechtel, Louisville Grays, was banned in 1876 for conspiring with his teammates to throw (intentionally lose) a game for $500.
* Jim Devlin, George Hall, Al Nichols and Bill Craver, Louisville Grays, were banned in 1877 for conspiring to throw two games. No evidence was ever found to suggest that Craver actually had anything to do with the conspiracy, but refused to cooperate with the investigators.
* Oscar Walker, banned in 1877 for "contract jumping" by signing a contract to play for another team while still under contract to the team he left. (This was approximately 100 years prior to the advent of free agency in sports.)
* Richard Higham, umpire, banned in 1882 for conspiring to help throw a Detroit Wolverines game after Detroit's owner hired a private investigator to check out Higham's background, who found that he was a cohort of a known gambler. To date, Higham is the only umpire banned for life.
* Joseph Creamer, New York Giants (team physician), was banned in 1908 for bribing an umpire $2,500 to conspire against the Chicago Cubs during a playoff game against the Giants.
* Jack O'Connor and Harry Howell, manager and coach, respectively, of the St. Louis Browns, were banned in 1910 for attempting to fix the outcome of the 1910 American League batting title for Cleveland Indians player Nap Lajoie and against Ty Cobb.
* Horace Fogel, Philadelphia Phillies owner, was banned in 1912 for publicly asserting that the umpires favored the New York Giants and were making unfair calls against his team.

People banned under Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis

In 1920, Kenesaw Mountain Landis was voted by the team owners to become the first Commissioner of Baseball, ostensibly to keep the players in line and out of corruption's way. Landis, a federal judge, was the owners' ideal candidate for the job, and was given unlimited power over the game. He banned quite a lot of players and various others, often for very small offenses, and at times almost indiscriminately. Compared to his eventual successors, he ruled Major League Baseball with an iron fist for 24 years, until his death at age 77 in 1944.

* Eight players for the Chicago White Sox were banned in 1920 for conspiring with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series in the Black Sox scandal::* "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. The precise extent of Jackson's involvement is a controversial question.:* Eddie Cicotte. The story that Cicotte (proper pronunciation Chee-Coat-teh) had been promised a $10,000 bonus if he won 30 games and then was denied two starts at the end of the season is unsubstantiated. :* Lefty Williams:* Chick Gandil:* Fred McMullen:* Swede Risberg:* Happy Felsch:* Buck Weaver was banned because he knew of the conspiracy, but did not report it to MLB authorities and team ownership. It should be noted that White Sox management was aware of the fix, as Joe Jackson had asked to be benched so that no one would think he was involved. Weaver successfully sued owner Charles Comiskey for his 1921 salary. [Hap Felsch won his breach-of-contract suit against Comiskey, but Buck Weaver lost a similar action.]
* Joe Gedeon, St. Louis Browns, was banned in 1920, allegedly for conspiring with the gamblers behind the Black Sox scandal.
* Eugene Paulette, Philadelphia Phillies, was banned in 1921 for associating with known gamblers.
* Benny Kauff, New York Giants, was banned in 1920 for selling stolen cars. Commissioner Landis considered him "no longer a fit companion for other ball players," despite Kauff being acquitted of the charges against him in court.
* Lee Magee, Chicago Cubs, was released just before the season began. Magee sued the Cubs for his 1920 salary and lost. Court testimony proved he had been involved in throwing games and collecting on bets.
* Hal Chase, New York Giants, was banned in 1921 for consorting with gamblers, betting on his own teams and other corrupt practices. He had previously been accused of fixing games as early as 1910, and was reportedly passed over for managerial opportunities due to the allegations. In 1918, the scrupulously honest manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Christy Mathewson, had suspended Chase mid-season for fixing games, and John McGraw persuaded Mathewson to trade him to the Giants. However, at the end of the 1919 season, National League president John Heydler found evidence that Chase had indeed taken money from gamblers in 1918. Chase had been informally banned from the major leagues.
* Heinie Zimmerman, New York Giants, was banned in 1921 for encouraging his teammates to fix games. He had been benched by McGraw and later sent home during the 1919 season, and had been informally banned from the majors.
*Joe Harris, Cleveland Indians, was banned for life in 1920 after he chose to play for an independent team rather than the Indians. Harris was later allowed to play in the Major League due, in part, to his service during World War I.
* Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, was banned for two days in 1921 while he held out for a higher salary. Landis gave Groh an option: play for the Reds in 1921 or face lifetime banishment. Groh chose the former option, and played out the 1921 season.
* Ray Fisher, Cincinnati Reds, banned in 1921 after he refused to play for the Reds (he had asked for his outright release when the Reds cut his salary by $1,000; the Reds, however, refused to release him). He was hired by the University of Michigan to coach baseball the same year. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn reinstated him in 1980.
* Dickie Kerr, Chicago White Sox, was banned for life in 1921 under circumstances virtually identical to Fisher's banishment. Kerr had been a member of the 1919 Black Sox team, but he won both his starts in the contested 1919 World Series and was acquitted of involvement in the conspiracy. He was reinstated by Landis in 1925.
* Phil Douglas, New York Giants, was banned in 1922 after notifying an acquaintance on the St. Louis Cardinals that he planned to jump his club, the Giants, for the pennant stretch run to spite McGraw, with whom Douglas had had a severe falling out during the regular season.
* Jimmy O'Connell, New York Giants, was banned in 1924 for offering Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand $500 to throw a game between the two teams for his own and his gambler backers' financial gain.
* William B. Cox, Philadelphia Phillies owner, was banned in 1943 for betting on his team's games. Oddly, Cox and one of his predecessors, Horace Fogel, were both owners of the Phillies at different times and were both banned, making them (thus far) the only owners to be banned for life permanently.

People banned under Commissioner Bowie Kuhn

After Landis died in 1944, there was a long lull before the next banishment. During Bowie Kuhn's tenure (1969-1984), only three players (or former players) were banned for life.
* Ferguson Jenkins, Texas Rangers, first player to be banned for life due to a drug offense. In late 1980, during a customs search of his person in Toronto, Ontario, a small amount of cocaine was found. Kuhn promptly banned him for life, and Jenkins missed the rest of the by|1980 season, but an independent arbiter reinstated him. He returned to the game, playing until his retirement following the 1983 season. In 1991, he was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
* Mickey Mantle, retired since 1968 and Willie Mays, retired since 1973 and both in no way involved in baseball anymore, were banned for life after they were hired by a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as greeters and autograph signers. Kuhn opined that a casino was "no place for a baseball hero and Hall of Famer." Mantle and Mays were reinstated by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth, in 1985.

People banned under Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti

A. Bartlett Giamatti spent less than six months as Commissioner of Baseball before he died unexpectedly of a heart attack. His best-known act as Commissioner was the banishment of Pete Rose from baseball.

* Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds, for his alleged ties to gamblers. When new information (the Dowd Report) on Rose's gambling habits came to light, Giamatti banned Rose from baseball for life in 1989. Giamatti died of a heart attack eight days later. (Rose had originally been suspended in 1988 by Giamatti, who was then the president of the National League).

Note: Rose was granted a concession in which he could apply for reinstatement once a year for as long as he lived. As of 2006, he has applied for reinstatement twice. Commissioners Fay Vincent and Bud Selig have both refused to act on the respective reinstatement requests, and Rose remains permanently ineligible. Rose has recently admitted that "everything" the Dowd Report contained was the complete, unadulterated truth. [Associated Press, March 16, 2007 "Rose admits to betting on Reds 'every night'"] One of the big issues, on the side of Major League Baseball, was that an apology and an admission of wrongdoing would be the first step towards reinstatement.

People banned under Commissioner Fay Vincent

Fay Vincent became commissioner upon the death of Giamatti.
* George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees owner, banned in 1990 for paying a private investigator $40,000 to "dig up dirt" on Yankees player Dave Winfield in order to discredit him. The "dirt" most likely means anything anyone might have known about Winfield. Additionally, much of the information Steinbrenner received was from a small-time gambler and rackets-runner named Howard Spira, who had once worked for Winfield's charitable foundation. Steinbrenner's suspension was also the result of his association with a known gambler.

Note: To this day, the issue has not been resolved. In Steinbrenner's absence, his son took control of the Yankees, and then relinquished the team back to his father when Bud Selig (Vincent's successor) reinstated Steinbrenner in 1993.

* Steve Howe, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers (among other teams), banned in 1992 after a large number of suspensions related to drug use, particularly cocaine and alcohol. Shortly after his banishment, an independent arbiter reinstated Howe, who went on to pitch three more suspension-ridden seasons before finally calling it quits in 1996.

People banned since 1992

From 1996 to 1998, Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was banned from baseball for making racists statements critical of blacks and Jews and for making statements sympathetic to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

See also

* Baseball Commissioner
* Major League Baseball
* Major League Baseball Hall of Fame
* Major League Baseball Players Association


External links

* [ Baseball Rules Menu on Baseball Almanac]
* [ Baseball Steroid Suspensions]
* [ Major League Baseball's "permanently ineligible" list]

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