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The Biggest Cheaters In Baseball: Where Are They Now?

Today, cheating in the MLB is synonymous with using performance enhancing drugs, but there’s always unique and rare cases.

The National League was created in 1876 and by 1903 (114 years ago), Major League Baseball was born. Even in its youth, the league had to deal with cheaters, but not the kind of swindlers you would think of today. Back then, it was about bribery, such as the “Black Sox” scandal of 1919. Today, cheating in the MLB is more synonymous with using performance enhancing drugs, but there’s always unique and rare cases.

To understand the ties between PEDs and the MLB and why it’s looked down upon today, here’s a quick history lesson. In 2003, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) was a business that supplied anabolic steroids to professional athletes and was under US Federal government investigation. Several important stars on this list were caught up in the investigation. In 2005, former player Jose Canseco, wrote a book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big and accused many stars of taking steroids. The BALCO investigation combined with Canseco’s claims triggered a Congressional hearing where many top players attended. Democratic United States Senator from Maine, George J. Mitchell, had a 20-month investigation into steroid and human growth hormone use in the MLB.

The “Mitchell Report” named many players linked to steroid use. Today, many of these players are still feeling the effects of their decisions. Some of us may be capricious about the punishment of those who get caught using steroids and, with the 2017 season ready to begin, who knows who may be popped next. With all that in mind, let's look at 15 of the biggest cheaters in baseball and where they ended up!

15 Miguel Tejada

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Miguel Tejada lit the world on fire in 2002 when he put the Oakland Athletics on his back with a batting average of .308, 34 home runs, 131 RBIs, and 204 hits. He would become the American League MVP that year and would go on to have a several more seasons with similar stats. Instead of ending his career on top in the big leagues, he would retire while playing in the minor leagues. What changed?

14 Gaylord Perry

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Gaylord Perry never was caught using steroids to enhance his performance, but he did get caught tinkering with the baseball. Apparently, the Hall of Fame pitcher produced his 316-265 record with the help of Vaseline and spit. Ever watch the classic baseball film Major League? He’s basically the character Eddie Harris, who is played by Chelcie Ross. In 1982, Perry would be suspended ten games for doctoring the ball.

13 Jenrry Mejia

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He doesn’t have the name recognition of Alex Rodriguez, nor the physical attributes of Mark McGwire, however, Mejia has been banned for life from the MLB. Yes, that’s right, he's the first player ever to be banned for life due to performance enhancing drugs. The New York Mets pitcher was suspended for 80 games in the 2015 season when he tested positive for PEDs. He then tested positive again that same year and a third time in 2016.

12 Ryan Braun

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Ryan Braun was living on top of the world when he became the National League MVP in 2011. That season, he tallied a batting average of .332, 33 home runs and 111 RBIs. The results of a urine test submitted by Braun were then leaked to ESPN’s Outside the Lines in December of that year. The results concluded that Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone due to steroids. He would challenge the results and win. In 2012, Braun would have another epic season, putting up similar numbers to his MVP year.

11 Rafael Palmeiro

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During his 20 year career as a first baseman and outfielder, Palmeiro would produce a batting average of .288, 569 home runs, and 1,835 RBIs. He would be considered a first ballot Hall of Fame nomination, however, the pristine image of his character would come crashing down in 2005. He would be accused by Jose Canseco of being injected with steroids and would be called in as a guest at the Congressional hearing in 2005.

10 Manny Ramirez

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He helped bring a World Series back to the Boston Red Sox after a drought that lasted from 1918 to 2004. Forever a saint in the eyes of Boston fans, Manny could do no wrong, however, the MLB thought differently when he was suspended for 50 games in 2009 for violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. From there, he got suspended for 100 games in 2011 for testing positive for a banned substance.

9 Albert Belle

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This story has been lost with time, but it’s still a good one to tell. Albert Belle didn’t get caught for steroids, however, he infamously was caught using a corked bat on July 15th, 1994, while with the Cleveland Indians. Umpire Dave Phillips confiscated the bat due to White Sox coach, Gene Lamont, asserting the bat was illegal. Phillips would put the bat in his locker room and wait until after the game to examine it.

The Indians knew it was a corked bat, so they decided to send pitcher Jason Grimsley on an impossible mission. Grimsley slithered through a crawl space leading to Phillips locker and replaced the corked bat with a regulated one. “My heart was going 1,000 miles a second,” said Grimsley in an ESPN interview. Belle’s teammate, Omar Vizquel, also stated, “All of Albert’s bats were corked.” Belle would receive just a seven-game suspension for his actions.

8 Jason Giambi

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Jason Giambi would make his MLB debut in 1995 for the Oakland Athletics and by 2000 he would become the American League MVP. After a 20 year career in the MLB, Giambi would finish with a batting average of .277, 440 home runs, and 1,441 RBIs. He would earn five All-Star appearances, two Silver Slugger Awards, and AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2005.

7 Jose Canseco

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After a 17 year career, Jose Canseco would end up producing a batting average of .266, 462 home runs, and 1,407 RBIs. The bulking All-Star was a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, two-time home run leader and was a two-time World Series champion. In 2005, Canseco told the world he used anabolic steroids in his book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.

6 Sammy Sosa

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Sammy Sosa would make seven All-Star appearances, win the National League MVP, and become a six-time Silver Slugger Award winner in his 18 years of service to the MLB. Playing most of his career with the Chicago Cubs, it would seem he would also be a victim of the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” That curse was shattered when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, but during Sosa’s career, it was a supernatural force to be reckoned with.

5 Roger Clemens

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A terrifying pitcher in his era, Roger Clemens was an absolute monster and once in a lifetime talent for the MLB. Starting his career in 1984 for the Boston Red Sox, he would pitch for 24 years. In that time, he would rack up 354 wins, an ERA of 3.12, and seven CY Young Awards. The 11-time All-Star would also become a two-time World Series champion. Clemens would be another player accused by Jose Canseco of using steroids in 2005.

4 Mark McGwire

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“Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or see me sock a few dingers?” The crowd chanted dingers and with the swing of the bat, McGwire,and the MLB deflected the suspicions the small town of Springfield had about their spy program. Thus, another great episode of The Simpsons ended.

McGwire may not be the NSA or Russian hackers, however, the guy was in deep trouble during the hunt for steroid abusers in the MLB. Spanning 16 seasons with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, McGwire finished his career with an unbelievable resume. He had a batting average of .263, 583 home runs, and 1,414 RBIs when he retired. McGwire became the first man to reach 70 home runs in a season doing the feat in 1998 but his achievement would be a controversial topic involving steroids.

3 Barry Bonds

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73. That’s the number of home runs Bonds hit in 2001 when he broke the record for most dingers in a single season. It was a very exciting time to be watching baseball and Bonds was the biggest star the MLB had. People would be glued to the television or radio, just waiting to see or hear about another home run from this titan. Bonds debuted in 1986 and for 22 years he would destroy pitchers. He finished with a batting average of .298, 762 home runs, and 1,996 RBIs.

2 Alex Rodriguez

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When Barry Bonds became tainted because of his scandals, the MLB looked to a new hero and found Alex Rodriguez. It was the wrong move as A-Rod would be suspended for the entire 2014 season due to violating the Performance Enhancing Drugs policy. He would lie and try to cover up his use of PEDs, thus making his situation more of a quagmire when he did get caught.

1 Pete Rose

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We can quibble about the word cheater and in this case, we can ask ourselves did Rose ever tank any games to make money while gambling, but the fact remains Rose can't prove he didn't lose games for money.

He has the all-time record of 4,256 hits, a career batting average of .303, three World Series Championships, a National League MVP and Rookie of the Year award, three NL batting titles, and made the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Rose is the greatest major league player to never be put in the Hall of Fame and was banned from the MLB when he was busted for gambling on the sport in 1989.

The investigation in 1989 found that Rose gambled $10,000 on 52 games in 1987. Rose finally admitted he did gamble in 2004 publicly, but said he never bet against the Cincinnati Reds, the team he coached. Today, Rose has eased himself back in the MLB community and has become a Fox Sports analyst. There's still a large number of supporters who want him inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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The Biggest Cheaters In Baseball: Where Are They Now?