There are no rules in international waters, but apparently, there are rules when it comes to signing international players, and the Atlanta Braves broke those rules.
It was announced today that the Braves have to forfeit 12 international prospects as punishment for breaking rules when it came to the packaging of signing bonuses during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 international signing periods. Nine players from 2016-17 and three from 2017-18 will be declared free agents, and the Braves will lose a draft pick next June. In addition, former Braves special assistant Gordon Blakeley will be suspended for one year, and former GM John Coppolella will be placed on the permanently ineligible list. AKA banned for life.
Coppolella joins an eclectic group of players and management who have been kicked out of the league, spanning all the way back to the late 1800s, when baseball got its start in the country.
Here’s just some of the good company that Coppolella will have on the outside looking in:
- Eight Chicago White Sox players: Participated in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. PLayers include Eddie Cicotte, Lefty Williams, and of course, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
- Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle: The two were banned in 1980 and 1983, respectively, for being hired by casinos in New Jersey to act as greeters and autograph signers. The two were reinstated in 1985.
- Pete Rose: Ya know, bet on some baseball games when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. His ban is still one of the most talked about and discussed issues (mostly when Rose tries to campaign for himself to get reinstated).
- George Steinbrenner: Banned in 1990 for paying a private investigator $40,000 to find out information on Yankees player Dave Winfield.
- Jenrry Mejia: Baseball’s first idiot to get a lifetime ban for breaking the three strikes rule of steroid use. And he wasn’t even that good.
- Chris Correa: The last victim of the list prior to Coppolella. Correa had a role in the whole Cardinals-hacking-the-Astros situation in 2015. He was also sentenced to 46 months in prison for unauthorized access of a protected computer.
And here are some of the ridiculous reasons why people were banned:
- Oscar Walker: He contract jumped in 1877 by signing a contract to play for another team while under contract to the team he left. He’s the real pioneer of free agency.
- Lip Pike: In 1881, his playing was so bad it was suspicious, and thus he was banned from the National League and added to the blacklist.
- Horace Fogel: As the Phillies owner, he was banned in 1912 for publicly saying that umpires favored the New York Giants and were making unfair calls against his team. If this was still a thing now, MLB wouldn’t have any managers or owners.
- Benny Kauff: He was banned in 1920 for selling stolen cars.
The majority of the members on the banned list had some involvement in gambling, fixing games, or bribing players to throw games. One can only imagine what someone does next to get on the list. Until then, Coppolella is the most recent appointee.