With Bonds creeping closer and closer to the home run record, and Sammy having just hit his 600th home run, and Giambi unlikely to drop names when he speaks to George Mitchell, there seems to be a widespread belief that baseball needs to regain its integrity. But probably the real question we should be asking is: Did baseball ever have any integrity to lose in the first place? And the answer is probably not.
Whether people want to admit it or not, baseball is by far the most scandal-plagued sport in American history. The scandals have included everything from performance enhancing drugs to gambling to actual drugs. So we're going to go back in time and take a look at the worst scandals in MLB history, which include names such as Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Willie Mays and Willie Stargell.
1887 - Four players of the Louisville Greys were found to have thrown games in exchange for bribes from gamblers. All four were suspended by the Greys, and later by the National League. The team folded after the 1887 season.
1908 - There was an attempt to bribe the head umpire before a one-game playoff to decide the National League Championship between the Cubs and Giants. The bribe was to help the Giants win the championship and was reportedly done by the team's physician. The umpire didn't bite and the physician was banned for life from baseball (the Giants lost the game by the way). More recent research suggests that the bribe was orchestrated by Hall of Fame Giants manager and player John McGraw.
1914 - The powerful Philadelphia Athletics get swept in four games by the less than impressive Boston Braves. Rumors persist that the A's threw the series since team owner Connie Mack was notoriously stingy.
1917 - New York Giants lose to the White Sox in the World Series. Strong suspicions the Giants threw the series.
1918 - Cubs lose to the Red Sox in the World Series. Strong suspicions the Cubs threw the series.
1919 - Black Sox scandal where the White Sox lose to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight White Sox players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, are banned for life from the game for taking bribes to throw the series.
1921 - Hal Chase, considered one of the best first basemen of the early 20th century game, is banned for life from baseball. Chase won $40,000 in 1919 - he was playing for the Giants at the time - by betting on the Reds to beat the White Sox in the World Series. Winning $40,000 in 1919 would be the equivalent of winning over $510,000 today.
1926 - After retiring, pitcher Dutch Leonard produces letters that implicate Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker in throwing a game back in 1917. Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis meets secretly with the men and clears them of any wrongdoing. However, both men, who were player/managers at the time, left their teams and never managed again.
1947 - Dodgers manager Leo Durocher suspended for the entire 1947 season for having fraternized with known gamblers.
1985 - Pirates players Dave Parker, Dale Berra, Rod Scurry, Lee Mazzilli and John Milner are summoned before a Pittsburgh grand jury for their links to cocaine. Keith Hernandez, Tim Raines and Lonnie Smith were also summoned. This led to the 1985 Pittsburgh drug trials. During the trials Milner said he had received amphetamines from both Willie Mays and Willie Stargell during his playing days. Milner also said he bought two grams of coke in the bathroom stalls of Three Rivers Stadium for $200 during a game against the Astros in 1980. Raines admitted he kept cocaine in his back pocket during games and frequently snorted during games as well. Even Kevin Koch who was Pirate Parot, the team's mascot, was implicated for buying cocaine for players and introducing players to drug dealers. 11 active players ultimately faced harsh penalties for cocaine abuse.
1991 - Pete Rose banned from entrance to the Hall of Fame for betting on baseball. According to the Dowd Report, Rose bet on 52 Reds games in 1987 at a minimum of $10,000 a day.
2005-2007 - Steroid investigations find multiple players either used or are likely to have used steroids. Prominent names include Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi.
So in other words, if you look back on baseball as a whole, integrity has never really been a part of the game. And probably even more interesting is that the steroid uproar is probably one of the more minor scandals that has faced baseball during its long history.