Well, we knew it wouldn’t be good news for Atlanta Braves GM John Coppoelella. A lifetime ban is a big deal but will it stick?
Even two of baseball’s biggest icons were once handed lifetime bans. But for Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, it had nothing to do with their playing careers. Then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned the duo after they began working as greeters for casinos in Atlantic City. Kuhn was rankled by the gambling connection when he handed down the ban, which was reversed two years later by Peter Ueberroth.
Arguably the most infamous scandal in baseball history, the Chicago White Sox throwing of the 1919 World Series led to lifetime bans for eight players. “Shoeless” Joe was the most controversial of the bunch, given that he rocked a .375 average in the series and maintained his innocence. None of the eight have been reinstated.
This is perhaps baseball’s best-known lifetime ban — if only because Pete Rose makes sure we don’t forget about him. Managing the Cincinnati Reds after years starring for them, Pete Rose was booted from the game in 1989 for gambling on baseball. He’s made four bids for reinstatement, all denied, eventually coming clean about his misdeeds in 2004 (with a tell-all book and publicity tour, of course.) Still, baseball’s all-time hits king remains out of baseball and out of the Hall of Fame.
Texas Rangers pitcher Ferguson Jenkins was thrown out of baseball by commissioner Bowie Kuhn after getting caught with a small array of recreational drugs during a customs search in Toronto. Like Kuhn’s other two lifetime bans, Jenkins’ was overturned. In fact, he was back playing the very next season and was elected to the Hall of Fame 11 years later.
Steve Howe took baseball by storm, winning Rookie of the Year in 1980, saving the clinching game of the 1981 World Series and making the All-Star team in 1982. But after that, there was all sorts of trouble — well, one sort of trouble (drugs) and all sorts of suspensions (seven). He was handed a lifetime ban in 1992, but managed to win an appeal and get reinstated. His return was short-lived; he was out of the game by 1996. Howe died in 2006 after his truck flipped in Coachella, Calif.
The only woman to have received a lifetime ban, former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott made the list when Bud Selig gave her the boot in 1996 for disparaging comments about African-Americans, Asians, Jews and homosexuals. She also expressed her support for the policies of Adolf Hitler (Schott said he “was good in the beginning, but went too far.”) Schott was reinstated in 1998, but sold the team a year later and died in 2005 at age 75.
Even The Boss can get banned. George Steinbrenner was kicked out by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on his own player (Dave Winfield). Bud Selig reinstated Steinbrenner three years later and he stayed in the game until 2006, when he turned the Yankees over to his sons.
So now former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella is banned from working in professional baseball for life (announced Tuesday, November 21, 2017) over rule violations the club committed in signing international players.
Coppolella was forced to resign as general manager on Oct. 2 after MLB investigators disclosed that the Braves had flouted international signing rules between 2015 and 2017. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team’s international scouting chief, was suspended from performing services for any team for one year.