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MLB Player Gets Lifetime Ban For Betting His Team

Four Others Also Suspended For One Year

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Even more sports betting controversies surfaced on Tuesday with Major League Baseball suspending five players involved with wagering, including banning one player for life.

San Diego Padres infielder/outfielder Tucupita Marca, 24, was placed on the permanently ineligible list for violating MLB sports betting rules. Four other players received one-year suspensions for other gambling-related violations including Oakland A’s pitcher Michael Kelly and minor league players Jay Groome (Padres pitcher), José Rodríguez (Phillies infielder), and Andrew Saalfrank (Diamondbacks pitcher).

“The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century. We have been clear that the privilege of playing in baseball comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of behavior that are legal for other people.

Details On The Suspensions

The move against Marcano became the league’s first lifetime ban of a player for an incident related to gambling since Jimmy O’Connell of the New York Giants in 1924. Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose was also banned for life for betting on baseball in 1989. (He acted as a player/manager until 1986.)

MLB reported that Marcano, who has played 149 MLB games, made 387 bets on baseball totaling over $150,000 in October 2022 and between July through November in 2023 with a legal sportsbook. The league also alleges that he bet on his own team, a critical violation of league integrity rules that comes with the punishment of a lifetime ban.

MLB Rule 21 notes that “any player, umpire or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.”

The other four players are all believed to have bet less than $1,000, according to MLB. The league said that none of the games Marcano bet on were compromised and that the case came to light after a notification from a legal sportsbook in March. The Associated Press reported that the league has now put additional monitoring in place for gambling-related issues.

In April, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter for life for violating NBA betting rules. The NFL has also dealt with betting controversies and suspensions over the last year as well.