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Michael Pineda not Even Close to These Guys; a Look at the Top 5 All-Time Pitching Cheats in Baseball

April 25th, 2014 at 12:23 PM
By Mike Warsaw

When Michael Pineda was caught using pine tar on Wednesday night in Boston, he joined a long list of Major League pitchers who have doctored the baseball. It has been proven that pine tar doesn't alter or the change the delivery of the ball, but it does help the pitcher grip the ball. Thoughout the years countless pitchers have been caught using pine tar, most notably; Dodgers pitcher Jay Howell in game 3 of the 1988 NLCS, Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers in Game 2 of the 2006 World Series and more recently Tampa's Joel Peralta and Boston's Clay Buchholz. Pineda's suspension on Thursday has garnered a lot of media attention, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't even come close to these guys:

Top Five All-Time Pitching Cheats in Baseball

5. Tommy John – John collected 288 wins in his 26 year Major League career. Mostly known for the surgery that prolonged his career and allowed him to pitch an additional 14 years, John was one of the most  notorious ball doctorer's of his time. Once asked by a reporter how many pitches he had, John responded, " four basic ones.. plus eight illegal ones."

4. Kevin Gross – During the 1987 season, Phillies pitcher, Kevin Gross was caught with sandpaper in his glove and suspended for 10 games. What puts Gross on this list is that he was caught "scuffing" the baseball and had sandpaper on him, but to this day he denies any wrong doing. "I was caught with sandpaper in my glove," Gross said. "They thought I was supposedly scuffing the ball and I was ejected". Gross said that he didn't use it and was just "fooling" with the sandpaper. By not admitting to it after getting caught, Gross didn't "fool" anybody. 

3. Joe Niekro – Niekro enjoyed a 22 year career in the majors and was the younger brother of Hall Of Famer, Phil Niekro. While pitching for the Minnesota Twins in 1987, the home plate umpire approached the mound and asked Niekro to empty his pockets. Niekro tossed an emery board and a piece of sandpaper, so that the ump wouldn't see it. But the ump did see it (and so did the TV cameras) and Niekro was suspended 10 games for his antics.

2. Don Sutton – Although he never admitted to doctoring the baseball when he was pitching, it was a known fact that he did. While he was playing Sutton suggested that his nickname should be "Black & Decker" and of course, that became his nickname. Sutton was known for sharpening his wedding ring before the game and then scuffing the ball on the ring during the game. After he retired in 1988, the Hall Of Famer was asked if he ever used a foreign substance on the ball, Sutton replied, "Not true at all. Vaseline is manufactured right here in the United States."

1. Gaylord Perry – Inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1991, Perry accumulated 314 career wins and 3,534 strikeouts. Not to say that Perry didn't have a little help along the way. Long being accused throughout his 22 year career, Perry even named his 1974 autobiography, "Me an the Spitter". Perry admitted using any available substance he could on the baseball, including; Vaseline, saliva, fishing line wax, resin, sweat, dirt and K-Y jelly. 

Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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