Who Admitted to Betting on Baseball While Managing the Reds?

The 2018 World Baseball Classic brought together the best baseball players from across the planet, creating one of the most exciting sporting events in history. One of the greatest moments of the tournament was when John McGraw, managing the Chinese national team, admitted to placing a bet on his team to beat the Americans in the semi-final game. With America’s arch-rival China in the final game of the tournament, everyone was on edge. Would the Red Machine finally dismantle the D-Backs?

But one man didn’t get the opportunity to bask in the glory of the moment: Frank Robinson. Robinson was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds during McGraw’s time as a player, but he was fired two years after the World Baseball Classic in favor of his Chinese counterpart, Bob O’Neill. Despite being a native of Cincinnati, where the team plays, and having a strong personal connection to the game, Robinson didn’t get the chance to manage in the World Baseball Classic. He died in 2017 at the age of 89.

Red Legend

The death of one of the game’s greatest managers was felt deeply by baseball fans, many of whom considered him to be the greatest player-manager ever. McGraw, who won four World Series rings managing the New York Yankees, was at the helm of Team China and was widely considered the favorite to win the tournament. Having never managed in Asia before, he didn’t have much experience against top-notch competition. But he proved everyone wrong, leading his team to a 4-0 record and a spot in the final game against the Americans.

Along with Robinson, other major figures in Reds history were also overlooked by the organizers of the World Baseball Classic. While Ty Cobb and Roger Craig were both part of the team representing the United States, they didn’t get a chance to play due to the distance they were from home. Even the great Hall of Fame manager Bob Scheffler, who was the manager of the 1939 Yankees, didn’t get a chance to lead his former team to victory in the World Baseball Classic. He died in 2016 at the age of 99.

Betting On Baseball

Baseball has been around for more than a century, but it has only recently become a game that people openly discuss and debate whether or not to bet on. In the early 1900s, some of the top baseball players in the world were making a good living off their skills, often donating the money they earned to charity. The game was viewed as a poor man’s sport, and those who could afford to bet on it did so during games, sometimes placing large sums of money on the games. Things started changing when the Negro League and the Major League gradually integrated, resulting in more black players in the sport. With more players of color involved, the game started attracting more middle-class and upper-middle-class men, as well as women who liked to attend games and bet on them.

In the early 21st century, betting on baseball became so popular that people started using games to hedge their bets. If they thought a team was going to win, they would put money on that team. If they felt it was going to be a close game, they would place a bet on the underdogs. The stigma that surrounded the game and those who played it began to slowly fade, and gamblers saw it as a risk-free way to make a lot of money. The Cincinnati Reds, who have the highest winning percentage in the major leagues, have been popular betting picks for years, and for a good reason. They are a well-managed team that always puts up a fight, resulting in lots of exciting games.

But things changed in 2018 when the World Baseball Classic returned, this time with 24 teams instead of 12. The teams were divided into groups, and the top two teams from each group advanced to the semi-finals, where they would be pitted against each other. The excitement level was much higher than expected, and lots of people decided to bet on the games, sometimes placing huge wagers on events they knew nothing about.

One of the most outrageous bets was placed by a 62-year-old resident of New York named Roy Farwell. Farwell placed a $40,000 wager on the underdogs, the Chinese national team, to beat the favored Americans. In the end, the Red Machine was unstoppable and won the whole thing, much to the dismay of Farwell.

Betting, Scrutiny And Corruption

The game of baseball has been around for so long that its very existence is almost synonymous with scrutiny and scandal. It’s no secret that the game is rife with corruption, and it doesn’t hurt that many of the top-level baseball players are incredibly handsome and charismatic, easily attracting women and men alike. If you’re a major-league manager or owner and you’ve got a sweetheart deal that you want to keep quiet, you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your interests are protected.

We already mentioned that Bob Scheffler didn’t get the chance to manage in the World Baseball Classic because he was too much of a homebody, stuck in a retirement community in Florida. Another example of a man whose life was touched by the corruption that surrounds the sport is Willie Mays, who earned the nickname “The Say Hey Kid” while playing for the San Francisco Giants in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He would often get paid in cash by gamblers and returned the money to them, pocketing most of it. He was eventually banned for life from baseball after he admitted to taking bribes and kickbacks while playing for the Giants.

These and other cases of prominent people in baseball getting in trouble for corruption are almost too numerous to mention. It’s a sad state of affairs that the greatest sport in the world is also the most corrupt. But it’s something that most fans probably feel comfortable talking about, as long as they do so in the right way. Any type of commentary that tries to dig into the corruption that surrounds the game is usually met with aggressive, defensive attitudes from fans of all races and genders. People love their baseball, and they don’t want to see it messed with.

Managers, Players And The Game

Now that you’ve got an understanding of how and why people bet on baseball, let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest names in baseball history and the notable matches they had as players and managers. First, we’ll start with the greatest player-manager of all time, Joe Mauer. Born and raised in Minnesota, Joe Mauer played in five World Series with the Minnesota Twins and was the manager of the 2007 World Series champion team. He broke in with the Twins in 1995 and became the franchise’s all-time leader in almost every major category, including batting average (3rd), runs (4th), home runs (4th), and RBI (4th). He retired in 2018 and was replaced by Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. Rocco is also the son of Joe Mauer’s former teammate, Bobby Baldelli, who managed the Twins from 1964-1969 and also worked as a color commentator for television games alongside his son. When Bobby was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994, Joe Mauer gave him a hearty congratulations.

Ty Cobb, Honored With A Statue

The great American game owes its existence to a man named Ty Cobb, who played in the major leagues between 1909 and 1934 and is considered one of the greatest defensive players of all time. He is most famous for his legendary defense, which consisted of making diving stabs at grounders, often sliding into them to save runs. In his time, Cobb averaged almost a defensive run saved per game, leading numerous publications to dub him “The Human Eraser.”

Cobb played for the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Athletics during his career, leading the Tigers to their first World Series in 1912 and then winning a second title with the A’s in 1916. In both series, he had the remarkable feat of batting.400, going 18-48 with nine home runs in the 1912 World Series and 37-119 with 18 homers in the 1916 A’s championship series. Detroit fans will still celebrate Ty Cobb’s birthday even today; a statue of the athlete stands outside Comerica Park, the team’s home. The statue was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and inaugurated in 1991, the 80th anniversary of Cobb’s death.

Jackie Robinson, Pioneering Integration

Another man who deserves to be remembered for his work in bringing baseball to the masses is Jackie Robinson. Robinson broke into the Major Leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and became the first black player to integrate the sport, paving the way for other African-Americans to play. His number, 42, was subsequently retired by the Dodgers, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Since that time, many other Major Leagues have also retired his number.