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5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Michel Pineda Gerry Davis inspects Michel Pineda for pine tar, clearly visible on his neck.
Credit: Getty Images

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Baseball has a long history of cheating, and while corked bats and steroids have dominated most of the cheating conversations, pitchers aren't immune from doctoring the ball to get an advantage.

From Yankee Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, who is credited with "inventing" the scuff ball, to fellow Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, the master of the spitter, there is no shortage of pitchers to choose from.

We look at a few of the most recent — that is, caught on video — pitchers to get the heave-ho from a game for cheating.

1. Joel Peralta — June 19, 2012

Pineda joins Rays pitcher Joel Peralta as someone to be called out by the opposing team for using pine tar. Peralta spent the 2010 season in Washington, so when the Rays and Nationals met in an inter league matchup two years later, the bench was ready. Peralta apparently kept pine tar in his glove — usually a safe place unless your opponent knows your secret. He came out to pitch the eighth inning of what was eventually a 5-4 Rays win, but never got to throw a pitch. Peralta even tipped his cap toward the Nats dugout as he was leaving the game. He knew the score. Peralta was suspended eight games by MLB, though he appealed and pitched the very next day without incident.

2. Joe Niekro — Aug. 3, 1987

The knuckleballer, who pitched for seven teams — including the Yankees — over a 22-year career, couldn't quite get away with an infamous sleight of hand in August 1987. The Twins pitcher was actually struggling through a meeting with the Angels (3 1/3 innings, two runs, four walks) when the umpires thought his knuckleball was looking a little too fluttery. They looked at his glove, the ball and hat but couldn't find anything — until he emptied his pockets. Niekro tried to toss an emery board he was using to scuff the ball to the side, but one eagle-eyed ump caught it flying to the ground. He was ejected and eventually suspended 10 games.

Brendan Donnelly Credit: Getty Images

3. Brendan Donnelly — June 14, 2005

Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly didn't have a lot of friends in baseball due to crossing the picket lines and playing as a replacement player with the Reds during the 1994-95 strike. His smugness on the mound probably didn't help either. So on June 14, 2005, when he came in to face the Nationals, it's unlikely the Washington manager — and baseball lifer — Frank Robinson felt much apathy for making the umps check him for a foreign substance. After inspecting his glove, and literally confiscating it, Donnelly was ejected and walked gloveless to the showers. He was suspended 10 games as a result.

Gaylord Perry Credit: Getty Images

4. Gaylord Perry — Aug. 23, 1982

As mentioned, Gaylord Perry was infamous for throwing a spitball. But he was only ever ejected once in his 22-year Hall of Fame career. That came in August 1982, his second-to-last season, against the Red Sox. But it wasn't the Sox who objected, instead it was home plate umpire Dave Phillips, who said he found "a funny substance" on the ball in the fifth inning. When Phillips suspected it of happening again in the seventh inning, Perry was ejected.

5. Michael Pineda — April 23, 2014

Pineda joins this list with Wednesday night's ejection against the Red Sox. Red Sox manager John Farrell asked home plate ump Gerry Davis to have a look for pine tar after broadcasts picked up a substance on Pineda's neck. It was just a couple starts ago, against Boston at Yankee Stadium, that Red Sox station NESN discussed a substance on Pineda's pitching hand. He said after that game it was just mud. But Davis had no choice but to eject Pineda after touching the pine tar on the starter's neck.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.

 

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