Last week, we asked you to take part in an online poll that would serve to rank ethical transgressions across the history of baseball. I have no way of knowing if you did it, but at least 35,000 people took part in the The Hardball Times poll and they've done their math and calculated the results. So what was the worst thing ever?
In 1899, a minor league player, taking exception to a call made by umpire Samuel White, hit the ump on the head with a bat and killed him. This was voted the single most unethical act in the history of professional baseball, out of 133 such scenarios presented last week by THT.
So besides the ump killings, it seems that the readers who voted tended to group organizational racism (i.e. keeping African-Americans out until 1947) as unethical as gambling on baseball. Both of those were deemed to be worse than steroids or other performance-enhancing shenanigans. Everything was deemed to be worse than sign-stealing or catchers chatting up the batter to distract him.
Of course, this was all based on a college course in which the students got to rank all 133 scenarios individually, as opposed to merely voting on them two by two. The students put the organizational racism right on top, while even including Bill Veeck's 10 cent beer night among the top twelve. Really? What's unethical about 10 cent beer?
The entire list is also online. You'll notice that Pete Rose's gambling problems come in 17th place while Rafael Palmeiro's finger wag before Congress comes in 21st place, thus proving my point: Pete Rose is a dickbag.