The Houston Astros got off lightly in the team’s sign-stealing caper, according to baseball great Hank Aaron.
The Astros were found to have used a center-field video feed to steal the signs from an opposing team’s catcher, and then indicate the coming pitch to a hitter by banging on a trash can. Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager AJ Hinch were suspended and later fired over the incident, but no player was punished. The team had to pay a $5 million fine and forfeited draft picks in 2020 and 2021, according to Fox News.
During an appearance Thursday on “Today,” Aaron, 86, was asked whether the incident came as a shock.
“I was surprised,” he said.
When asked whether sign-stealing took place in his playing days, Aaron replied: “They didn’t steal them that way.”
Hank is right the Astros players should have been penalized. Lifetime, my opinion no, but certainly suspensions, loss of WS title, WS $ to charity. They cheated their way to the 2017 title. Unacceptable @masnOrioles @mlb https://t.co/ij63kWXHVg
— Jim Palmer (@Jim22Palmer) February 7, 2020
When asked if he thought the punishments were appropriate, Aaron said: “No, I don’t.”
“I think whoever did that should be out of baseball the rest of their lives,” he said.
During the interview, Aaron was asked whether Pete Rose, banned from baseball for gambling, should be in the Hall of Fame.
“No,” shot back Aaron.
Aaron’s answer puts him at odds with President Donald Trump, who recently tweeted on Rose’s behalf.
“Pete Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin). He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price. GET PETE ROSE INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. It’s Time!”
Pete Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin). He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price. GET PETE ROSE INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. It’s Time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
Rose last week appealed for reinstatement, saying that the ban to which he agreed in 1989 was now unfair in the context of the Houston sign-stealing scandal, according to The Associated Press.
Many on Twitter supported Trump’s call to reinstate Rose.
While I’ve never been one to like the mixing of sport and politics, Donald Trump has absolutey nailed this. A great tweet. The statistics don’t lie and indeed Pete Rose has already, well and truly, paid the price for his mistakes of the past. He belongs in the HoF. https://t.co/iitPEz8aal
— Dan (@DanClarkSports) February 8, 2020
He has a point
I think Astros cheating was worse than what Pete Rose did, and no players were punished for cheating https://t.co/XHYKUoy5Jd
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) February 5, 2020
The Hit King has a point. If Altuve can keep his 2017 MVP plaque, Batting Crown and World Series ring in the face of all the evidence against the Astros, then Pete Rose, the all time hits leader, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. @MLB cannot have two standards. https://t.co/3jO6Mvevw2
— Jerry Hendrix (@JerryHendrixII) February 5, 2020
But when it comes to the Rose case, Aaron had supporters, too.
I’m with Hank Aaron on this one. No to Pete Rose. He bet on games he played in. What if the whole team did it? Just because it’s him?
If he does get in will it tell the story of how he bet on games? How much money he made?
— ReSparkled 💎 (@ReSparkled_) February 8, 2020
So far, Major Leage Baseball agrees with Aaron about Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball.
The case of the Astros and a World Series-winning season seems to be a different matter.
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