Foreign substances on mound nothing new
Michael Pineda is only the latest in a long line of pitchers suspected of nefarious conduct on the mound.
After the New York Yankees’ right-hander kept Boston’s offense in check for six innings Thursday night, postgame talk centered on the dark, seemingly tacky substance that had been on the lower palm of Pineda’s pitching hand. The game was never stopped for an umpire to examine Pineda.
Previous hurlers haven’t been so lucky. Here are six other noteworthy controversies involving the men of the mound:
PERRY EJECTED: Well after the end of his Hall of Fame career, Gaylord Perry could still joke about his infamous spitball. In 1982, the Seattle star was ejected for allegedly throwing the pitch against the Boston Red Sox. It was the first ejection for Perry, who was subsequently suspended for 10 days.
SANDY SITUATIONS: In 1987, Philadelphia pitcher Kevin Gross was suspended for 10 days after he was caught with sandpaper in his glove. That same year, Minnesota’s Joe Niekro also got 10 days for carrying an emery board and sandpaper in his back pocket.
PLAYOFF BAN: Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jay Howell was suspended for two days during the 1988 NL championship series against the New York Mets after he was found to have pine tar on his glove.
SUSPICIOUS SMUDGE: Early in Game 2 of the 2006 World Series, umpires asked Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers to clean off his left hand, concerned about a brown smudge on the base of his thumb. Rogers insisted it was just a mix of mud, resin, spit and dirt. Rogers’ hand was clean when he came out for the second inning, and he went on to pitch shutout ball in the Tigers’ only victory of the series against St. Louis.
MANAGERIAL SQUABBLE: Davey Johnson, who managed the Mets in the 1988 NLCS, was leading the Washington Nationals in 2012 when he raised questions about the glove of Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta. Umpires found pine tar, Peralta was ejected. The incident led to a testy back-and-forth between Johnson and Rays manager Joe Maddon, who insisted it was ”underhanded” of Johnson to use inside information against Peralta, who had previously pitched for the Nationals. Maddon said pine tar use is ”common knowledge in the industry” and doesn’t help a pitcher that much anyway. Johnson’s response: ”Read the rulebook.”
PLEADING IGNORANCE: Last season, Miami’s Alex Sanabia was caught spitting directly onto the ball and said he didn’t know that was illegal. His actions were so blatant that the explanation seemed credible. He would pitch only once more for the Marlins before going down with a groin injury.