When it comes to living under the microscope of the public eye, pro athletes have to endure the same level of public scrutiny as their silver screen counterparts. This often means that their bad behavior is broadcasted to the world — especially when one of our beloved ball players has broken the law.
While criminal activity and sports is nothing new, these MLB baseball players top the charts in terms of outlandish arrest stories. Here are the top 5 craziest arrests in all of major league baseball’s storied history.
1) Mike Leake
You’d think that a salary of $425,000 (plus a signing bonus of 2.3 million) would be enough cash for Leake to enjoy a comfortable living. However, many Reds fans were left scratching their heads in bewilderment when this wealthy pro athlete was arrested in 2011 for. . . misdemeanor shoplifting? Apparently Leake took a page from fellow five-fingered celebrity bandit, Winona Ryder, when he stole six t-shirts off the clearance rack at a Macy’s Department store. Maybe he just didn’t want to wait in line?
2) Pete Rose
Rose was yet another well-paid ballplayer who felt the need to have a side hustle to make extra cash. In 1990, Rose plead guilty on two counts of tax evasion for failing to report earnings he made through selling autographed memorabilia, and horse race winnings.
Unlike his colleague Mike Leake, Rose’s crime amounted to over $366,000 which he eventually had to pay in back taxes and interest. His punishment was more severe as well. While Leake merely received a slap on the wrist and an embarrassing charge on his criminal arrest record, Rose was sentenced to five months in a medium security prison, fined $50,000, and ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service.
3) Jim Leyritz
Our list takes a more serious turn when Yankees playoff hero, Jim Leyritz, when he was arrested in 2007 after he was involved in a drunk driving crash that killed the other driver. Leyritz was charged with a DUI and vehicular manslaughter. It was later discovered that the other driver who killed was also intoxicated and Leyritz was acquitted of his manslaughter charge three years later in 2010. To make legal matters even worse for Leyritz, he was also arrested in 2009 on an unrelated charge of battery against his former wife.
4) Byron McLaughlin
McLaughlin proves that pro baseball players getting arrested is nothing new. Back in the late ‘70s, McLaughlin played baseball for the Seattle Mariners by day, and ran a shady counterfeit shoe business by night. McLaughlin partnered with Korean manufacturers to create knock-offs of popular name brands such as Converse, Adidas, and Vans.
McLaughlin was selling the shoes across the border in Mexico, sometimes bringing in over $750,000 in just one month! The craziest part of this story? After McLaughlin plead guilty to money laundering charges, he fled the country and has never been seen since!
The 2013 MLB season has just started, and hopefully the latest round of draft picks won’t struggle with the same ethical dilemmas as their pro baseball predecessors.
Author byline: Jessica Ruane is a writer for Instant Checkmate.com, an online service that provides arrest records to the general public.