Major League Baseball’s ineligible list has been the topic of conversation all week thanks to an evolving scandal with the Houston Astros and a sign-stealing scheme, and now the consequences of that list may be changing.
According to a report from ESPN’s Don Van Natta, a Major League source says that the league’s ineligible list only stays in place while the person on the list is alive. The reasoning is simple: the list is in place to keep people from getting jobs in baseball, something that isn’t possible after they die.
A senior MLB source told ESPN that the league has no hold on banned players after they die because the ineligible list bars players from privileges that include a job with a major league club.
“From our perspective, the purpose of the ineligible list is a practical matter,” the source told ESPN. “It’s used to prevent someone from working in the game. When a person on the ineligible list passes away, he’s unable to work in the game. And so for all practical purposes, we don’t consider a review of the status of anyone who has passed away.”
The most obvious example of this is Pete Rose, the MLB’s all-time hit king who was banned from baseball when he was accused of betting on the sport while he was working as a manager. Shoeless Joe Jackson, part of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, is perhaps a more pertinent case, as he’s no longer living and there have been requests to reexamine his case in recent years.
Former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman is now also on that list, barring him from getting another job in baseball. It’s unclear how big the scale of the Astros scandal will get, though sign-stealing has already cost three MLB managers and one GM their jobs. It is, however, important to note the stance doesn’t officially change anything with how the Baseball Hall of Fame handles its ballots.
“We’re agnostic about a player’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame, whether they’re dead or alive,” an MLB source told ESPN.
This doesn’t mean any deceased people on the list will gain entrance to Cooperstown, but it certainly opens the door to that happening.