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ambling was present in baseball almost from the inception of the game in 1839. One of the first accounts of gambling dates back to September 10,1858 when the Brooklyn Eckfords played the New York Mutuals. Two opposing fans placed a $100 bet on whether John Holden would hit a home run. One of the bettors had also promised Holden $25 if he were to hit a home run. With Matt O'Brien pitching, Holden connected. He circled the bases for a home run and eventually collected $25 from the winning bettor.

A few years later in 1865, the first gambling scandal in baseball history occurred. Three members of the New York Mutuals accepted $100 apiece for throwing the September 28th game against the Brooklyn Eckfords. Two of the three players were then expelled from baseball.

In 1877, the famous Louisville Scandal took place. The scandal not only tarnished the integrity of baseball, but it nearly ruined the game itself. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, a local newspaper that covered the Louisville Grays, predicted an end to professional baseball. As a result of the scandal, the Louisville team folded and the four ballplayers involved were permanently expelled.

After the Louisville scandal, it was widely believed that gambling in baseball had been completly eradicated.




"When Gambling Ruled," New York Giants Manager John McGraw

All baseball players were put on notice that throwing games would result in their immediate and permanent expulsion. Not long after that (in 1882), Richard Higham was the only umpire expelled from baseball for dishonest officiating.

Incidents of gambling in baseball steadily increased after the turn of the century. This increase prompted American League President Ban Johnson to issue an order in 1903 forbidding all gambling and betting in American League parks. Johnson's order was greatly ignored as gambling continued to infest baseball. Two years later, New York Giants manager John McGraw was involved in a gambling incident during the A's-Giants World Series. McGraw had placed $400 on the Giants to win the Series. After New York defeated the A's in 5 games, McGraw collected on his winnings and never faced any discipline over the incident.

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