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You dirty scoundrel, how could you?

A look back at some of the more infamous gambling scandals in sports.

By TOM JONES
Published July 27, 2007


In light of the NBA scandal involving a referee allegedly betting on games he officiated, we look back at some of the more infamous gambling scandals in sports.

Pete Rose

The story: Baseball's all-time hit leader has been banned from baseball and denied entrance into the Hall of Fame after betting on baseball games while managing. He even bet on his own team, but always to win, Rose claims.

How bad it was: Pretty darn bad. While it seems like no big deal to some because he was betting on his own team to win, how many times did Rose, say, wreck his bullpen or play players who needed a day off just to win some game in August? A manager can't manage every regular-season game as if it's the seventh game of the World Series.

The Black Sox

The story: Baseball's greatest scandal as eight players, including legendary "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, are banned for life by commissioner Judge Kenesaw Landis for throwing the 1919 World Series. The Eight Men Out were found not guilty in court and there is debate on whether some even truly fixed games. Jackson, for example, batted .375 with no errors in 30 chances and threw out several runners.

How bad it was: Actually, it was good for baseball. It created the role of a commissioner and rid itself of all the unsavory gamblers who had infiltrated the game.

CCNY

The story: College basketball's worst scandal as City College of New York, the first team to win both the NCAA and NIT tournaments in 1950, was found to have shaved points in 1951. CCNY was just one of several teams busted, including Bradley, Long Island and Manhattan.

How bad it was: It turned out to be comical when legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp used African-American and Jewish slurs to criticize CCNY and said gamblers could never touch his team with a 10-foot pole. Two years later, gamblers must have found a longer pole because Kentucky players were caught shaving points.

Leo Durocher

The story: The famous baseball manager was suspended for the entire 1947 season by commissioner Albert "Happy" Chandler for "association with known gamblers." Durocher loved to play cards and pool, but it was never proven that he threw games or even bet on them.

How bad it was: Not bad at all. If anything, it sent a message to all in baseball to be careful who your friends are and Durocher survived the scandal with no scars.

Paul Hornung and Alex Karras

The story: Hornung, the Packers back, and Karras, the Lions defensive lineman, were suspended for the 1963 season for betting on their games and hanging out with the wrong people. Do you realize that until "Pacman" Jones was suspended for the upcoming season that this was the longest non-drug related suspension in NFL history?

How bad it was: Pretty tame, actually. It isn't believed Hornung or Karras fixed games. The NFL reviewed the case after a year and lifted the suspension. Both continued their successful careers and remained very popular after their playing days ended.

Rick Tocchet

The story: Tocchet, an NHL assistant coach and former player, was accused of organizing a nationwide gambling ring involving a variety of sports - but, apparently, not hockey.

How bad it was: It went from not that big of a deal to a major story when it was learned that his head coach's wife was involved. It just so happened that his head coach was Wayne Gretzky and Gretzky's wife is actor Janet Jones. From all indications, Gretzky had no idea about the gambling ring.

Don Gallinger and Billy Taylor

The story: Two NHL players were caught in a gambling scandal in 1948. Gallinger, who played for the Bruins, was caught on a wiretap with a known gambler placing bets on NHL games. Taylor admitted later he wagered on NHL games.

How bad it was: It's not believed either bet against his own team, but both were suspended for life by NHL president Clarence Campbell. They were reinstated by the league in 1970, but neither returned to the NHL in any capacity.

Northwestern football and basketball

The story: Former Northwestern football player Brian Ballarini pled guilty to gambling charges and admitted he had run a gambling ring at Northwestern and the University of Colorado. Meantime, two Northwestern basketball players admitted they tried to fix games in 1995.

How bad it was: Real bad. It showed what an easy prey college students are to gamblers and it makes you wonder if this sort of thing is still going on across college campuses throughout the country.

Lenny Dykstra

The story: The scrappy Phillies outfielder lost more than $50,000 in illegal poker games and was placed on probation for a year by commissioner Fay Vincent.

How bad it was: On the surface, not so bad. But this is how the trouble starts. A guy gets in serious debt with the wrong people and when he can't pay, he is forced to fix games. That did not happen in Dykstra's case, but you can understand how it's a short walk from a bad bet to throwing games.

The GoodFellas scandal

The story: College hoops has been full of point-shaving scandals, including Tulane in 1985, Arizona State in 1993-94 and Boston College in 1978-79. That Boston College scandal involved Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta in the movie GoodFellas. In fact, Robert De Niro's character in GoodFellas was loosely based on a guy named Jimmy Burke, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Boston College scandal.

How bad it was: Good for director Martin Scorsese. Not so good for everyone else, including college basketball.

International scandals

Americans aren't the only ones who know how to rig games. Check these out:

- In 2006, the top four teams in the Italian soccer league were found to be fixing matches.

- In 2005, two Brazilian soccer referees were accused of fixing playoff games.

- In 2005, a German soccer referee was investigated for and ultimately admitted to betting on and throwing games.

- In 2000, eight Italian soccer players were accused of fixing matches.

- In 2002, a highly-respected captain of the South African cricket team admitted he had accepted more than $140,000 from London-based bookies to influence the outcome of matches.