Major League Baseball concluded its investigation of the sign-stealing allegations against the Houston Astros. The league determined that both general manager Jeff Lunhow and manager A.J. Hinch were aware of the cheating efforts and suspended both for the 2020 season. In addition, MLB also stripped the Astros of their first- and second-round picks in both the 2020 and 2021 drafts and fined the organization $5 million.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in his statement that both Lunhow and Hinch have been issued a warning that clearly says, if either is “found to engage in any future material violations of the Major League Rules” they will be permanently banned.
… and then, the story took another major turn. Within a couple hours of the MLB release, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane fired both Lunhow and Hinch.
— Houston Astros (@astros) January 13, 2020
The big question now is will the Houston Astros also be stripped of their 2017 World Series title? Will an asterisk now accompany the team’s name in baseball’s record books?
This isn’t the first time sign-stealing impacted a series of such import. You can go back as early as the mid-20th century. Remember Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World?” Sign stealing was alleged for years until author Joshua Prager discovered evidence that the New York Giants stole signs, as reported in his 2008 book, The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World.
- Why MLB Issued Historic Punishment to Astros for Sign Stealing
- MLB/Astros Report
- Biggest bombshells from MLB’s report on Astros investigation
- Houston Chronicle
- Los Angeles Times
- Major League Baseball
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION
Worth noting, some rival execs still don’t think Astros have been punished enough today.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) January 13, 2020
— Sean P. Holman (@seanpholman) January 13, 2020
FACT: The #Astros cheated in 2017.
FACT: Their cheating gave them a significant advantage over their opponent.
FACT: Their World Series win will always be tainted.
OPINION: MLB should have stripped them of their title.
— Dan (@DanClarkSports) January 13, 2020
The Houston Astros will not vacate their 2017 World Series championship but that title will forever be tainted and saddled with an asterisk larger than the one tied to any player connected with steroids.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 13, 2020
— Aubrey Huff (@aubrey_huff) January 13, 2020