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MLB

Is Donald Sterling The First Owner To Get A Lifetime Ban? What? You Don’t Remember Horace Fogel?


Not sure what Donald Sterling eats for lunch (our guess: a Viagra calzone), but whatever it was must have been spread all over the house in comical spit-take fashion following Adam Silver’s announcement today. Sterling’s lifetime ban is for being a racist lout, basically. He is banned from all Clippers activities, making him the only person with an ankle monitor that goes off when he enters a building.

Sterling is only the third pro sports owner to been banned for life from his sport. And technically, he’s actually the second. George Steinbrenner was banned for life by MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990, for hiring gambler Howie Spira to investigate Dave Winfield. Steinbrenner paid Spira $40,000, and Vincent banished Steinbrenner from the game for-ev-er. But that lasted only until 1993, when Steinbrenner’s ban was lifted.

So, who was the first? Horace Fogel. The former sportswriter bought the Philadelphia Phillies in 1909, and his first order of business was — to change the name. Yep. From Phillie Sports History:

Fogel: “The name Phillies is too trite. It has come to mean a comfortable lackadaisicalness, the fourth-place groove. And Quakers stands for peaceful people who will dodge a fight. We’re not going to be that way. We’re going to get into fights.”

And with that explanation he urged everyone to adopt his new name for the National League club: The Philadelphia Live Wires. To promote the name, Fogel even came up with a new “logo,” which featured an eagle grasping sparkling wires. Thankfully, other than a few references in newspaper articles in 1910, the new name didn’t stick and fans continued referring to the team as the Phillies.

Yikes. But that wasn’t Fogel’s greatest transgression. In 1912, supposedly after an all-night bender, Fogel accused National League President Thomas Lynch of organizing a conspiracy to insure that the New York Giants would win the pennant (the Phillies were 30 1/2 games out of first when he made the accusation). Fogel, a former journalist, wrote articles in several major newspapers detailing the “conspiracy”. The charges were proven to be false, and Fogel was banned from baseball for life.

Other suspended owners:

Marge Schott, Cincinnati Reds. Of course Schott would have certainly joined the lifetime ban club, but sold the team, in 1999, before the hammer could come down (speaking of Nixon …). Schott was notorious for making disparaging comments about blacks, Jews, gays and homosexuals, even once calling outfield Eric Davis “My $6 million n*****.” But when she was investigated for some shady business practices involving her franchise, MLB forced her to sell all but one share of her team.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr., San Francisco 49ers. DeBartolo was suspended for one season in 1999, and fined $1 million for failing to report a felony connected to a Louisiana gambling case. While gone he was usurped as owner by his sister, Denise DeBartolo York. But at least they still let him into the building.

Ted Leonsis, Washington Capitals. Suspended one week and fined $100,000 for brawling with a fan following a loss to the Flyers. Hell, they should have given him a medal.

Ted Turner, Atlanta Braves. Suspended one year in 1977 for tampering with soon-to-be free agent Gary Matthews of the Giants.

Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves. The NBA suspended Taylor in 2000 for one year and fined him $1 million for signing Joe Smith to an illegal contract.



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