MLB Ump Pat Hoberg Appealing Disciplinary Action for Alleged Sports Betting Violations

Posted on: June 16, 2024, 08:29h. 

Last updated on: June 16, 2024, 08:29h.

Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire Pat Hoberg is facing disciplinary action for allegedly violating the league’s gambling policy.

MLB umpire Pat Hoberg sports betting
MLB ump Pat Hoberg chats with St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the sixth inning of the 2019 National League Division Series. Hoberg is facing allegations of betting on baseball, an infraction of the MLB rules for umpires. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The MLB on Friday announced its plans to discipline Hoberg for breaching Rule 21, which says any player, umpire, team or league official/employee shall not bet on any baseball game regardless of their involvement.

Persons under that condition who bet on baseball that they’re directly involved in face lifetime suspensions from the MLB. Those who bet on baseball games that they’re not participating in face a one-year ban.

During this year’s Spring Training, Major League Baseball commenced an investigation regarding a potential violation of MLB’s sports betting policies by umpire Pat Hoberg,” MLB said in a statement. “Mr. Hoberg was removed from the field during the pendency of that investigation. While MLB’s investigation did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised or manipulated in any way, MLB determined that discipline was warranted.”

Hoberg, 37, has been a full-time MLB ump since 2017. He has not called a game this year because of the ongoing probe.

Call Challenged

Hoberg has been one of the most accurate umps in calling balls and strikes behind home plate and baserunners safe or out.

During Game 2 of the 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros, Hoberg called a perfect game, with the MLB’s review concluding that the ump called all 129 pitches that were not swung at correctly.

From 2017 through the 2023 season, Hoberg was the most accurate ump in the MLB with an accuracy rating of 96.4%. Only a handful of umps each season have accuracy ratings above 95%.

Hoberg said he will appeal the league’s planned disciplinary action. Because of that decision, the league said it cannot at this time detail specifics of the investigation that led to the conclusion that disciplinary action was warranted.

Mr. Hoberg has chosen to appeal the determination. Therefore, we cannot comment further until the appeal process is concluded,” the MLB statement explained.

The Hoberg scandal comes a week after the MLB announced a lifetime ban against San Diego Padres player Tucupita Marcano. A league investigation found that Marcano bet at least $150,000 on baseball games from October 2022 through July 2023, with some of the bets being on games he participated in while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Three minor league players were handed one-year bans for betting on baseball games that they weren’t playing.

Reputation Demise

Hoberg has been a banner ump for the MLB but the sports betting scandal jeopardizes his reputation. Along with having the honor of working the 2022 World Series, Hoberg was the home-plate umpire for the 2021 Field of Dreams game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees played in Iowa.

Hoberg is the first prominent umpire in U.S. professional sports to find himself in a sports betting scandal since Tim Donaghy in 2007 admitted to betting on NBA games he officiated and helping fix games for illegal bookies.

Donaghy spent 11 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting wagering information through interstate commerce.