One of the oldest and most famous rules in Major League Baseball is Rule 21 which dates back to 1921. In the aftermath of the infamous Black Sox Scandal with eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox receiving lifetime bans from MLB, the following rule was put into the official rule book:

"(1)Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year.
(2) Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible."

MLB Gambling Policy has been posted in team clubhouses for over 100 years. Every player who is selected in the MLB Draft or signed by an organization is required to sign an agreement stating they will abide by all the rules in the MLB Rulebook.

Despite all of this, four Professional Baseball players have received one-year suspensions for placing bets with a legal sportsbook on MLB games.  While none of these players placed wagers on any games they were participating in, they still violated MLB Rule 21, Section D of the sport's rulebook.

What Players Have Been Declared Ineligible For One Year?

*Oakland Athletics Major League Pitcher Michael Kelly
*San Diego Padres Minor League Pitcher Jay Groome
*Philadelphia Phillies Minor League Shortstop Jose Rodriguez
*Arizona Diamondbacks Minor League Pitcher Andrew Saalfrank

A graduate of Barnegat High School, Jay Groome was 12th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.  The 6'6" Left-Handed Pitcher from South Jersey spent five total years pitching in the Minor Leagues and never reached the major leagues during his time in the Red Sox organization.

Groome underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2018 and he would only appear in 3 games over a three-year period (2018-2020).  His first full year pitching again was 2021 and he performed well enough in 2022 that the San Diego Padres decided to trade for him. The Padres agreed to send one major league player (Eric Hosmer) plus two minor league prospects to the Red Sox in exchange for Groome.

San Diego Padres Jay Groome
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

According to the report from ESPN's National News Services, Jay Groome made 32 total MLB sports bets during his time playing in the Boston Red Sox Minor League system.  Groome lost $433.54 and only won two of his wagers with a legal sportsbook operator.

Groome pitched in 33 total games during the 2023 and 2024 Minor League seasons for the Padres Triple-A Affiliate El Paso Chihuahuas. Turning 26 years old this August, the former Red Sox Top Pitching Prospect has yet to pitch in a Major League Baseball Game. Now he has to wait at least another 365 Days until he can pitch again for any MLB Organization.

Here are some South Jersey High School Graduates who have played games at the MLB Level.  We will have to wait and see if Jay Groome will join the players on this list:

KEEP READING: South Jersey Athletes Who Played/Coached in NBA and MLB

Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig

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