When looking at the cards in your collection, there are many star cards that you just look at and think of off-the-field problems. Guys like Jose Canseco, Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Pete Rose, Darryl Strawberry or Ugueth Urbina.
There are also plenty of lesser players who have gained significant infamy from off-the-field troubles, like Rick Camp, Jim Leyritz, Lary Sorensen or Brien Taylor.
But here are ten minor players you probably have cards of, that you probably didn’t know had major legal problems after their careers.
10. Lee Tunnell
I wrote about this guy before, but it’s still funny – “Former MLB pitcher and Christian baseball ‘Ambassadors’ founder busted for prostitution.”
9. Jay Baller
Jay Baller is the perfect guy for this list – he is perhaps best known for his baseball card with the gold chains and chest hair. He had to have been into drugs, right? You bet. Said the arresting officer in 2007, “That’s pretty stupid to pull over in a residential neighborhood and snort cocaine in broad daylight while playing with a gun.”
8. Matt Keough
Keough stands in for the epidemic of drunk driving that dozens of current and former major leaguers get arrested for. I chose Keough because, unlike the others, he’s now better known as the husband of a “Real Housewife of Orange County” than as a former big leaguer.
7. Ron Musselman
Baseball players aren’t usually known for being great fathers. Case in point, former Blue Jay Ron Musselman, who was such a deadbeat dad that he lost his legal rights as a parent. This became news when his son, Lucas Glover, became a PGA star.
6. Troy Neel
Musselman has nothing on Troy Neel, who the Texas attorney general once called “the worst dead beat dad in the history of Texas.” Instead of paying what ended up being nearly $800,000 in child support, Neel fled to Vanuatu where he owned a resort island.
5. Alex Cole
Ballplayers often end up being arrested on drug charges. Rarely are they arrested at the ballpark, like Alex Cole when playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2001. He later served eighteen months for heroin trafficking.
4. B.J. Wallace
Brien Taylor isn’t the only “Future Star” whose on-the-field fall was followed by an off-the-field one. B.J. Wallace and his wife were arrested last year for running a meth lab in the house in which they lived with their three children.
3. Kevin Wickander
Why do so many players (including, recently, three Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguers), get into meth? “I ain’t gonna bullshit you man, it’s an awesome drug,” says Kevin Wickander, who spent several years in jail for meth possession and burglary.
2. Brandon Puffer
Half of the classic Bong/Puffer card, Brandon Puffer’s baseball career ended in prison after being convicted of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault.
1. Byron McLaughlin
A former major leaguer who is a genuine fugitive from justice, eluding American authorities for over two decades. He skipped bail after being arrested for money laundering, and was later involved in selling cocaine and check kiting. He is believed to be living in France.