Major League Baseball announced on Friday that umpire Pat Hoberg has been disciplined for violating the league’s gambling policies. This comes just ten days after the league imposed a lifetime ban on a player for gambling and suspended four others for a year.

Hoberg is contesting the discipline and, according to ESPN sources, has denied betting on baseball. While the specific nature of the disciplinary action has not been disclosed, Hoberg has not officiated a game this season. MLB’s statement did not clarify if the investigation found that Hoberg had bet on baseball games.

“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. Mr. Hoberg was removed from the field during the pendency of that investigation,” the MLB stated. “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. Mr. Hoberg has chosen to appeal that determination. Therefore, we cannot comment further until the appeal process is concluded.”

Pat Hoberg replied through a statement: “I am appealing Major League Baseball’s determination that I should be disciplined for violating the sports betting policies. While that appeal is pending, it would not be appropriate to discuss the case. That said, I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me. I look forward to the appeal process, and I am grateful that the Major League Baseball Umpires Association is supporting me in the appeal.”

If found guilty of betting on baseball, Hoberg would be in violation of MLB’s Rule 21, which mandates a lifetime ban for those involved in games they gambled on and a one-year suspension for gambling on other games.

The most notable instance of a sports official involved in gambling was NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who in 2007 was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information. Donaghy admitted to betting on games over four seasons and providing tips to gamblers.

Hoberg, 37, is highly regarded for his accuracy, particularly noted for his perfect game behind the plate during Game 2 of the 2022 World Series, where he correctly called all 129 pitches. Hoberg began umpiring major league games in 2014 and became a full-time umpire in 2017. He has officiated postseason games annually from 2018 to 2022 and participated in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Player Banned For Life

Earlier this month, MLB banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for life after a sportsbook revealed he bet on games while with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Marcano, 24, placed bets exceeding $150,000 from October 2022 to November 2023.

Additionally, Oakland Athletics reliever Michael Kelly and three minor league players – Diamondbacks’ Andrew Saalfrank, Padres’ Jay Groome, and Phillies’ Jose Rodriguez – received one-year suspensions for betting on major league games while in the minors, each wagering less than $1,000.

The league also investigated and cleared Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani after his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was accused of stealing over $16 million from Ohtani to cover gambling losses. Mizuhara pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud charges, facing up to 33 years in prison.

Furthermore, former Los Angeles Angels player David Fletcher is under investigation for allegedly gambling with an illegal bookmaker.

“The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred stated. “The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century. We have been clear that the privilege of playing in baseball comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of behavior that are legal for other people.”