The 80's were a crazy time for many retired ballplayers; especially those with a collector following. After all, for many decades these old-timers received a pittance in salary for their work on the diamond, and many of them found income opportunity rather scant after playing the game. So, when the collector boom happened it proved to be a godsend. Baseball players could now earn a good amount of cash traveling across the country meeting with fans and signing autographs.
Unfortunately, a few of them failed to report that income on their tax returns, and soon found themselves in trouble with the law.
Two of those ballplayers, Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Duke Snider, received a Presidential Pardon yesterday as a part of President Obama's flurry of commutations and pardons (273 of them) during his last week in office.
Both men had pleased guilty to tax evasion charges in July 1995. McCovey had failed to declare $70,000 in income. Duke Snider failed to report $100,000 of income, and was given two years probation, paid $30,000 in back taxes and a $5,000 fine.
At the time Snider said, per Joseph Fried at the NY Times:
"We're in the world of choice, and I made the wrong choice."
His white mane seeming even whiter under the bright courtroom lights, Snider promised Korman that "it won't happen again." And in a written statement he submitted to the court, he expressed concern that "my conduct may have in some way tarnished the game" that had been "very good to me," and "hope that my fans, especially those in Brooklyn, can accept my apology."Apology accepted, Duke. And now the United States officially forgives you and Willie for these indiscretions. Heck, I am fairly certain fans forgave them a long time ago. Nevertheless, this act by the President is an awfully nice gesture. I am sure the family of Duke Snider, who passed away in 2011, appreciates this.
(HAT TIP: Rich Mueller at SCD)
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