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Yankee Panky: New York’s Baseball Sex Scandals From Babe Ruth to A-Rod (Photos)

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is caught an extramarital scandal, but he’s not alone. From A-Rod and Madonna to pitchers who traded wives, the Bronx Bombers who really scored.

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is caught an extramarital scandal, but he’s not alone. From A-Rod and Madonna to pitchers who traded wives, the Bronx Bombers who really scored.

Mary Altaffer / AP Photo ; Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

Brian Cashman

As the New York Yankees headed to spring training this season, General Manager Brian Cashman was caught in a pickle. In February, Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio published an angry interview with Louise Meanwell, who claimed to be Cashman’s mistress. It was Cashman’s second alleged affair in three years, and two days after the Deadspin story ran, the Yankee GM was out at home—his wife, Mary, filed for divorce. In the weeks since, the Cashman saga grew even more tawdry as Meanwell was arrested and indicted on 52 counts, including stalking Cashman and attempting to extort money from him. But in a jailhouse interview, Meanwell still spoke highly of Cashman. “Surprisingly, yes, he was a good lover,” Meanwell said. “A lot of things about him surprised me.”

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Alex Rodriguez and Madonna

In 2008, shortly after Madonna split from Guy Ritchie, Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez was spotted making late-night runs to the singer’s apartment. But there was a catch. Not only was Rodriguez married at the time, but his wife, Cynthia, had just recently given birth to their second child. Though A-Rod insisted his time with Madonna was just about studying Kabbalah, and Madonna’s representative issued a denial—“They know each other and Madonna took her kids to a Yankees game last week. There’s really not anything to comment on beyond that.” Cynthia Rodriguez soon filed for divorce. Since then, Rodriguez has dated two other famous blondes: Cameron Diaz and Torrie Wilson.

Marty Lederhandler / AP Photo

Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich

It’s arguably the most famous trade in baseball history. In March 1973, Yankee pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, who had been friends for years, announced they were swapping wives, children and dogs. The swinging arrangement caused former Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton to quip: “I can see trading your wife, but the dog?” Alas, the deal only worked out well for one of them. Peterson is still married to Kekich’s ex-wife, Susanne, while Kekich soon split from Marilyn Peterson. Forty years after the trade, however, Kekich and Peterson’s story is now being made into a movie by two Red Sox fans—Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. 

Matty Zimmerman / AP Photo ; AP Photo / FCC

Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe

Of all the scandals in Marilyn Monroe’s career, having her skirt blow up in a movie scene seems relatively tame. And yet, the now-iconic film moment from The Seven Year Itch, blew up her marriage to Joe DiMaggio. The scene was filmed on a New York street and DiMaggio became irate that Monroe was flashing the crowd. She filed for a divorce a month later—citing “mental cruelty”—274 days after they were married. In an ironic twist that the Yankee Clipper would no doubt appreciate, citizens of Chicago booed when a giant Marilyn sculpture went up last year depicting that skirt scene.

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Mickey Mantle

Although the press never reported on it back in the day, Mickey Mantle wasn’t exactly discreet about his infidelities. Even his wife, Merlyn, knew the score: “He was married in a very small geographic area of his mind,” she wrote in her autobiography. And as Jane Leavy revealed in her biography, The Last Boy, Mantle’s FBI file detailed that in 1956, he “was ‘blackmailed’ for $15,000 after being found in a compromising situation with a married woman. Mr. Mantle subsequently denied ever having been caught in a compromising situation. Mr. Mantle readily admitted that he had ‘shacked up’ with many girls in New York City, but stated that he has never been caught.” The file also revealed that Mantle “was one of the members of the team who was entertained at [a] house of prostitution.”

Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Luis Polonia

Most Major Leaguers know to stay away from the minors, but in 1989 Yankee outfielder Luis Polonia got caught having sex with a 15-year-old girl at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. Polonia, who was 24 at the time, pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. “All I know, to this day, is she said she was 19,” Polonia said after the incident. “When she said that, I thought there was no problem. I didn’t know her [before that night]. She seemed like a pretty nice girl. But I learned from that.”

Nick Laham / Getty Images

Derek Jeter

Had the home-run ball that became Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit been put up for auction, it would have ranked among the most valuable ever sold. But there’s an easier way to get a baseball signed by No. 2—have a one-night stand with him. According to the New York Post, “Derek has girls stay with him at his apartment in New York, and then he gets them a car to take them home the next day. Waiting in his car is a gift basket containing signed Jeter memorabilia, usually a signed baseball,” a friend revealed. But the Yankee shortstop apparently once forgot one of the women who had been in his lineup. “This summer, he ended up hooking up with a girl who he had hooked up with once before, but Jeter seemed to have forgotten about the first time and gave her the same identical parting gift, a gift basket with a signed Derek Jeter baseball. He basically gave her the same gift twice because he’d forgotten hooking up with her the first time!”

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Jim Bouton

In 1970, Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton blew the door off the locker room by revealing what really went on when the baseball uniforms came off. Bouton’s now-classic book, Ball Four, revealed that players frequently practiced “beaver shooting” (or voyeurism) and would hide tape recorders under teammates beds to listen to them have sex. Then-Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn called the book “detrimental” to the game and fellow players were also angered that Bouton had broken the sport’s omerta. After Ball Four’s publication, whenever Bouton was on the mound, Pete Rose would famously shout, “Fuck you, Shakespeare!”

Chris O'Meara / AP Photo ; Massimo Sambucetti / AP Photo

Jose Canseco and Madonna

Long before Alex Rodriguez studied Kabbalah with Madonna, Yankee outfielder Jose Canseco got to first base with her.  Several years ago, Canseco revealed to Us Weekly that in 1991 Madonna “was interested in meeting me. I’m Cuban and she wanted a Cuban child. She wanted to get married and have a child with me.” But Canseco insists he played hard to get. “I then told her I was trying to work things out with my wife. That if I left her I would lose a lot of money and she said, ‘I have lots of money. Don't worry about that.’”

John Rooney / AP Photos

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth’s appetites for liquor, food, and women were legendary, and in 1925 the Bambino missed the start of the 1925 baseball season with “the bellyache heard round the world.” Though the official reason given for the Bambino’s hospitalization was an overdose of hot dogs and soda before a game, his teammates whispered that Ruth’s illness was actually a venereal disease. Thus, a great sports conspiracy theory was born. If it was VD, then it prevented Ruth from having an MVP season—he hit only .290 that season and swatted a mere 25 home runs.