Tucupita Marcano, MLB
The Venezuelan bet over $150,000 dollars but only won 4.3% of his MLB-related bets according to MLB data Randy Litzinger/Via nbcnews.com/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

SEATTLE - An unprecedented punishment has taken place in the Major League Baseball as Venezuelan infielder Tucupita Marcano received a lifetime ban. On June 4, league authorities announced that an investigation on the San Diego Padres player showed that he had violated Rule 21(d)(2) of the league's betting rules and policies.

Four other players also received a one-year suspension for other gambling-related violations. Pitchers Michael Kelly, Andrew Saalfrank and Jay Groome, as well as infielder José Rodríguez were disciplined for unrelated violations of the league's gambling policy.

Rule 21 says that "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." It also adds that betting on any baseball game "in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year."

According to the league, Marcano placed 387 bets including 231 MLB-related bets with a legal sportsbook starting in October of 2022 and lasting until November of 2023. Most of the Venezuelan MLB bets were parlays. In total, Marcano is reported to have spent more than $150,000 on baseball bets with $87,319 on MLB-related bets. He placed 25 bets that included Pirates games while he was a member of the team.

Most of his bets were on the outcomes of games and the investigation reported that he lost all of his parlays involving the Pirates, winning just 4.3% of all of his MLB-related bets.

Marcano, who is only 24 years old, will have to put an end to his three-year career in the majors as he becomes the first active player in 100 years to receive a lifetime ban because of gambling. The Venezuelan is the first one to receive that sort of punishment since Jimmy O'Connell in 1924, when he was with the New York Giants.

"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," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

The league said it was tipped off in March about betting activity by a legal sports betting operator and, according to league officials, the betting data does not suggest that any outcomes were compromised, influenced or manipulated in any way.

Tucupita Marcano spent his rookie year with the San Diego Padres before moving to the Pirates. In July of 2023, Marcano suffered an ACL injury and hasn't played since. He is set to finish his MLB career posting a .217/.269/.320 slash line with five homers.

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