Baseball isn't called the "national pastime" for nothing. Major League Baseball in America has a rich history of providing entertainment and excitement to families and fans for well over a century. It also has a rich history of scandals and intrigue. It may come as a surprise, but one seldom talked about but highly sought after career in criminal justice is that of the Major League Baseball investigator.
Commissioner Bud Selig established the Department of Investigations within the MLB in 2009. The department is tasked with broad authority to take action to protect the integrity of the sport of baseball.
The primary focus of the department was initially to take on the growing issue of performance-enhancing drugs, but MLB investigators are now tasked with looking into almost any imaginable area of the sport to make sure that Major League Baseball upholds a squeaky clean image after the steroid scandals of the 2000s.
Job Functions and Work Environment of MLB Investigators
MLB investigators essentially act as private detectives, employed by MLB for the specific purpose of policing the league. While they have no legal authority to take law enforcement action, they conduct internal investigations of players, staffs, and teams to make sure that all rules are being followed and to maintain fairness, competition, and integrity.
Some of the areas MLB investigators look into include:
- Verifying age of players and prospects
- Player use of performance enhancing drugs
- Incidents and accusations of gambling
- Accusations of player misconduct
- Violations of MLB rules by players or teams
The job of a Major League Baseball investigator often includes:
- Conducting investigations of misconduct and wrongdoing
- Performing background investigations
- Writing reports
- Making recommendations to executives
- Working with local law enforcement and regulatory agencies
The working hours for investigators may be long at times, and a lot of travel is involved. Because baseball has become an international sport, Major League Baseball investigators work around the world in all different environments. A permanent office has been set up in the Dominican Republic, and investigators were placed on the ground in Venezuela when Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos disappeared.
There's also speculation, albeit unsubstantiated, that some big name players, like Albert Pujols, are older than they claim to be. To mitigate speculation and remove doubt, MLB investigators conduct background investigations of players, especially those born outside of the United States.
Education and Skill Requirements for MLB Investigators
The first head of MLB's Department of Investigations worked with the New York City Police Department for 23 years and retired as a deputy chief of police before becoming the head of security operations and then investigations.
MLB investigators are typically former police officers or detectives who have experience working in law enforcement and investigations. Specific training in criminal, internal affairs, and background investigations will be helpful for anyone hoping to land an investigative job with MLB.
Job Growth and Salary Outlook for MLB Investigators
MLB investigators work under the Vice President for Investigations as employees of Major League Baseball, as opposed to independent contractors. Investigators work full time and may earn between $60,00 and $90,000 annually.
The Department of Investigations within MLB is relatively new, but it has been expanding rapidly. A new permanent office was established in the Dominican Republic, and it is reasonable to expect more offices throughout the Americas.
Is a Career as a Major League Baseball Investigator Right for You?
Working as an investigator for Major League Baseball may just be the perfect blend of work and play. For criminal justice professionals who love baseball, there's no better way to make a difference in a sport you enjoy. The job gives you a chance to help keep the game as pure and upstanding as possible.
A career as an MLB investigator is a great opportunity for a retired police officer looking to begin a second career or for a current detective or investigator looking to make a career change.