Mickey Callaway has been placed on the ineligible list through the end of the 2022 season following Major League Baseball's investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct, details of which were originally reported by The Athletic.
In a statement Wednesday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote that the investigation "concluded that Mr. Callaway violated MLB's policies and that placement on the ineligible list is warranted."
The Los Angeles Angels issued a follow-up statement announcing they had fired Callaway as their pitching coach, adding: "We appreciate Major League Baseball's diligent investigation and support their decision."
Placement on the ineligible list is immediate, the league said, and Callaway will be eligible to apply for potential reinstatement at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Callaway issued the following statement to ESPN through a spokesperson:
"My family and I fully support MLB's strong stance against harassment and discrimination and are grateful to the Commissioner and his office for their thorough investigation. I apologize to the women who shared with investigators any interaction that made them feel uncomfortable. To be clear, I never intended to make anyone feel this way and didn't understand that these interactions might do that or violate MLB policies. However, those are my own blind spots, and I take responsibility for the consequences.
"In my 25 years in professional baseball I have never taken for granted the privilege of being even a small part of this great game of ours. To say I regret my past poor choices would be an understatement. I remain hopeful that I can return to baseball when eligible at the conclusion of next season, but for now, I plan to work on my own shortcomings and repairing any damage I have caused with my colleagues and, particularly, my family."
Five women, all of whom work in sports media and spoke to The Athletic under the condition of anonymity, accused Callaway, 45, of inappropriate behavior that included sending shirtless photos, requesting nude pictures and, in one instance, thrusting his crotch in a reporter's face while she attempted an interview. The behavior, first made public on Feb. 1, spanned five years and his employment with three organizations, including his stint as Cleveland Indians pitching coach and New York Mets manager.
The Mets did not issue a statement following MLB's announcement Wednesday, referring, instead, to prior comments made by president of baseball operations Sandy Alderson. Indians owner Paul Dolan wrote in a statement that his team was not provided details of the investigation by the league but that "there was no finding against the Cleveland Indians related to the Callaway matter."
Dolan went on to say "the information the commissioner's office shared reinforces our own conclusion that we did not do enough as an organization to create an environment where people felt comfortable reporting the inappropriate conduct they experienced or witnessed. We have contracted with an external expert with extensive experience related to workplace culture and reporting practices to help strengthen the organization."
The Angels, who hired Callaway as their pitching coach after their 2019 season, suspended Callaway in February, and MLB's investigation played out over the next three-plus months. Callaway, a source told ESPN, initially denied wrongdoing.
Bullpen coach Matt Wise had stepped in as the Angels' interim pitching coach during the investigation, with executive Dom Chiti filling in as bullpen coach. Each of their interim tags have now been removed, Angels manager Joe Maddon said after Wednesday's win over the Texas Rangers.
"It was a surprise, obviously," Maddon, who had previously declined to comment on the pending investigation, said of the allegations against Callaway. "I think we all learn from the moments that we are attached to somehow. Moving it forward, I'm sure not only us but other organizations, not only in baseball but I think the industry in general, are all looking at the hiring process a little bit differently right now."
The original report in The Athletic cited one New York-based woman who said she received shirtless selfies from Callaway "two or three times a week for a month" in 2018 and that he would ask for naked pictures in return. Other times, she said, Callaway approached her in the dugout and massaged her shoulders. One of the texts from Callaway, according to The Athletic, read: "I bet you look yummy on tequila."
Another New York-based reporter told The Athletic that Callaway sent her more than a dozen emails beginning in April 2018, some of which came from his official Mets account, in which he commented on her physical appearance and invited her to meet socially. The reporter who said Callaway thrust his crotch near her face told The Athletic she received a video of him shirtless on a tractor, in addition to other photos.
According to The Athletic, several of Callaway's messages were unreturned, as were most of the invitations to meet socially. The interactions, according to The Athletic, made the women uncomfortable, and because of the dynamics, left them in a vulnerable position. Callaway's pattern of behavior was so concerning that women in multiple MLB markets received warnings to have their guard up around him, according to the report.
Callaway was hired as the Mets' manager in October 2017, following five seasons as the Indians' pitching coach, but he was let go after going 163-161 and missing the playoffs in two years. He was then hired as the Angels' pitching coach under Maddon in October 2019.
In his statement Wednesday, Manfred said each of Callaway's three teams fully cooperated with the Department of Investigations, which included providing internal emails and assistance in identifying witnesses.
"Harassment has no place within Major League Baseball," Manfred's statement read, "and we are committed to providing an appropriate work environment for all those involved in our game."