It was announced earlier this week that ex-Blue Jay and 13-year MLB veteran, Raul Mondesi, had been sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption during his time as mayor of the city of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic. Corruption is never right, but when the corrupt person is an ex-big leaguer who made tens of millions of dollars over their baseball career, it makes the whole situation stink that much more.
Mondesi entered the majors back in 1993 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was an impact player from the get go. Winning the Rookie of the Year in 1994, attending his only all-star game in 1995, and displaying the 5-tool talents that made him one of the most promising young players in the game.
After being traded to the Blue Jays in 1999 for Shawn Green, Mondesi was never quite the same dominant player he was while with the Dodgers. Mondesi was still a solid player for the Blue Jays, and thrilling to watch with a cannon for an arm and the kind of range you rarely see from a right fielder. After being traded from the Blue Jays in 2002, Mondesi would play another three seasons in the majors, including stops in New York, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, and Atlanta in those final three years.
The Dominican Republic isn’t a wealthy country to begin with, so to think that the mayor of the 4th largest city in the country would do such a thing is terribly disappointing. To make matters worse is the fact that Mondesi (before taxes), made over $66 million while playing in the big leagues, and still felt the need to defraud his constituents out of what was reported to be $6 million USD.
It’s sad to think that a baseball player would use his celebrity in a country like the Dominican Republic to get such a job in the public service and then take advantage like he did. When baseball players from poorer countries retire, they have a special means with the vast sums of money they’ve earned and their celebrity status to return to their home countries and do so much good. It’s really unfortunate that Mondesi didn’t understand this.