Pirates' Locke Cleared in Fixing Scheme Childhood Friend Falsely Told Gamblers That the Pitcher Would Throw Games, a Report Says

By Brink, Bill | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Pirates' Locke Cleared in Fixing Scheme Childhood Friend Falsely Told Gamblers That the Pitcher Would Throw Games, a Report Says


Brink, Bill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


DETROIT - A childhood friend of Jeff Locke's used his old connection to the Pirates pitcher to create the illusion of a game- fixing scheme that attracted the attention of Major League Baseball last year, according to a Sports Illustrated report published Wednesday.

Kris Barr, a small-time sports handicapper who grew up with Mr. Locke in North Conway, N.H., picked against Mr. Locke and falsely told clients that Mr. Locke would throw games in 2011 and 2012. The predictions coincided with poor performances from Mr. Locke, an inexperienced starter at the time, and gave the hoax some legitimacy.

MLB cleared Mr. Locke of any wrongdoing, according to Mr. Locke and the Pirates. On Wednesday, the pitcher said Mr. Barr's entire plot took place without his knowledge.

"All I know is that I was 100 percent cooperative with MLB," Mr. Locke said at Comerica Park in Detroit before the Pirates played the Tigers. "They checked me out, 100 percent cleared, as far as I know."

The Pirates backed Mr. Locke.

"MLB conducted a thorough investigation of the claims against Jeff Locke and concluded that Jeff had zero involvement and that he had done nothing wrong," general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement Wednesday. "MLB long ago determined these claims were bogus and that this is a non-story."

Mr. Barr, now 27, told Sports Illustrated that he and Mr. Locke, 26, were friends in elementary school. Mr. Barr's family won a "Cash for Life" lottery of $1,000 a week and moved to Arizona.

"I did read it, as gut-wrenching as it is," Mr. Locke said of the story. "The only truth to it is the fact that the last time we spoke was elementary school and that his family won cash for life or something. That's why we realized we never saw him again after that."

Shortly before Mr. …

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