Report: Mickey Callaway's predatory behavior was well-known in Cleveland, Mets organizations

Liz Roscher
·5 min read

The MLB investigation into Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway's alleged sexual harassment is still ongoing, but according to a new report from The Athletic, Callaway's behavior was widely known within two different organizations. One former player told The Athletic that Callaway's predatory behavior toward women dates back to at least 2010, when he was working in the minor leagues, and reportedly intensified once he was hired as pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians in 2013.

Additionally, Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff and manager Terry Francona were reportedly aware of at least one incident of questionable behavior from Callaway, but numerous employees allege that Callaway's behavior was so widespread and well known in the organization that it would have been "difficult" for them not to know that it was part of a pattern of predatory behavior.

Early incidents

A former Indians minor-league pitcher told The Athletic that he remembers Callaway's predatory behavior back in 2010.

One former pitcher under Callaway said that Callaway’s conduct was widely known as early as 2010, when he was working in the minor leagues; There, he made inappropriate, sexualized comments about women and pursued them relentlessly. He’d often ask fellow players “where’s the beef?” and indicate he was on the prowl for attractive women, the player said. (“Beef” is a term used within some MLB clubhouses to refer to women, particularly those who are not spouses or partners of players.)

The player also said that Callaway frequently spent time chatting up attractive women, including some of the players' girlfriends, in the stands before games instead of helping him prepare.

A woman who dated Callaway during his playing days told The Athletic that he tried to rekindle their relationship in 2011, just days before he was getting married. She said that Callaway "very much is of the mindset that women have one purpose."

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 1, 2016: Pitching coach Mickey Callaway #32 of the Cleveland Indians stands on the field prior to Game 6 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs on November 1, 2016 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Chicago won 9-3. 
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2016 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images
Numerous staffers, and possibly executives, reportedly knew of Mickey Callaway's predatory behavior. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Concerns from players' wives

After Callaway was promoted to pitching coach with the major-league club in 2013, The Athletic reported that his behavior intensified since he was now encountering many more junior-level female staffers than ever before.

“It didn’t matter what you looked like, what size, whether you were White or Black, Asian or Hispanic, he’d be creepy towards you,” one woman told The Athletic.

The wives of several Indians players reportedly noticed Callaway's behavior when he was having an extramarital affair with a woman connected to the team. Via The Athletic:

Some wives shared those concerns with their husbands, and those concerns were conveyed to at least one department head and another staffer, though no formal complaint was filed with human resources or any other department, a source said.

Despite the wives' concerns, Callaway's behavior reportedly continued. He sent unsolicited explicit photos to several women and sent suggestive messages to at least one former Indians employee on LinkedIn. None of the women ever reported these incidents, worrying that the team would find out who reported them and it would have a negative impact on their career.

Callaway's behavior with the Indians and Mets was so well known that there were reportedly several nicknames associated with it. The leering looks, uncomfortable stares, and unsolicited emails from him on LinkedIn were called "the Mickey treatment" by Indians staffers. On the Mets, several employees called him "Dick Pic Mick."

What did Cleveland executives know?

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said he was "disturbed ... distraught and saddened" to learn of the initial allegations against Callaway last month, and added that there had been no complaints about Callaway to human resources or any other team "leaders."

However, The Athletic did report that high-ranking team officials, including Antonetti, were aware that Callaway had a consensual extramarital affair with a married woman during his time with the Indians, which led to the husband of the woman contacting the team numerous times about Callaway's behavior and attempting to file complaints about Callaway sending his wife "pornographic material."

According to The Athletic, calls from the husband, who had also texted Callaway to confront him about the affair, became so frequent that Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff, and manager Terry Francona were all made aware. Francona reportedly offered to speak with the husband, which apparently did not happen.

The husband also reportedly emailed the New York Mets about Callaway's affair with his wife after they hired him as manager. According to The Athletic, the Mets confronted Callaway and were satisfied when he told them that the affair was over and that he was trying to work things out with his wife.

The Indians released a statement about Callaway's affair to The Athletic.

“In June of 2017, we received reports from a man alleging extramarital contact between Mickey and his wife over a two-year period. Within days of the report, we spoke with Mickey about the alleged behavior, and he maintained that the relationship was consensual and outside of the workplace. Following our conversation with Mickey and to our knowledge, there were no further complaints of misconduct from this person during Mickey’s tenure with the club.”

While a consensual extramarital affair is definitely not the same as aggressively and relentlessly pursuing women and sending them unsolicited explicit photos, it was part of a pattern of behavior that should have been noticed. Numerous current and previous Indians employees told The Athletic that Callaway's "sexual indiscretions permeated the workplace to such an extent that it would have been difficult for top officials to not be aware of his behavior."

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