Longform

Florida Investigator: I Warned Major League Baseball Not to Buy Stolen Records

Inside a conference room at Major League Baseball's modernist Manhattan headquarters, Rob Manfred stared down Alex Rodriguez. The fate of both men -- the future commissioner of baseball and the era's greatest slugger -- hung in the balance. Rodriguez was furiously fighting a record suspension for buying steroids from a Miami clinic called Biogenesis. It was October 17, 2013, and Manfred was being grilled about how MLB had obtained its evidence.

The gap-toothed, razor-sharp lawyer had directed baseball's probe of the Yankees' third baseman. He told the phalanx of attorneys gathered around the table that baseball's investigative team -- a crew of former cops, mostly from the NYPD -- had purchased clinic records from a South Florida felon named Gary Jones. Ears perked up when Manfred admitted to signing off on $125,000 in payouts to Jones, who went by the pseudonym "Bobby from Boca."

But there was a bigger question: Where had Jones gotten the files they hoped would prove Rodriguez had illegally juiced?

See also: Tony Bosch and Biogenesis: MLB Steroid Scandal

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tim Elfrink is an award-winning investigative reporter, the managing editor of the Miami New Times and the co-author of "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era." Since 2008, he's written in-depth pieces on police corruption, fatal shootings and social justice issues across South Florida. He's won the George Polk Award and has been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink