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Got Caught

Baseball’s memorabilia market, symbol of a sport mired in money, snared two of its all-time heroes Thursday when Hall of Famers Duke Snider and Willie McCovey pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

“I got caught. I’m very sorry about it. I hope to get a second chance from a lot of my fans,” Snider said outside the federal courthouse. “We have choices to make in our lives and I chose to make the wrong choice.”

The convictions were the government’s latest blow in a crackdown on unreported income from baseball card shows, publicity events, autograph signings and memorabilia shows that became million-dollar businesses in the 1980s. Snider, 68, of Fallbrook, Calif, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit tax fraud. He admitted not reporting $100,000 in cash from card shows and memorabilia appearances from 1984-93. He faces up to six months in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the loss to the government.

Spokesman-Review, July 21, 1995, p. C1