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Former World Series MVP And Born-Again Christian Arrested On Child Sex Charges

Former pitcher John Wetteland, who was once named the 1996 World Series MVP while playing with the New York Yankees, is now facing charges in Texas of sex abuse of a child.

By Jill Sederstrom

A former World Series MVP is now facing charges of sexual abuse of a child in Texas.

John Wetteland, 52, was arrested Monday and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Wetteland, a former pitcher, was named MVP in the 1996 World Series while playing with the New York Yankees and was also inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, reports Yahoo! Sports.

In recent years, Wetteland had been coaching baseball and teaching bible studies classes at the Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas, but is no longer associated with the school, the Dallas Morning News reports.

While few details have been released about the allegations against Wetteland, under the state’s penal code, the charge is applicable in cases where a person over the age of 17 has committed two or more acts of sexual abuse over a period of 30 days or more, with one or more victims under the age of 14.

Authorities arrested Wetteland after the Bartonville Police were referred the case by the Texas Department of Family Services. The police department then issued an arrest warrant, which was served by the Denton County Sheriff’s Office.

Wetteland posted a $25,000 bail and was released Monday, according to the New York Daily News.

Rebecca Wetteland, who is reportedly his wife, told WFAA she believes her husband is “100 percent innocent.”

The former pitcher once had a successful career in major league baseball, saving 330 games during his career playing with the Dodgers, Expos, Yankees and Rangers before retiring in 2000, according to the New York Daily News.

He also went on to serve as a coach in the major leagues, but found himself the subject of criticism during his tenure as a bullpen coach with the Washington Nationals.

The team’s manager at the time, Frank Robinson, claimed that Wetteland was too focused on “practical jokes and fooling around” rather than concentrating on the game, the Dallas Morning News Reports.

"I just couldn't put up with it anymore. I talked to John on a number of occasions and told him flat-out what I needed and how I wanted things done. He just didn't seem to understand," Robinson said at the time.

The reported born-again Christian went on to coach with the Seattle Mariners. It was during that stint that Wetteland was hospitalized in 2009. Although it was first reported as a “mental health” issue, the team later said the hospitalization had been related to elevated blood pressure.

[Photo: Denton County Sheriff’s Office]

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