Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron thinks Astros should be banned 'for life' after sign-stealing scandal

Baseball legend and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron thinks the league got its handling of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal wrong, saying in an interview Thursday that all the players involved should be banned for “the rest of their life.”

Speaking on NBC's “Today" show, Aaron said he was surprised to hear that an investigation led by MLB found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs in 2017 and 2018.

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“I was surprised,” he said before adding that while sign-stealing was prevalent in the game when he played, “they didn’t steal them that way.”

Former Manager AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros looks on from the dugout prior to Game 5 of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday, October 18, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Former Manager AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros looks on from the dugout prior to Game 5 of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday, October 18, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager AJ Hinch were suspended, then fired, in the aftermath but no players on the team during that time frame faced any repercussions aside from public fallout.

The team was fined $5 million and forced to forfeit its first- and second-round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

When asked if he thought the league handed out punishments appropriately, Aaron said: “No, I don’t.”

“I think whoever did that should be out of baseball the rest of their life,” he continued.

While sign-stealing with the naked eye is legal, the league prohibits any use of technology. In its investigation, MLB found that once they decoded the opposing catcher’s signs, players would bang on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter's odds of getting a hit.

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The player-driven scheme started in 2017 and continued throughout the 2018 season. Houston won the franchise's first championship three years ago, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series. It made it to the AL Championship Series in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.