There's an old song by famous musician Jim Croce called You Don't Mess Around With Jim where Croce warns listeners that there are certain things you just shouldn't do, with the lyrics, "You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with Jim."
Is it too late to add, "You don't cross a passionate, Philadelphia Phillies fanbase," in there somewhere?"
Philadelphia has proven, time and time again, to be a hard-working, blue-collar city, and it is certainly no secret that the fans want their players to approach their "job" in the same respect: Play hard, have fun, but most importantly, win.
Players who have dared to go against that grain have often become something akin to target practice for those same passionate fans—be it with words, or in rare cases, actual, solid objects.
The bottom line being this: As long as you love the game and treat it with respect, these fans will respect you for it.
That sentiment doesn't apply strictly to ball players. Throughout the game of baseball, from management to whole teams to members of the media, plenty of people have rubbed the Phillies, as a whole, in the wrong way.
This organization certainly is not short on villainous characters. Let's take a look at just a few.
Throughout the course of time, there have been plenty of players given the honorary title of "Phillie Killer." These players, more often than not of the replacement level variety, are known to bring their A-game to the table against the Phillies proving to be the proverbial "thorn in the Phillies' side."
While these players have pestered the fans, can any of them be considered villains? Here they are, in no special order:
- Matt Diaz
- Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo
- Todd Helton
- Bill Mueller
- Miguel Tejada
- Ryan Spilborghs
Also, a serious honorable mention:
- Dick Allen: I was torn on whether or not Allen actually belonged in the rankings of this list. Depending on who you asked, Allen could be a villain or a hero, so I reserved a special spot for him on this Honorable Mentions slide.
There have been some crazy appearances by animals on the baseball diamond in the past, but a squirrel?
After Cole Hamels had given the Phillies a lead in the series in the previous game, the Phillies looked to be in good shape heading into Game 4. If the St. Louis Cardinals had any hope of winning the series, they'd have to go straight through Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay.
Perhaps, it was the "Rally Squirrel" that gave them the strength to go on.
With Oswalt on the mound, the "Rally Squirrel" charged across home plate much to the displeasure of the Phillies' starter who had delivered a borderline strike called a ball. It was all downhill from there for Oswalt who would be tagged with the loss in Game 4.
We all know how Game 5 went.
Though Charlie Manuel joked after Game 4 about how he would have shot that poor "Rally Squirrel" had he been back home in Virginia, it was the "Rally Squirrel" who carried the shotgun in this case, shooting down the Phillies' World Series dreams.
You don't attack the Phillie Phanatic and walk away without being near the top of Philadelphia's "Most Wanted" list.
The Phanatic and Tommy Lasorda are never going to see eye to eye. Though the Phanatic makes fun of everyone equally, no man took a greater exception to being the butt of the joke than the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager who would go on to assault the Phanatic after his routine.
Lasorda would go on to voice his hate for the Phanatic officially making himself an enemy of Phillies baseball.
Why were the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s villains? After all, there was no intense rivalry. It was kind of simple, actually. They were really good and outside of the 1993 season, the Phillies weren't. The outcome was supposed to happen that way, wasn't it?
Perhaps, it was a bit of jealousy?
Maybe the Braves of the 1990s weren't looked on as evil-doers, but with envy. After all, compare them against the beloved Phillies of today. They had the elite starting pitching with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and so on. They didn't have a thunderous offense, but won games.
They won 11 straight National League East titles. They won five pennants during that stretch. Like the Phillies, they won just one World Series title.
Are the Braves of the 1990s "villains" because they were everything that Phillies fans have ever wanted out of their beloved club? I think you can make a strong case.
Curt Schilling kind of has the tendency to rub people the wrong way.
Don't get me wrong: When Schilling was with the Phillies, he was one of their lone glimmers of hope. Outside of the 1993 season, he pitched on a lot of bad teams. When the new millennium rolled around, it certainly didn't appear as though the Phillies were going to do much changing, and he wanted out.
It was an understandable situation for Schilling, an aging veteran who wanted a shot at a title, but he went about it the wrong way, and some people hated him for it.
Schilling demanded a trade to a team with a realistic shot at the crown, and the Phillies were left with an underwhelming package of players in return. Combine that with the fact that he just has a tendency to annoy people with his words, and Schilling makes sense on a list like this.
Jeff Conine was like the King "Phillie Killer."
Though he made a couple of trips to the All-Star Game as a member of the Florida Marlins, Conine was never truly a star. He was a very solid player with the ability to help out a ball club, and though he spent a season with the Phillies in 2006, don't make any bones about it: Conine absolutely killed the Phillies.
For a long time, it seemed as though Conine could get a hit in any situation against the Phillies. In 425 career at-bats against the Phils, Conine hit 14 home runs and posted an OPS of .850!
If you're looking to become a villain in Philadelphia, try having that kind of success against the Phillies.
Von Hayes was a premium talent. The Phillies liked him so much that they were willing to send five players, including talented prospects and everyday players, to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for his talents.
The deal became known as the "Five-for-One" trade, and Hayes was billed as the franchise's next, elite hitter.
Of course, he never was. Hayes would go on to have a very solid career for the Phillies, quietly becoming one of the greatest hitters in franchise history. But in a time where trades were often misunderstood and much less of a science, all fans could think about was the time the Phillies traded five men for his services.
Hayes was certainly misunderstood, but loathed by large portions of the fanbase for a lack of superstardom.
After having a solid season with the Chicago White Sox the previous season, the Phillies offered a 34-year-old Danny Tartabull more than $2 million to play for them in 1997. He accepted the deal, but didn't do much playing.
After flopping around like a fish out of water in spring training, Tartabull broke camp with the club before breaking all together.
The outfielder would appear in just three games for the Phillies, striking out in four of his seven at-bats without recording a single hit.
Of course, the Phillies would go on to have an abysmal season in '97, making Tartabull's salary seem more like a robbery and all the more heinous.
In hindsight, it was one of the worst trades in the history of the Phillies' organization.
In desperate need of some starting pitching, the Phillies gave up on former first-round draft pick Gavin Floyd and sent him to the Chicago White Sox along with Gio Gonzalez in exchange for former ace of the Seattle Mariners, then starting pitcher for the Sox, Freddy Garcia.
Garcia's time in Philadelphia was abysmal.
The man made just 11 starts for the Phillies in 2007, winning just one game and posting an ERA of 5.90, spending most of the season collecting a paycheck on the disabled list.
To make matters worse, Floyd would go on to become a solid starter for the White Sox while Gonzalez would eventually do the same for the Oakland Athletics.
Eligible for free agency following the season, Garcia had his bags packed and was on his way out of Philadelphia before you could blink.
What's the quickest way to become a Phillies' villain? How about taking Roy Halladay deep twice in a single game, in the first game of the 2010 National League Championship Series, no less?
How quickly we forget, however, that Cody Ross has always been a thorn in the Phillies' side. Peeking during his tenure with the Florida Marlins, Ross always found a hidden source of power against Phillies' pitching. His 13 home runs against the club are more than against any other team in his career.
The two home run game against Doc and company in the NLCS may have sealed the deal, but Ross has been a Phillies' villain for a long time.
By the time the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu in 2006, it was painfully clear that the man had worn out his welcome in the city of Philadelphia.
Abreu was an extremely talented player with the ability to hurt an opponent in a number of different ways, be it with offense or defense, contact or power, and so forth. In an era where the Phillies fielded a number of dreadful clubs, Abreu was a bright spot, and sure enough, he also wanted out.
Despite the fact that the Phillies were close to contending, Abreu wanted a shot at a title. He had gained the reputation as the type of player who has a negative impact on a clubhouse, and with a number of young, talented players on the horizon, the Phillies wanted nothing to do with him any longer.
It wouldn't be entirely inaccurate to say that they basically gave him to the New York Yankees (who took on most of his salary and sent mediocre prospects back to Philly) for nothing (but salary relief.)
Phillies fans do not like to feel used. To be honest, who does?
Terry Francona isn't on this list because the team stunk during his four seasons as manager. They were supposed to stink. The local, high school All-Star team had more talent than the Phillies during the late 1990s.
Francona insulted the Phillies' fanbase with his words, not his actions.
After managing the Phillies for four seasons to a pitiful record of 285-363, Francona moved on to greener pastures with the Boston Red Sox. Eventually, he would lead that team to two World Championships claiming that he used his time with the Phillies to experiment as a manager.
Yup, Francona called you all guinea pigs. No big deal.
Few managers had a negative enough impact to make this list, but Gene Mauch was certainly one of them.
Mauch managed for 26 seasons in the MLB, nine of them spent in Philadelphia, but it only took one season for Mauch's Phillies legacy to fall down the drain—1964.
After managing the Phillies to the top of the National League throughout most of the season, the Phillies began to slide late in the season. Mauch, who was already under fire for overworking his starting pitchers, started Jim Bunning and Chris Shot with great frequency trying to break the losing streak.
By the end of the season, both men were rendered ineffective. The Phillies would go on to lose 10 of their final 12 games that season, falling to third place in the standings and authoring one of the greatest collapses of all-time—"The Phold."
Mauch was the man in charge.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, "Man, there's just something about that guy that I don't like."? While I've never personally understood the angst against the man, the number of times that I've heard Phillies fans, vehemently, say that about Jose Reyes is outstanding.
Then again, the more you think about it, the easier it is to understand. During his days with the New York Mets, Reyes was a prime target for Phillies' fans. The Mets were a heated rival. Reyes was one of their best players.
The speedy shortstop just has a certain swagger about him, and while you love him when he's on your team, you hate playing against him.
Then again, I'm sure hitting .307 against the Phillies with 16 home runs certainly doesn't help his cause.
Anyone who had the opportunity to be on Broad Street after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 knows just how much Joe Buck is despised in the city of Philadelphia, and for those who weren't in attendance, know that it was a three-word phrase featuring a nasty four-letter word that just so happened to rhyme with "Buck." The other two words were the man's name.
I would dare you to ask a handful of Philly sports fans which broadcaster they disliked the most, but I'll refrain because there is a strong chance you won't make it out alive. As for a reason why Phillies fans hate Buck? Well, if you asked them, the answer would be simple: Because he hates Philadelphia.
Normally, I'd brush that off. Every fan thinks a broadcaster hates their team. But an entire city?
Well, I advise you to read this article. Very surprising stuff.
Rod Barajas' case for Phillies' villainy is the double whammy. Allow me to explain.
As far as this slideshow is concerned, it all started with one play against the Florida Marlins back in 2007. Looking to add a bit of offense and some MLB experience to their catching depth, the Phillies signed Barajas during the winter to be their starting catcher.
It was a train wreck.
In between battling injuries and prolonged hitting slumps at the plate, there was that fateful day in Florida. With Brett Myers on the mound and two outs in the inning, it seemed as though the Phillies were going to walk away with a dramatic victory. Aaron Boone singled, and though Hanley Ramirez was on his way home, the throw clearly beat him to the plate.
If there's one thing Phillies fans hate, it is cowardice. Instead of blocking the plate, Barajas stood up and tried to tag Ramirez, instead allowing him to slide safely home. Myers was forced to throw extra pitches and was injured, missing a couple of months that season.
The second part of that double whammy? How about a career .971 OPS and nine home runs against the Phillies? Brutal.
The Phillies don't like the New York Mets.
The Mets don't like the Phillies.
None of this is a secret, and the sentiment extends well past the players and into the stands as well, as the fans of either team have never see eye to eye. Anyone who has ever attended a battle between these two division rivals at Citizens Bank Park has probably experienced a scrum or two.
There has been somewhat of a war of words between these clubs in recent seasons with Jimmy Rollins calling the Phillies the "team to beat" in 2007, as the Mets were defending the division crown, and later, after the Phillies had acquired Roy Halladay, Johan Santana calling himself the best pitcher in the NL East.
There are division rivals, and then there are villains. The Mets are the latter.
Phillies fans aren't perfect. That goes without saying.
However, they certainly aren't nearly as bad as the national media tends to portray them. Any isolated incident on any given day has the potential to paint the Phillies as one of the most vile fanbases in all of sports, and that just isn't fair.
For example, GQ named Phillies fans "The Worst Sports Fans in America."
Try telling that to the fans or the players who come to Philadelphia to play in front of them. The days of throwing snowballs at Santa Claus and batteries at JD Drew are a thing of the past, and as long as the national media is living in the past, they'll be villains in this city to this team.
Anyone booed in the city of Philadelphia after receiving a World Series ring made this list with ease, and that just so happened to be an extremely small list that included one Adam Eaton.
For reasons still unexplained (and likely to remain a mystery forever, right there alongside with the building of the pyramids), the Phillies signed Eaton to a three-year, $24 million contract prior to the 2007 season, and he was dreadful.
Eaton posted an ERA of 6.29 in his first season with the Phillies, and it was all downhill from there. He would make just 21 appearances in 2008 for the club and was released before the team reached the World Series.
When they won, Eaton was invited back to Citizens Bank Park to receive his ring the following season. He was booed.
It was at that moment that Eaton had his fate as a Phillies' villain sealed for good.
To some, that term signifies that dreadful Friday after Thanksgiving where stores purposefully drop their prices to sit back and watch people fight, but to Phillies fans, it signifies a whole different kind of dread.
Heading into the late 1970s, there was certainly a rivalry between the Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it was heated. After squaring off in important matchups over the last decade, there was just bad blood between these two clubs.
There was no bigger moment in this rivalry than during the 1977 NLCS. With the series split at two games apiece, a ball bounced off Greg Luzinski's glove out in left field and took the wind right out of the Phillies' sails as they would drop the next two games and the series—their second NLCS exit in a row.
A year later, they would get their shot at redemption in the NLCS against that Dodgers club, but would fail again. At that point, it was clear that a new hero was needed.
Nothing stings worse than being thwarted twice by a villain on one of the game's grandest stages.
The Phillies and Scott Boras have never seen eye to eye.
Though neither side would ever excommunicate the other for baseball reasons (Boras represents the big name players, the Phillies have the money to pay for the big-name players), it's clear that neither side likes working with one another, and the reason is simple: There's bad blood.
Boras is notorious for trying to drain every last dollar out of an organization for his client. The Phillies experienced that first hand after selecting J.D. Drew (more on that in a minute) despite Boras' statement that the Phillies had little chance to sign him.
The Phillies loved his talent, but not as much as Boras loves money. Negotiations dragged on for a year before Boras tried to get Drew free-agent eligibility, claiming that the Phillies didn't tender him a contract before the deadline. The Phillies cried foul, stating that Boras had the contract sent to false address.
The he-said, she-said was ridiculous and unprofessional.
Though the sides have never come to reach that kind of impasse again, a look at the last couple of offseasons may show how Boras feels about Philadelphia: Jayson Werth and Ryan Madson aren't here.
The Madson saga is particularly interesting, with Boras telling the media that the Phillies had agreed to a contract with the closer before pulling it back.
Who knows if he's telling the truth?
After the Phillies recorded the final out of the 2011 regular season and sent the Atlanta Braves packing, one of the first things I thought about was the look on Chipper Jones' face. How many times throughout the course of his career has it been the other way around?
How many times has Jones celebrated while the Phillies hung their heads in the dugout?
That wasn't a moment lost on Phillies fans. While some reasoned that the Phillies should have eased up on the Braves to avoid the hot St. Louis Cardinals, others reveled in the moment. The Phillies had conquered Jones and his Braves, who at one point in time, had celebrated a division title for 11 consecutive seasons (Jones missed the first couple.)
Anyone who has every heard the Braves' longtime third baseman serenaded with chants of "Larry, Larry," and poured on the boos knows exactly why he is on this list.
After acquiring him from the Houston Astros prior to the 2004 season, the Phillies soon found out just how electric Billy Wagner could be, and after two seasons in Philadelphia, he was on the fast track to becoming the greatest closer the franchise had ever seen.
Then, it was over.
The fans loved Wagner and the team wanted to keep him, but the closer had other ideas. After missing the postseason in both of his seasons with the Phillies, Wagner signed with the rival New York Mets—bashing his former club on the way out the door.
He complained that he wasn't liked in the clubhouse, and no one wanted to see him succeed on the mound.
The final nail in the coffin came when Wagner infamously said that he spent most of his time in Philly "laughing at these people," of course, referencing the fans, whom he claimed never liked him, never supported him and couldn't wait to see him go.
Not to spoil anything for the poor saps who have never seen any of the Star Wars movies (but I'm going to anyway,) but for some reason, I've always compared Scott Rolen to Anakin Skywalker.
When he was drafted by the Phillies in 1993, he was supposed to be the next Mike Schmidt. He was supposed to lead the next wave of Phillies to success, just like Anakin Skywalker was supposed to be the next great Jedi (yes, that was the simplified version.) Rolen played the game hard and played it the right way. He was embraced and loved by this city.
Then, things changed.
Rolen began to move towards the dark side. He demanded that his contract be reworked to include strange contract clauses, complained about the turf at Veterans Stadium and even sat out of the game on Scott Rolen Day! He was slowly evolving from a fan-favorite to a nuisance to a hated man in Philly just like Skywalker would eventually become Darth Vader.
OK, we can be done with that analogy now.
Rolen wanted out of Philadelphia. That much was clear. Claiming that playing for a team like the St. Louis Cardinals would be like "baseball heaven" while still wearing a Phillies' uniform is a baseball sin in Philadelphia and forever sealed his fate as a Phillies' villain.
Though he got his wish, he lost so much more.
Philadelphia is such a passionate town that one swing can lead to an otherwise respectable player becoming a Phillies' villain.
Just ask Joe Carter.
After the storybook Phillies team that won 97 games and the National League pennant in 1993 had won over the hearts of the fans, it was time to finish the job: Win the World Series. Standing in their way was a powerhouse Toronto Blue Jays team ready to defend their 1992 title.
It just felt like the Phillies were supposed to win.
As Game 6 rolled around and the Phillies trailed three games to two in the series, the painful realization that they may not be able to finish the job set in. However, there was hope. With a 6-5 lead in the ninth inning, on came Mitch Williams.
It didn't take long to tell that the "Wild Thing" was noticeably tired. It was a long season. The speedy Rickey Henderson reached base, followed by a Paul Molitor single. Now, Williams was forced to use a slide-step to keep Henderson close—something he had never done before, with Joe Carter at the plate.
The rest is history.
Williams threw Carter a fastball right down the pipe, and Carter absolutely crushed it along with the hopes and dreams of a World Series title from a desperate fanbase for a three-run home run.
Welcome to the Hall of Villains, Joe Carter.
What do batteries, the amateur draft, Scott Boras, the St. Louis Cardinals, $10 million and the St. Paul Saints of the Independent League all have in common?
Well, nothing really, except for J.D. Drew.
After years of pitiful baseball being played in Veterans Stadium, there was cause for hope in Philly. The Phillies loved super-prospect J.D. Drew. He had a smooth swing that produced power and consistency, natural talents in the outfield and was dubbed as a "can't-miss" prospects.
Well, if history has taught us anything, it's that if a team exists that can miss on a can't-miss prospect, it's the Phillies.
Despite reports that it would be impossible for the Phillies to sign Drew, they drafted him with the second overall pick anyway. Drew would go on to hire notorious baseball agent Scott Boras to represent him, and the battle began.
Negotiations were a trench fight for almost an entire year with each side crying foul. It all started with Boras demanding an outrageous (at the time) signing bonus of $10 million. The Phillies wouldn't come close to paying that even after Boras lowered his demands by half.
Instead, Drew would never sign. He would agree to a one-year deal with the St. Paul Saints and play in the Independent League re-entering the draft the following season to be selected by the St. Louis Cardinals.
His first game in Philadelphia after signing with the Cardinals wasn't pretty. He was pelted with batteries and serenaded with boos. Though the batteries would cease over time, the boos never would, and Drew became the most hated man in Phillies history.
For news, rumors, analysis and game recaps during spring training, check out Greg's blog: The Phillies Phactor!