The funny thing about fans of the Philadelphia Phillies is that players that this city tends to embrace are often hated with a fiery passion by fans of other teams.
Then again, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
Phillies fans love a player that plays the game "the right way." They want to see a player hustle hard, grind out each at-bat, or run right through a wall if that's what the situation requires. If a guy is willing to meet those conditions, he will be embraced by this city and its passionate fans.
But there's a flip-side to that coin.
Those types of players tend to drive fans of other teams absolutely insane. Any player that will do anything to beat you has the potential to drive you up a wall as well, and there are plenty of those guys on this list.
However, they aren't the only ones. You'll just have to stay tuned to find out which Phillies' players have driven opposing fans to the brink in their careers.
For news, rumors, analysis, and game recaps during spring training, check out Greg's blog: The Phillies Phactor!
One thing that you will notice about this list is that it features a majority of recent players. On a similar note, it is lacking a lot of old-time players and players from days in which they did not receive a ton of coverage in the media.
That is not an accident or a coincidence.
When researching this list, it was hard not to make certain assumptions. Take for instance the play of Phillies' all-time great starting pitcher Pete Alexander. While I'm sure his play baffled the opposition and annoyed the opposing fans to no end, there's no proof of that.
So unless there was some sort of documented angst or well noted character traits about a player, they did not make this list.
The 1993 Phillies aggravated plenty of people as a collective, so it shouldn't be all that surprising to see a couple of names from that group on this list, and what better place to start than with the club's leader, Darren Daulton?
The club's vocal leader on and off the field, Daulton had a tendency to make the Phillies go, and that was something that opposing fans couldn't stand. Behind the plate, he was tough as nails, both physically and mentally, and at the plate, he had the ability to spread the ball around and make things happen.
During the Phillies' heated rivalry with the New York Mets, Daulton became public enemy number one after landing a couple of good shots on Mets' pitcher Doc Gooden, another of those incidents that Phillies' fans loved and other fans hated.
Nowadays, you can read his book on numerology or listen to him talk about Phillies baseball. Whatever floats your boat.
If he's not on your team, there aren't many people who enjoy a player that can change the tide of an entire game with one swing of the bat, and that is certainly something that Ryan Howard is capable of.
No player in the history of the game reached the 250 home run mark faster than Howard, and that factoid is not lost on the opposing fans, who more likely than not, have watched the "Big Piece" take a member of their pitching staff deep once or twice.
From Rookie of the Year to MVP, Howard has won over (most of) the Phillies fan base, but by the same token, has also become quite the target for opposing fans.
If you asked a Phillies fan to describe Cliff Lee's personality, that person would probably tell you that the Phillies' starter is a laid back, easy going kind of guy. If you asked Lee himself, he'd probably say something like, "Whatever."
If you asked someone who wasn't a Phillies fan, they'd probably tell you that Lee was a bit arrogant, maybe a tad cocky. It is a sentiment that I never understood personally, but one that I've seen come up over and over again.
If you can distance yourself for a moment, it does make some sense. Lee is the type of player that is so focused, so dedicated to the game, and most importantly, successful enough to come over as a bit cold. Opposing fans certainly aren't going to like that.
Heading into a contract year, most Phillies fans have been clamoring for their club to offer Cole Hamels the big contract extension that it will take to keep him in town. Though he is slated to be one of next winter's big free agents, it seems as though a lot of fans could care less where "Hollywood" Hamels landed.
I came across an interesting piece from AskMen.com from a couple of seasons ago that made a few interesting points:
Why you should hate him:
Hamels is the typical good-looking, everything-comes-easy, cocky California guy who is constantly speaking his mind. Besides the fact that he can polish a NLCS MVP trophy, a World Series Championship ring and a World Series MVP trophy, he can also brag about his trophy wife, former Survivor contestant Heidi Strobel. Not to mention the way he eggs on those poor Mets, calling them “choke artists” in the media at any chance that arises. He is already a legend in Philly. Fans even started a Chuck Norris-esqe website dedicated to Hamels that lists all of his facts. Fact: Instead of JIF, choosy moms choose Cole Hamels. (OK, that is kind of funny.)
Heh. Choosy moms choose Cole Hamels. Heh.
They don't call Mitch Williams "Wild Thing" for no reason—the man is a little crazy.
On the mound, however, he got that name for his lack of control. In possession of an explosive fastball, he could throw one by a hitter's ear for the first pitch of an at-bat and on the next, paint one right on the corner. That's really what made him a good closer.
Well, that and the fact that Williams always marched to the beat of his own drum.
A crucial part of that 1993 club that challenged the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series, Williams feared no man. He wasn't afraid to challenge any hitter and he certainly wasn't afraid to speak his mind. Those traits, combined with the fact that his antics made him one of the most interesting characters in franchise history, made him a fan-favorite (and a target after a few blown saves) in the city of Philadelphia.
It also made him an enemy to opposing fan bases.
Once upon a time, Billy Wagner was a fan-favorite in the city of Philadelphia, on the fast track to becoming one of the greatest closers in the history of the Phillies' franchise and securing his spot in Phillies' lore.
Then he signed with the New York Mets, leaving the Phillies in the dust, and managed to open his mouth to say enough to alienate an entire fan base. Well played.
But that has always been the story with Wagner. When he plays for a team, he somehow manages to get a reputation as being one of the club's "good guys," but fans would hate watching him come on to pitch the ninth inning.
He packed a wallop. Though he was just a little guy, he could probably kill you with a four-seam fastball. Wagner managed to become one of the few players on this list hated by fans in Philadelphia and by fans elsewhere.
Juan Samuel was an extremely talented offensive player early in his career with the Phillies and a pain to defend against, something that I'm sure aggravated opposing fans to no end.
At the plate, Samuel could hurt you in a number of different ways. In four straight seasons, he posted double digits in doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases. As dangerous as he was with the bat, however, it was those feet you had to watch out for.
Samuel could flat out fly, and while it was entertaining to watch him run circles around the opposition as a Phillies' fan, it was frustrating trying to get him out.
No fan base would hate him more than the New York Mets' group. After some promising seasons with the Phillies, the Mets sent Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to Philly for his services.
While Dykstra and McDowell would play big parts in the Phillies' success during their 1993 title run, Samuel would spend all of one season with the Mets—and it wasn't even a full year. He also posted a dreadful OPS of .599.
Jayson Werth is the type of player that is easy to like if he's on your team, and easy to dislike if he's not. You can amplify each of those effects as far as the Phillies and their fans are concerned, because Werth was a guy that they loved seeing in red pinstripes.
For those of you who believe that clean-shaven, neatly groomed men in sharp suits are ruining the sport of baseball, Werth was a breath of fresh air, particularly in the city of Philadelphia, where people find ways to appreciate that sort of thing.
Werth let his hair grow long and grew a beard that became worthy of its own fan group. When the Phillies celebrated their second consecutive National League pennant in 2009, Werth lit up a cigar and celebrated in Philly fashion.
Most importantly, he played the game hard and marched to the beat of his own drum in Philadelphia, and fans here loved him for that. Fans elsewhere? Well, they were never too fond of him.
Bobby Abreu's situation is very similar to Scott Rolen's.
This is a man that had all of the talent in the world. He has the ability to hit for average or drive the ball out of the ballpark and change the outcome of a game with one swing. That in and of itself was something that drove a lot of opposing fans crazy.
Two of the reasons that fans have learned to dislike Abreu throughout his career are his questionable defense and clubhouse character.
There's no doubt that Abreu can play defense. The real question is whether or not he wants to play defense. In Philadelphia, fans always questioned his determination. Would he run into a wall? Would he even go near a wall? Is he giving it his all out in right field?
That was just the tip of the iceberg, and after he started to effect the clubhouse with his desire to leave the Phillies, the club had enough.
The Los Angeles Angels may be in for a similar experience this spring.
Curt Schilling has a tendency to speak his mind. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, not everyone enjoys hearing what you have to say, all of the time.
So while Schilling was an extremely talented pitcher and no one will ever doubt that, his people skills were certainly lacking. It seemed like every time he had something to say, he would manage to alienate parts of some team's fan base.
Of course, he kind of sealed the deal with the whole "Bloody Sock Saga" as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Jumping right into politics didn't sit well with some either.
Brett Myers is an interesting character.
His time with the Phillies was mostly positive, but a few select incidents forced his character to take a hit in Philadelphia and a much bigger hit in the national spotlight.
The worst event came in 2006 when Myers was arrested and charged with domestic battery after a witness saw him bunch his wife outside of an establishment in Boston, Massachusetts. Though Myers took some personal time away from the team, the Phillies came under fire for not addressing the issue more seriously.
After that incident, Myers became known throughout the league as a "wife beater," and his image was never quite the same after that.
Pat Burrell is a pretty well-liked guy.
A former first overall pick by the Phillies, teams knew that he was talented, through he eventually became much more of a power threat than anything else late in his career. He had the potential to leave the yard in any at-bat, and while Phillies' fans questioned whether he was "Man or Machine," other teams knew how to get Burrell out.
Well, other teams excluding the New York Mets.
Burrell absolutely wore out the Mets and their pitching staff. The Phillies longtime left fielder killed their division rival, posting an OPS of .876 and hitting an incredible 42 home runs against them.
As you can imagine, Mets fans absolutely hated Burrell, and while Burrell was never hated as passionately elsewhere, Mets fans had plenty of ill-will to go around for Pat the Bat.
Pat Burrell may have worn out the New York Mets, but as the greatest Phillie of all-time, Mike Schmidt wore out everybody.
Arguably the greatest third baseman to ever play the game, Schmidt needs no explanation. He is the first and only member of the Phillies' organization to join the 500 home run club, and he did so by bringing the boom with him wherever he went. Schmidt hit at least 40 home runs against nine different teams, including the Chicago Cubs, who fell victim to the home run power an astounding 78 times.
Opposing fans knew that when Schmidt stepped into the batter's box, bad things tended to follow.
That wasn't the only way that Schmidt found ways to tick people off though, however. The Hall of Famer was also a very vocal person who pulled no punches with the media, saying things that stung various sections of the baseball fan base, including those that support the Phillies.
Nowadays, you probably won't find anything but respect for Schmidt, but it wasn't always that way, so don't let that cloud your judgement.
Tug McGraw was the prototypical Phillie.
Praised as the greatest reliever in the history of this franchise, McGraw would take the ball every time he was asked so and ask to take the ball on days that he wasn't. His incredible work ethic led some to question whether or not his arm was made of rubber, and watching him pitch at the back end of games inspired confidence among the fans.
He was a fan-favorite. People always say that closers are cut from a different cloth and McGraw was certainly no different. An animated character, he would walk off the mound talking to himself, full of energy. He'd slap his thigh and make sure the hitter knew who was boss.
The Phillies fans loved him for it.
Opposing fans hated watching him come on to pitch for the same reason.
Willie Montanez could showboat like it was his job.
Though he had a surplus of talent as a player, Montanez often carried that humbling title of "hot dog" thanks to he way he approached the game. His antics produce a wide range of support from fans and teammates.
After a home run, Montanez would take a slow trot around the base paths, annoying the opposing team's pitchers to no end and more often than not, making him a target in his next at-bat. In the field, he would stab at fly balls and hold his glove at his side, as if he was a cowboy holstering his pistol.
His antics gained some support by fans that enjoyed watching him annoy the hell out of the other team, but he had many more opponents than proponents, including not just opposing fans, but Phillies fans and teammates as well.
They didn't call the man "Nails" for nothing.
After watching him play part-time as a member of the New York Mets, the Phillies acquired Lenny Dykstra as part of the deal that sent Juan Samuel to the Big Apple, and after making him an everyday player, it looked as though Dykstra would fit right in.
His blue collar style of play made him a fan-favorite in Philadelphia. He'd run right through an outfield wall if it gave him a better chance of making a catch, and that same style of play translated to the offensive side of the game. He was an aggressive base runner, not afraid to get dirty or run someone over.
When he was healthy, he was tough as nails, and a player that opposing fans hated to see come to town.
Larry Bowa was a pest as a player.
In fact, his style of play and fiery personality earned him the nickname of "Gnat." With his greatest talent being his superb defensive play at shortstop, Bowa needed to get creative to impact the game in other ways.
One of those was came via a unique offensive skill set. Though he wasn't much of a hitter, Bowa would dunk singles into the outfield grass just beyond the infield, create movement on the base paths, and lay down a bunt whenever he could.
Once he got on base, he'd chat up everyone he could. The name of his game was to disrupt the other team's play, and that made him a pain to play against, hence, the nickname of "Gnat."
Facing Steve Carlton was frustrating for any opposing teams and their fan base.
First and foremost, even on days where he didn't bring his best stuff to the game, Carlton was nearly impossible to score more than a run or two against. With good command, a nasty slider, and a chip on his shoulder, "Lefty" reached 300 wins with relative ease and dominated the opposition in the process.
As an opposing fan, all you could do was respect the man. There was nothing to like. He made your team look like they were Little Leaguers with the the hacks they were taking at the plate, and he did it all with an expression that made him look ticked off.
Maybe he was. Who knows?
Jonathan Papelbon hasn't thrown a single pitch in a regular season game for the Phillies, and yet, I couldn't resist the chance to put him on this list for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, it illustrates that fine line that Phillies fans have about players they love and players they hate. A couple of months ago, you wouldn't find many people that would have preferred Papelbon to his predecessor, Ryan Madson. Nowadays, the talk of the town in Clearwater, Florida is about how well Papelbon fits into the clubhouse.
He does fit into the clubhouse. He brings a veteran presence to a bullpen with the potential to be extremely inexperienced and has that drive to win a World Series that the Phillies need to compete.
But now that Phillies fans love him, the rest of the league hates him.
Ask people what they think about Papelbon and you'll get the same response at least 10 times over. They hate his recognizable stare. They hate his antics on the mound. They hate Cinco Ocho.
Phillies fans don't care what he calls himself as long as he gets those three outs in the ninth inning each time he takes the mound.
No one could ever question Dick Allen's talent. When the Phillies signed him as an amateur free agent out of Wampum High School back in 1960, many within the organization believed that he had the potential to be on of the greatest hitters of all-time, and in many respects, he was.
The big questions surrounding Allen's game came in the form of his commitment. While many would argue that Allen never really got a fair shake at he beginning of his career in Philadelphia, the "Wampum Walloper" surely didn't do much to support his cause.
A troubled character off the field early in his career, those same people that thought he could be great began to question his mental makeup. He was shipped out of Philly before reaching his true potential.
In his days outside of the organization, Allen would develop a new personality that some would refer to as "cool" and others would refer to as "arrogant" or "cocky." This famous image of Allen juggling baseballs and smoking a cigarette defines that polarization nicely.
Either way, he wasn't the kind of guy that opposing fans were ever going to enjoy.
Jimmy Rollins definitely has a certain swagger about him, and he's never been afraid to show it.
You can often find the longtime Phillies' shortstop smiling from ear to ear in the club's dugout when he's going good, and when he's going good, Rollins can wreak havoc on the opposition. With a well-balanced skill-set, he has the potential to take you deep or bloop a single into the outfield and steal his way around the bases in any given at-bat.
What really put him over the edge, in regards to being a player that opposing fans tend to dislike, were his number of predictions that began with the famous "team to beat" claim in 2007 that would eventually prove to be accurate.
During the rivalry with the New York Mets, Rollins was a prime target, and that certainly wasn't the only fan base to voice their displeasure with the Phillies' infielder.
Pete Rose will probably never have to pay for a dinner in Cincinnati or Philadelphia for as long as he lives. Buying dinner in other cities? Well, that's a different story.
After capturing a couple of World Series titles with the Cincinnati Reds, the Phillies temporarily made Rose the highest paid free agent of all-time in hopes that he would do the same for them. "Charlie Hustle's" blue collar style of play made him a perfect fit in Philly, and in 1980, the Phillies won their first championship.
He was a guy that was easy to like if he was wearing your club's uniform, but when he was playing against you, all you could do is hope that he doesn't injure one of your guys.
Rose made a name for himself by doing whatever it takes, whatever the situation. He slid head first everywhere he went and if a catcher was dumb enough to stand in his way, he'd run right through him.
He was well respected for playing the game "the right way," but certainly wasn't a joy to watch playing against your favorite club.
Betting on the game of baseball, on his own team for that matter, certainly didn't help his cause.
Legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas once called Chase Utley "The Man." Phillies fans feel the same way.
Though undoubted as a leader in the clubhouse, Utley is as cool as a cucumber on the field. Keeping his emotions in check is just the way that Utley likes to approach the game, but that comes secondary to the blue collar style of play that this city has come to expect of its players—a style exemplified by Utley.
The Phillies' second baseman once received praise from his "old-school" manager Charlie Manuel for running over Washington Nationals' catcher Jesus Flores, with Manuel saying, "That's not old school. That's good school."
That's just the way Utley plays. He only knows one speed and it is stuck in top gear. An intelligent player, Utley isn't afraid to make the tough play or get dirty doing it, and that's why the city loves him.
It's also why opposing fans hate him.
He comes across as cold and arrogant. He's an excellent athlete, even on an arthritic knee, and has the talent to completely change a game. He isn't afraid to do what it takes to propel the Phillies to a victory, and you'll only please one set of fans with that approach.
Shane Victorino hasn't been making many friends lately.
"The Flyin' Hawaiian" has spent most of his time with the media this spring expressing his desire to remain with the Phillies beyond this season, even if that means foregoing free agency to sign a contract extension.
It would be wise to stay in Philly. He kind of alienated a couple of fan bases.
The fiery, speedy center fielder has been called the Phillies "spark plug" countless times throughout his career, and with good reason: He's like the Energizer Bunny. When he goes, the Phillies go.
With that being said, some fans take offense to the passionate outfielder. He called out former Los Angeles Dodgers' starter Hiroki Kuroda during the 2008 NLCS after throwing over his head, nearly starting a riot, and was more successful in that regard last season, sparking a benches clearing brawl against the San Francisco Giants.
Not everyone is going to love Victorino's style of play, but they love him in Philly.
It's a match made in heaven.
A lot of players on this list are hated just for wearing the Phillies' uniform. I mean let's face it: The Phillies play a brand of baseball specific to the blue collar attitude of this city, and there are fans of opposing teams that just won't like that. They can't help it.
Vicente Padilla isn't one of them. He is hated because he is a jerk.
During his time with the Phillies, Padilla was mediocre, at best, and after gaining a reputation as a negative presence in the clubhouse, was shipped to the Texas Rangers where his "clubhouse cancer" reputation kicked into a higher gear.
During his stint with the Rangers, Padilla managed to incite a benches-clearing brawl. He was designated for assignment in 2009, and the organization stated that it was because of his disruptive clubhouse nature.
Known as a headhunter and clubhouse cancer, Padilla doesn't have many fans anywhere.