25 Biggest Villains in Baseball History

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IApril 18, 2012

25 Biggest Villains in Baseball History

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    Baseball history is a neverending story, and as every tale needs its heroes, it needs its villains even more.  Without villains, stories become boring and without drama, so why even continue paying attention.

    Take Barry Bonds (pictured), for example. The man is a Grade A jerk whose steroid use was a black mark on the game, but we, as fans, still continued to watch him power his way to the top of the career home run list. 

    Why did we watch? Well, maybe because we just wanted him to fail.

    Sure enough, Bonds is just one of many villains throughout baseball's extensive history. After going through the baseball annals for hours on end, I've come up with the 25 most infamous villains in the history of the game. 

    Break out your Haterade starting...NOW.

No. 25: Nyjer Morgan

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    The mark of any great villain is one who also has charisma, and Morgan has tons of it.  Not only has he started his fair share of fights on the field, but his alter ego's name, "Tony Plush," just has the sound of someone villainous.

    More importantly, watch the video. It's clear that Morgan's plotting something. Just what? 

    Well, I guess we'll never know.

No. 24: Dick Allen

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    Allen was one of the greatest players in baseball history, wrapping up a 15-year career with a .292 average, 351 homers and 1,119 RBI. Yet, he is not enshrined in Cooperstown.

    Why? Well, throughout his career, Allen exhibited a lazy and surly attitude on any team for which he played. 

    The fact that he played for five different teams in his career and was out of the game by age 35 is kind of ridiculous.

    Because of his almost unscrupulous villainy, he has yet to be endowed with post-retirement recognition.

No. 23: Milton Bradley

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    This picture alone defines Bradley's legacy as a player. 

    From playing on eight teams in 12 years to calling Chicago Cubs fans racist, the man's attitude was a pox on the honor of the game, and he was one of the most hated villains.

    However, we watched him because we just wanted to see what he would do next.

No. 22: Reggie Jackson

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    Jackson forever sealed his fate as a villain when he first arrived on the New York Yankees. 

    In an interview, he famously called himself "the straw that stirs the drink" and that team captain Thurman Munson could "only stir it bad."

    I don't care who you are. You don't disrespect your teammate like that under ANY circumstances.

No. 21: Alex Rodriguez

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    Be it because of the many beautiful women he has been with, his swatting Bronson Arroyo or his admitted steroid use, Rodriguez is one of the most hated figures in baseball history.  

    Throw in the fact that he's the highest-paid player in baseball, and people hate him even more.

    But man, do we have respect for the guy.

No. 20: Charles Comiskey

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    I'm sorry, but if your treatment of your players leads to one of the worst occurrences in baseball history, aka The Black Sox Scandal, you've got to be one evil individual.  

    Thus, though Comiskey is enshrined in Cooperstown, he's forever remembered as one of baseball's biggest villains.

No. 19: Mark McGwire

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    Though he was one of the most loved players of his generation, McGwire sealed his fate as a villain when he appeared before Congress to testify about steroid use in baseball.  

    By pleading the fifth, he forever demonized himself in the eyes of fans, and even though he came clean in 2010, he'll forever be labeled as a conniving villain in this fan's opinion.

No. 18: Nolan Ryan

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    Nothing to explain here. Watch the video!

No. 17: Darryl Strawberry

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    I love Strawberry, but the fact that his drug problem derailed what could have been a Hall of Fame career forever taints him as a villain of the game.  

    The fact that he was suspended twice for his drug use doesn't help his case either.

    Sorry, Straw, but you've earned your spot on this list.

No. 16: Albert Belle

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    From his testy relationship with the media to the fact that he attempted to get a corked bat back after it was initially confiscated, Belle would do anything to get what he wanted even if it meant breaking the rules and hurting others.  

    If that's not a villain, I honestly don't know what is.

    Oh, and let's not forget the time he chased after trick or treaters who were egging his house.

No. 15: Roger Clemens

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    Once considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Clemens found himself in a negative light when his name appeared in the infamous Mitchell Report 82 times.  

    When his former trainer came forward, he chose not to stay quiet and took a very combative tone in defending himself.

    Currently, he is about to be retried for perjury. In the end, the baseball villain who is currently all the rage will either fall or crawl back out looking to regain strength.

No. 14: George Steinbrenner

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    When your nickname is "The Boss," chances are you have some villainous tendencies.

    Steinbrenner had plenty of those as he ran the New York Yankees with an iron fist for over 30 years, serving two suspensions in the process.

    Yet, Steinbrenner's defining moment as a villain came when he hired a known gambler to "dig up dirt" on Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield, whose underachieving play late in the season led the volatile owner to dub him "Mr. May," and thus, forever strain their relationship.

No. 13: Gary Sheffield

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    Forget the fact that Sheffield was traded five times in his career.  

    He sealed his status as a villain when he infamously played the race card when discussing his former manager Joe Torre and former teammate Derek Jeter.  

    The All-Star outfielder accused Torre of treating white players differently than those of African-American descent and also laughed in the face of steroid allegations.

    In being so hateful and unlikeable, he definitely wrote many a book on baseball villainy.

No. 12: Manny Ramirez

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    Three words, folks: Manny Being Manny

No. 11: Rafael Palmeiro

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    "I have never used steroids, period," are words that shook the nation when Rafael Palmeiro spoke them in front of Congress in March 2005.  

    Sure enough, months later, just days after getting his 3,000th hit, he tested positive and was suspended for 10 games.

    Just as some may hate corporate fat cats for lying about an important issue, the same can be said for baseball fans who view Palmeiro as a villain.

No. 10: Ozzie Guillen

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    OK, so let me get this straight.  

    Ozzie Guillen manages the Miami Marlins, who play in Little Havana, and he goes off and makes comments praising long-time Cuban dictator Fidel Castro?

    Well, I suppose that's one way to paint yourself as a villain.

No. 9: Shoeless Joe Jackson

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    In 1919, eight players on the AL Champion Chicago White Sox were paid by gangsters to throw the World Series, and the biggest name among the group was star outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. 

    Now, did he actually throw the Series? Well, that's debatable. In the eight-game contest, he hit .375 with a home run and six RBI, so it's not as though he was playing badly.

    Still, the fact that he is even associated with such a deed makes him not only a villain, but a tragic figure.

No. 8: Jose Canseco

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    I could go on about how Canseco threw some players under the bus when he wrote a book that led to the crackdown on steroid use in baseball today, but I'm not going to. 

    Instead, I will direct you to his Twitter feed, where the stuff he says makes him not only a villain, but an idiot.

No. 7: Bob Gibson

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    Though a great pitcher, Gibson was merciless. If he felt you were crowding the plate, he'd throw a blazing fastball right at your head to get you to back off. 

    Even if you were an ex-teammate, he kept to the old-school belief that the other team equals the enemy, so you were not spared his wrath.

    If you ask me, that's one scary villain.

No. 6: Jeffrey Loria

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    I'm happy that Jeffrey Loria is finally running the Marlins intelligently.

    However, did he have to do it after running the then-Montreal Expos into the ground and then screwing over the taxpayers just so a new stadium could be built?

No. 5: Cap Anson

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    Believe it or not, there was an era before Jackie Robinson that saw African-Americans play in the major leagues. 

    Suddenly, in 1885, things started to change when Anson threw his weight around. Outspoken in his prejudice of African-Americans, the Chicago White Stockings' star threatened to organize a players' strike simply because the league wasn't all-white.

    The sad part is that five years later, African-American players were banished to the Negro Leagues. Given how just one player forced EXECUTIVE hands in such a way, that's villainy to the core.

No. 4: Barry Bonds

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    Forget that he was an unrepentant steroid user and first-class jerk. Bonds was recently convicted on obstruction of justice charges related to his use of PEDs. 

    I'm sorry, but if you deny one thing so long that you end up going on trial for it, that automatically puts you amongst the villains of the game.

No. 3: Pete Rose

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    First, he was banned from baseball for life for supposedly betting on it. Years later, after dancing around the issue for I don't know how long, Rose finally came clean in a book that just happened to be released on the day of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. 

    He then admitted that he bet on his team to win every night.

    I'm sorry, but just the way he has handled himself throughout the entire process of coming clean a little bit/coming clean fully/just mouthing off is so manipulative and disgusting that I can't help but view him in a negative light.

No. 2: Bud Selig

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    Well, where do I begin with Selig? 

    First, as acting commissioner, he lets the 1994 season die without a World Series played.  Then, in 2002, he famously called the All-Star Game a tie after both sides ran out of pitchers.

    Oh, and let's not forget his trying to get rid of the Minnesota Twins.

No. 1: Kenesaw Mountain Landis

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    A former federal judge, Landis was baseball's original hard ass. 

    He was appointed the game's first commissioner in 1920, and his first action was banning the eight White Sox players involved in the Black Sox Scandal for life. Yet, his status as a villain comes in a much more disturbing factor.

    Let's go back to 1942, when St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck planned to buy the Philadelphia Phillies and load the team with African-American stars of the Negro Leagues. 

    Sure enough, once Landis learned of the plan, he supposedly went to great lengths to block Veeck's purchase just so that the major leagues would not be integrated.

    Landis died two years later, and sure enough, Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers another three years after that. 

    Coincidence? I think not.