Most Volatile Tempers in Baseball History
For the most part, baseball is thought of as a laid-back, non-contact, easy-going sport, and more times than not that is the case.
However, in the heat of competition sometimes emotions can boil over and players can lose their cool in one way or another.
For some guys, this simply represents an isolated incident, but for others it is part of who they are and it sometimes carries over into their lives off the field.
So, here is a look at the most volatile tempers in baseball history, guys who have lost their cool and earned themselves a reputation because of it.
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One of the most intimidating sluggers of the past 20 years, Sheffield launched 509 home runs over his 22-year career and piled up a 56.1 career WAR.
He never had one glaring incident of his temper boiling over, but he was always regarded as a player with a bad attitude and he caused more than his share of clubhouse issues because of it.
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One of the best pitchers of the 1990s, Brown enjoyed a terrific 19-year career as he compiled a 211-144 career record with a 3.28 ERA.
After helping lead the Padres to the World Series in his only season with the team in 1998, he became baseball's first $100 million man when the Dodgers inked him to a seven-year, $105 million contract.
While his career was impressive, it also gave him a huge ego. He wanted nothing to do with teammates and was flat-out mean.
On the field, he closed out his time with the Yankees by punching a concrete wall in anger and breaking his hand. Off the field, he was accused of pulling a gun on his neighbor back in 2006 over whose property some lawn clippings were on.
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Alomar was one of the greatest second basemen of all time, making 12 All-Star teams and winning 10 Gold Glove awards. That consistently high level of play earned him enshrinement in the Hall of Fame last year.
For the most part, Alomar was a fine ambassador to the game and a well-liked player, but one incident remains associated with him and may very well have been the reason he was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Back when he was with the Orioles, Alomar got into an argument with umpire John Hirschbeck, and when things escalated Alomar proceeded to spit on the umpire. Alomar later said he thought Hirschbeck had become bitter following the death of his son, and Hirschbeck had to be restrained the next day when he went after Alomar in the locker room.
The two have since made amends, but it was one of the uglier all-around incidents in baseball history.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Rays, Young has fallen short of the hype to this point in his career. He has become a solid starting outfielder and decent power threat, but he is far from the superstar most thought he would be.
Back when he was still a minor leaguer, he made headlines for throwing a bat at an umpire following a call he disagreed with. The bat hit the umpire in the chest and earned Young a 50-game suspension.
He was again in the news for the wrong reasons recently, when he was arrested in New York on hate crime harassment charges. That earned him a seven-game suspension, and it could not have come at a worse time as he is in a contract year.
Waddell, a Hall of Fame pitcher who won 193 games as one of the top pitchers at the turn of the century, would not have been allowed anywhere near a baseball field in today's world.
He would often leave the dugout and chase firetrucks on their way to fires, and he was easily distracted by fans who would wave shiny objects in the stands. But it goes on from there, as he wrestled alligators in the offseason and reportedly forgot how many times he was married.
He was an admitted alcoholic, and many now speculate that he dealt with some mental health issues. While he was one of the best pitchers to ever toe the rubber, he was a loose cannon to say the least, as he often fought teammates over ridiculous things. In essence, he was the definition of volatile.
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Following a .293 batting average, 10 home run, 50 RBI season at Triple-A as a 22-year-old in 2006, Dukes ranked among the Baseball America Top 100 prospects entering the 2007 season.
Handed a starting job, he struggled to a .190 average and was traded to the Nationals the following season. His big league career lasted just two more seasons, and he was out of professional baseball by 2010.
It was off the field where his anger showed itself, as he threatened the life of his wife and their children in 2007, sending her a picture of a gun and leaving her a horrible voicemail.
He was also accused of getting a 17-year-old girl pregnant, and when she informed him he responded by throwing a Gatorade bottle at her. According to court records, he has at least five children from four women.
Arguably the best left-handed pitcher in baseball history, Johnson racked up 303 wins and 4,875 strikeouts over his brilliant 22-year career. He also took home five Cy Young awards, including four straight from 1999 to 2002.
He was an intimidating presence on the mound, standing 6'10", and he had a blazing fastball that looked like it was being released right on top of you.
Never afraid to command the inside of the plate, he no doubt had a mean streak on the mound. However, he also had a less-than-friendly personality off the field, as he kept to himself in the clubhouse and wanted nothing to do with the press.
Brett is a consensus top-five third baseman of all time and the greatest player in Royals history. His hard-nosed and consistent play made him a fan favorite throughout his career, all 21 years of which he spent in Kansas City.
He was not a notorious hot head, but his one big blowup made for one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.
The "Pine Tar Incident," as it has come to be known, occurred when Brett hit what looked to be a go-ahead home run against the Yankees back in 1983.
After Brett rounded the bases and was back in the dugout, Yankees manager Billy Martin (more on him later) complained to the umpire that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat, and the umpire in turn called Brett out, causing him to come tearing out of the dugout at the umpire as he unleashed an epic tirade.
The most prolific power-hitting second baseman in big league history, Jeff Kent broke the record previously held by Ryne Sandberg for career home runs by a second baseman. He also took home the 2000 NL MVP Award and was a consistent 20 home run, 100 RBI producer throughout the second half of his career.
However, he was also a player who consistently had trouble getting along with both his teammates and the media, with all of that boiling over into a dugout fight with Barry Bonds back in 2002. He was the definition of a punk, and loved shooting off his mouth.
The fact that Kent donated $15,000 to proponents of Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in the state of California was a major cause of controversy, but it was far from his only run-in.
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In his prime, Martinez was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, and from 1997 to 2003 he went 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA, winning three Cy Young awards.
For his 18-year career, he went 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA, and despite falling short of the Hall of Fame milestones, he's likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
While he had a lovable personality off the field, he was a pit bull on the mound. His 141 career hit batsmen ranks 26th all time, as he was by no means afraid to throw at a hitter. His incident with Don Zimmer was the perfect example of how his attitude on the mound affected his opponents.
Guillen was a solid player during his time in the league and has quickly become a terrific player's manager. He also lead the White Sox to a World Series title in 2005.
Additionally, Guillen is among the most quotable people in all of sports and someone who is never afraid to speak his mind, no matter how profanity-laced and offensive it may be. However, he took that to another level recently when he made remarks supporting Fidel Castro.
That earned him a five-game suspension, and was followed by what came across as the most sincere apology of his career. Will we see a new Guillen now that he's returned? The smart money is on no, as he has never been one to control his anger, but time will tell.
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The big league career of Jocko Halligan was a short one, but that was not for lack of talent, as he hit a solid .281 over his three big league seasons and had the potential to be a solid catcher.
It was his anger that cut short his career, as he got mad at teammate Cub Stricker during a poker game and punched him in the face, breaking his jaw.
He was released immediately following the incident and was never given another chance at the big league level.
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A top prospect as a starter with the Indians back in the early 1990s, Tavarez made his major league debut at the age of 20 in 1993. While he never made it as a starter, he went on to appear in 828 games (108 starts) over 17 seasons.
He enjoyed varying levels of success throughout his career, which was part of the reason why he wound up pitching for 11 different teams. One thing he brought to every stop, though, was a nasty demeanor on the mound and in the dugout.
His most notable incident came when he punched Joey Gathright in the face during spring training back in 2006, but he was as well-known for throwing at hitters as anyone in the league.
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One of the most feared sluggers of his time, Kingman used a long, sweeping swing to launch 442 home runs over his 16-year career. He also struck out a staggering 1,816 times in his career, as he was the definition of an all-or-nothing swinger.
He played for seven different teams in his career, and seemingly clashed with someone every step of the way.
His prickly personality and loner attitude left him at odds with teammates and the media alike, but at the same time seemed to fit perfectly with his playing style.
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One of the premier relievers of the 1990s, Dibble was part of the Reds' three-headed monster known as the "Nasty Boys," alongside Norm Charlton and Randy Myers.
His career spanned just seven seasons, but in that time he racked up 89 saves with a 2.98 ERA and 12.2 K/9 as he threw heat.
You need look no further than his Wikipedia page to see that he was a volatile player, as there is an entire section simply titled "Temper" that highlights some of the angrier moments of the hard-throwing right-hander's career.
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Chacon made a name for himself in 2005 when he was acquired by the Yankees at the deadline and went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA over 12 starts.
He was largely unimpressive over the remainder of his career, though, serving as a journeyman starter and reliever for the Rockies and Pirates before joining the Astros in 2008 at the age of 30.
It was there that his anger boiled over in a major way. On June 25th of that year, Chacon refused to leave the team dining room to speak with team owner Ed Wade in his office. When Wade came looking for him and allegedly yelled at him, Chacon grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground, repeatedly knocking him down when he tried to get back up.
He was released and forfeited the rest of his salary for the season, as the incident effectively marked the end of his big league career.
As a rookie reliever during the 2004 season, Frank Francisco took quickly to life in a big league bullpen, as he posted a 3.33 ERA in 45 appearances and 51.1 innings of work.
However, his season will be best remembered for an incident that occurred on September 13, 2004, when he threw a chair in the stands at a heckling fan but hit the woman sitting next to him instead, breaking her nose.
Francisco was eventually arrested on assault charges, and teammates claim the fan made racial slurs against him and heckled fellow Rangers reliever Doug Brocail about his stillborn child, so it was not completely unprovoked, but it was still a scary moment.
Considered by many to be the greatest second baseman of all time, Hornsby ended his career with a stat line of a .358 batting average, 301 home runs, 1,584 RBI and a pair of MVP awards to his credit.
He spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Cardinals, but bounced around a bit after that playing for the Giants, Braves, Cubs, Cardinals again and Browns over the final 11 years of his career, despite the fact that he was still among the most productive players in the league.
His reason for bouncing around was his inability to get along with teammates and management alike. This trend continued on into his days as a manager, as he was considered by many to be as mean and nasty as Ty Cobb and he seemed to want little to do with his teammates.
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I could give you some background on Wellman, but really all you need to see is the video.
It's become a classic already, and may very well rank as the most entertaining manager meltdown in baseball history.
Dick Allen was a superstar on the field and the first African-American star player to take the field in Philadelphia. He put up terrific numbers over his 15-year career with a line of a .292 batting average, 351 home runs and 1,119 RBI.
While those numbers are arguably Hall of Fame worthy, he never topped the 20-percent mark in voting because he was regularly known as a clubhouse cancer throughout his career.
He drank before games, fought with teammates, missed games for ridiculous reasons and just in general put himself before his team and teammates.
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One of the pioneers of the game as a player, McGraw played 16 seasons and had a .334 career average and a 44.1 career WAR.
However, it was his 33 years as a manager that made him a Hall of Famer, as his 2,763 career wins rank second all time behind Connie Mack.
As a player, he was known for doing whatever it took to get ahead, and he brought that same ruthless attitude to managing the Giants to 10 pennants and three World Series titles.
The first player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits, Cap Anson was one of the first real superstars in the MLB. He finished his career with 3,435 hits and a whopping 2,075 RBI, which is good for third-best all time.
He was also one of the biggest racists in the history of professional sports, as he refused to take the field when opposing teams' rosters featured a black player.
His racism reached much further than his own convictions, though, as he is credited with playing a major role in the eventual segregation of the MLB. His anger towards the opposite race tarnished what should have been a legacy as one of the game's first true superstars.
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Rogers enjoyed a 20-year career as one of the more steady left-handed pitchers in recent memory, as he won 219 games and was a four-time All-Star.
His career really picked up in its later stages, as he made three straight All-Star appearances at the ages of 39 to 41. However, his temperament also picked up later on in his career.
Back in 2005, his final season in Texas, the then 40-year-old Rogers got into an altercation with a cameraman—first shoving him, and then when he resumed filming shoving him again and knocking his camera to the ground.
He was charged with misdemeanor assault, was suspended 20 games and fined $50,000. He went on to appear in the All-Star game while appealing his suspension and had trouble regaining his reputation following the incident.
A two-time All-Star who enjoyed a 15-year playing career, Jose Offerman was playing for one more chance at the big leagues in 2007 at the age of 38.
A member of the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, Offerman was hit in the leg by a pitch from Matt Beech in a game on August 14, 2007, after homering in his first at-bat.
As soon as he was hit, Offerman charged the mound with the bat over his head and took two swings, with the results being a broken finger for Beech and a concussion for his catcher John Nathans.
He was charged with assault and was arrested, and Nathans sued him for $4.8 million in damages as the concussion effectively ended his playing career.
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A Hall of Fame manager, Weaver spent 17 seasons leading the Baltimore Orioles, putting together a 1,480-1,060 record and topping the 90-win mark 11 times.
His reliance on the three-run home run and legendary blow-ups have made him one of baseball's most well-known managers.
He was ejected from games at least 91 times, tossed from both games of a double-header three times and thrown out of a game before it even started twice. He had a well-known feud with manager Ron Luciano, who ejected him eight times in his career.
On the surface, Zambrano enjoyed a terrific 11-year run with the Cubs, going 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA and winning double-digit games seven different times.
However, despite his talent, Zambrano was a consistent headache for the Cubs as he was never able to control his emotions on the mound, and that affected his play time and again.
It went beyond that, though, as a physical confrontation in the dugout with Michael Barrett was an all-too-public altercation, and just last season he left a particularly poor outing and cleaned out his locker, claiming he retired, which lead to him being suspended from the team.
When Theo Epstein took over the reins in Chicago, one of his first acts was to find a taker for Big Z, moving him to the Marlins where he is off to a fantastic season with a 2.85 ERA through nine starts.
Guillen began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, earning the everyday right field job as a 21-year-old and hitting .267 with 14 home runs and 70 RBI in his first big league season, setting expectations for his big league career sky high.
Always a temperamental player, Guillen found himself at odds with Angels manager Mike Scioscia at the end of the 2003 season, and despite a .294 batting average, 27 home runs and 107 RBI, he was suspended for the final two weeks of the season and the playoffs.
He later found himself in the middle of the PED controversy, as he was named on the Mitchell Report and was later kept off the Giants' postseason roster in 2010 when the DEA intercepted a shipment of HGH headed for Guillen.
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Moriarty did a little bit of everything during his baseball career. He was a player, an umpire, briefly a manager and then once again an umpire.
It is his time as an umpire that he is best remembered for, as he held the role from 1917 to 1940 (sans 1927-1928 when he managed the Tigers). He was a highly regarded umpire, officiating five World Series and three All-Star games.
His one black mark as an umpire came on Memorial Day in 1932, when White Sox pitcher Milt Gaston and several other players called out Moriarty on some poor calls.
He responded by challenging them to settle things under the stands after the game. When Gaston took him up on the offer, Moriarty knocked the pitcher out and broke his hand in the process.
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Izzy Alcantra was far from a big league star, as he managed just 51 games over a three season span and posted a career line of a .270 batting average, six home runs and 15 RBI.
On the other hand, he spent 16 seasons in the minor leagues, Korean league, Canadian league and Mexican league where he compiled a .281 average, 287 home runs and 892 RBI.
In the end, though, he will be best remembered for his legendary brawl video, one most baseball fans have seen a thousand times. After nearly being hit by an inside pitch, he kicks the catcher in the chest and charges the mound ready to take on the entire other team in what can only be described as a poor decision at best.
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Lasorda was manager of the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996, leading the team to four pennants and two World Series titles. He had a 1,599-1,439 record during his time and was named to the Hall of Fame in 1997.
In 2000, he managed the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal over heavily favored Cuba as he became the first manager to win a World Series and a gold medal.
While he is highly regarded in the MLB community, he was somewhat of a jerk to the media during his coaching days. It is his legendary rant (warning: strong language) following a three-home run game by Dave Kingman to beat the Dodgers that earns him a spot on this list, though.
That was not his only impressive meltdown, as he also responded to comments by Kurt Bevacqua with a profanity-filled rant that was rather memorable.
John Rocker climbed up through the Atlanta Braves' system after being drafted in the 18th round in 1993 to emerge as the team's closer in 1999. He saved 38 games in his first full season and posted an impressive 12.9 K/9 mark.
For as much talent as Rocker had, though, he had twice as much ignorance, and he quickly grew to be one of the most despised athletes in all of professional sports.
With his constant racist and homophobic remarks, not to mention his penchant for flipping off fans, Rocker soon found himself in a position where no team was willing to sign him, and his inability to control his anger ended what should have been a promising career.
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Cox spent 29 seasons as a big league manager, including 25 of them at the helm of the Braves. He compiled a 2,504-2,001 record over that time.
He led Atlanta to 14 straight division titles and ranks as one of the greatest managers of all time, but it may be his penchant for getting ejected that he will be most remembered for.
He was tossed from 158 games in his career and three more in the postseason, breaking John McGraw's record, as he was quick to fly off the handle if he disagreed with an umpire's call.
Over his 14-year career, Carl Everett put together a .271 batting average, 202 home runs and 792 RBI and was a two-time All-Star.
Always outspoken about his beliefs, Everett claimed that there was no such thing as dinosaurs and called fossils man-made fakes. He also claimed the Moon landing was a hoax. Perhaps most controversial, though, were his repeated homophobic remarks.
Aside from his remarks, he was also prone to temper tantrums and was often ejected from games. It was not until he retired that he took it to the next level, though. Last year, he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after holding a gun to the head of his wife of 18 years.
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A solid player during his 18-year career, Piniella hit .291 with 102 home runs and 766 RBI while spending most of his career with the Royals and Yankees.
Two years after his retirement, he was named manager of the Yankees and he would go on to manage for 23 seasons. He compiled a 1,835-1,713 record, winning three Manager of the Year awards and one World Series title.
However, it was his legendary meltdowns that he will forever be remembered for, from kicking dirt on home plate, to throwing his hat, to uprooting bases and tossing them into the outfield, Piniella could blow up like no other when his anger got the best of him.
One of the best pitchers in an era loaded with amazing starting pitching, Marichal won 238 games in 14 seasons as a member of the Giants, including 20 wins on six different occasions.
He also fueled the Dodgers-Giants rivalry like few others have, as he will always be remembered for an incident in 1965 when he attacked Dodgers catcher John Roseboro with a bat after the catcher's return throws came a little close to his head.
Marichal struck Roseboro in the head several times with the bat and in the end was fined $1,750 and suspended eight games.
Beyond that, Marichal was not allowed to travel to Brooklyn for the final two games the Giants had against the Dodgers, and Roseboro sued him for $110,000 in damages.
With a career line of .295 BA, 381 HR, 1,239 RBI, Albert Belle put together quite a career in his 12 years in the league. He led the league in HRs once and RBI three times as he was a five-time All-Star.
However, he made more than a few enemies during his career, as he was unpleasant to everyone around him and had a number of run-ins with players and fans alike.
He fought a fan in the stands who was heckling him, threw a baseball at and struck another fan who was taunting him, got suspended for using a corked bat and then sent a teammate's through the ceiling to retrieve the bat and knocked down Brewers second baseman Fernando Vina while running the bases.
Off the field, he chased down a group of kids throwing eggs at his house on Halloween and struck one with his car and was arrested for stalking a women in 2006. Quite a list of indiscretions, and it is not hard to see why Belle was so disliked throughout his career.
Best known as the on-again, off-again manager of the New York Yankees, Martin racked up 1,253 victories during his time as a big league manager from 1969 to 1988.
During his time as a player, Martin got into fights with a number of different players, the most notable being with Cubs pitcher Jim Brewer. Following a brushback pitch, Martin charged the mound and threw his bat at Brewer before punching him in the face.
Then, as a manager, he was routinely ejected from games and became well-known for kicking dirt on umpires. He also had a drinking problem, which only added to his mean streak.
No doubt a talented hitter, Milton Bradley struggled to stay in one place throughout his career because, to put it bluntly, he is the definition of a clubhouse cancer.
He spent his 12-year career repeatedly being ejected from games, threw a beer bottle back at a fan who threw one at him, tossed a bucket of balls onto the field after being ejected, was asked to leave the Cubs team a month before the season ended and tore his ACL while on the Padres as his coach tried to hold him back from arguing with an umpire.
Then this past year, he was arrested when he made threats against his wife while they decided to settle outside of court, and she has since filed for divorce. All in all, the definition of a jerk, and clearly why he is unable to find a job at this point in his career.
With an MLB record .366 career batting average, 11 batting titles and 4,189 hits to his credit, Ty Cobb is certainly in the conversation as the greatest hitter in baseball history.
However, he is also one of the meanest and dirtiest players to ever play the game. He lived and breathed baseball and was willing to do whatever it took to win a game—but he often took it too far.
While his body of work as a jerk speaks for itself, one incident in particular paints a picture of just how bad he was.
On May 15th, 1912, a fan named Claude Lueker and Cobb went back and forth exchanging insults through the first three innings of a game.
However, when Lueker made a racial slur in reference to the fact that Cobb's mother was black, that was the tipping point, and Cobb hopped into the stands and attacked Lueker.
Turns out, he was handicapped. He had lost all of one hand and three fingers on the other hand in an industrial accident. When that was brought to Cobb's attention by surrounding fans, he replied with, "I don't care if he has no feet."
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A two-time All-Star closer, Ugueth Urbina tallied 237 career saves over his 11-year career after pitching for six different teams. He served as the Marlins' closer in 2003 when the team won the World Series.
After the then 31-year-old finished pitching the 2005 season with the Phillies, he returned home to Venezuela and on November 7th, 2005, he was arrested for attempted murder. After accusing five workers on his farm of stealing a gun from him, he went after them with a machete and attempted to pour gasoline on them.
In 2007, he was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years and seven months in prison, effectively ending his baseball career.