Bobby Valentine and the 5 Most Arrogant Figures in Red Sox History
So much so, in fact, that he's driven clubhouse favorites like 3B Kevin Youkilis out of town. He's also put himself at odds with the front office by calling this month's Sox squad "the weakest September roster in history" (source: Boston.com), incited multiple spats with stalwart 2B Dustin Pedroia and threatened to punch WEEI's Glenn Ordway "right in the mouth."
There's been more than enough evidence of conceited behavior from Valentine to dub him arrogant.
He's a big reason why Boston has collapsed like an undercooked flan this season. His attitude and managerial approach has been divisive, off-putting and ill-suited to a mercurial Red Sox clubhouse.
But for all his quirks, Valentine is just another in a long line of arrogant Red Sox. Throughout their century-long history, Boston has been plagued (and blessed) by egotistical employees.
Let's take a look at five pompous Sox whose tradition Valentine has carried on admirably through 2012.
1) Ted Williams, LF
"The Splendid Splinter" is the greatest hitter in Red Sox history.
Ted Williams remains the last hitter to bat .400 (he hit .406 in 1941). He led the league in slugging percentage eight times and OBP 11 times. He hit 521 home runs despite missing five years of his career to fight in wars.
But enough about his pedigree. We're here to talk about his character.
Arrogance was a trait Williams had in spades, and it cost him some national recognition.
In the words of the New York Post's Jack Miley:
If his noodle swells another inch, Master Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox won't be able to get his hat on with a shoehorn. When it comes to arrogant, ungrateful athletes, this one leads the league.
Of course, it's hard to judge a Bostonian's personality by the words of a New York writer. So, instead, we might judge Williams on the actions of Boston sportswriter Mel Webb, who left him off his MVP ballot entirely out of contempt.
It cost Williams the MVP award. He lost by a single point to Yankee Joe DiMaggio.
While the Splendid Splinter was a hitting machine, he could've used some brushing up on his PR skills. He never tipped his cap to the fans, whom he resented due to early-career boos.
Still, Boston was lucky to have one of two players (along with Babe Ruth) who might be called the greatest hitter of all time. His arrogance? Just part of the package.
2) Wade Boggs, 3B
Wade Boggs was a peculiar fellow.
His at-bat ritual included scrawling a Hebrew symbol into the dirt, for which he never explained his reasoning (he isn't Jewish). He also always took batting practice at the same time of day (5:17 P.M.) as part of a rigid pregame ritual that he never altered.
That's unrelated to his arrogance, of course, but it's an interesting window into the mind of a diligent hitter and bizarre human being.
More indicative of Boggs's arrogance was his tendency to refer to himself in the third person. While it was more of a quirk than a behavior derived from a conceited attitude, it is reflective of some strange egoism.
He was also a selfish hitter who frequently drew walks with men in scoring position and weak hitters behind him.
While getting on-base is hugely important in a vacuum, his place in a shallow lineup demanded someone who would drive in runners rather than just keep the line moving.
Finally, he departed the Red Sox for the rival New York Yankees, which was the ultimate insult to the only fanbase for whom he had played in his career.
Boggs was a talented and dedicated pure hitter, but one whose quirks stemmed from a weird form of selfishness. Sox fans got to watch a great but frustrating talent man the hot corner for 10 years.
3) Roger Clemens, SP
No list of arrogant baseball players is complete without the Rocket.
Roger Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history, and one of the most infuriating.
Few anecdotes sum up Clemens' surly, egotistical disposition better than his complaints about life on the road as a ballplayer.
During a 1988 interview with Channel 5's Mike Dowling (source: complex.com), Clemens said of his travelling:
It's not easy carrying your luggage around.
In a later interview with Dowling, Clemens sat down to set the record straight but ended up threatening the Boston media as a whole, saying:
Someone's going to get hurt, and it isn't going to be me.
Clemens has a long and storied history of putting himself before everyone else that includes extramarital affairs, arguably lying about steroid allegations and pulling himself out of 1986 World Series Game 6 after seven innings.
Plus, like Boggs, he defected to the Yankees.
Sox fans old enough to remember the 1980s are lucky to have witnessed Roger Clemens and his successor Pedro Martinez back-to-back. Two generational aces of that caliber don't come along that often.
Still, Clemens failed to bring a championship to Boston, so it's reasonable to wonder if he was worth the hassle.
4) Manny Ramirez, LF
He's also the most bizarrely pompous.
Ramirez's antics started back in 2003, two seasons after he signed a monster eight-year, $160 million contract with the Red Sox. He missed a crucial series with a supposed throat ailment, during which time he had the gall to shack up in a Boston bar with Yankee friend Enrique Wilson.
Once, he felt the needs of his own bladder superseded his duties as LF for the Red Sox, and ducked into the Green Monster to relieve himself.
Still, his remarkable production (including a career .996 OPS, 555 home runs and a World Series MVP) made his antics worth it for a time.
Eventually, however, his behavior took a turn for the worse: he started a dugout brawl with Kevin Youkilis, shoved the Sox longtime Travelling Secretary Jack McCormick and sulked in his last few months before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2008 trade deadline.
Some might say Manny wasn't arrogant, just eccentric: it's just Manny being Manny, after all.
But while Manny deserves plenty of love and respect from Sox fans for being the central piece behind two World Series championships, he also frequently put himself before the team.
That's arrogance in its purest form.
5) Josh Beckett, SP
Ah, Josh Beckett.
The embodiment of modern Red Sox arrogance.
He used to be a dominant post season performer. He crushed the Yankees en route to a World Series MVP in 2003, and his spectacular pitching in 2007 led the Sox to their second World Series championship in four years.
But his attitude has gotten unbearable in the years since.
Beckett is the kingpin behind the chicken-and-beer fiasco last year. And while eating chicken and beer in the clubhouse doesn't necessarily result in poor performance, it certainly doesn't look good in the midst of a 7-20 September collapse.
This year, it was revealed that Beckett played golf the day after getting scratched from a start for a sore lat muscle. When ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes asked him about if he had any regrets about the strange choice, he responded with clueless defiance:
We get 18 days off a year. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.
Back in August, Beckett was also spotted at the Beantown Pub in Boston around closing time with only a day to spare before his next start.
Thankfully, Beckett, who was nothing short of awful for the Sox this year (with a 5.23 ERA), was traded to the Dodgers in a salary dump just a few days later.
Sox fans owe Beckett for the 2007 championship run. But they're probably pretty happy to have his selfish, poisonous attitude off their current roster.