Worst Comeback Attempts in Baseball History

Mark MillerCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2013

Worst Comeback Attempts in Baseball History

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    Spring training provides young prospects from all over the world with the opportunity to prove that they have what it takes to make it in the big leagues.

    They're not the only ones with something to prove, however, as veterans coming back from an injury and those who probably should have stayed retired are also on the diamond, hoping for another shot at glory.

    More often than not it seems like these attempts are futile, and sometimes the lasting memories we have of these players aren't of what they did in this league—but what they couldn't do.

    Here are some of the worst comeback attempts in baseball history.

Bo Jackson

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    After hitting 112 home runs during his first six seasons of major league action, one-time All-Star Bo Jackson was forced to sit out the entire 1992 season after sustaining an injury while playing for the Oakland Raiders.

    Speed was an asset for Jackson in his earlier years, with 81 swipes prior to his football injury.

    In the two seasons he played after coming back, however, he stole only one base and played fewer than 85 games each year.

Roger Clemens

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    After a three-year stint with the Houston Astros from 2004 to 2006, Roger Clemens could have retired, but instead made a comeback at Yankees Stadium in May 2007, signing a one-year, prorated $28 million deal.

    He would go on to win six games that season with an ERA of 4.18, making for one of the highest dollar-per-win ratios you'll ever see.

Jamie Moyer

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    After a solid 24-year career that saw him win 267 games, Jamie Moyer was out of baseball for the entire 2011 season, and could have seemingly left baseball entirely at 48 years of age.

    Instead, Moyer worked feverishly to get back in baseball shape and ultimately made his return to the mound with the Colorado Rockies last spring.

    He only made 10 starts with the Rockies, posting a 2-5 record and 5.70 ERA before being released.

Bo McLaughlin

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    In 1982, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bo McLaughlin was pitching against the Chicago White Sox when a Harold Baines liner ended up breaking his cheekbone, eye socket, jaw and nose.

    He would return briefly, but success never came, and he spent the majority of the remainder of his career in the minor leagues.

Joel Zumaya

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    In a game against the Minnesota Twins in 2010, Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya fractured his elbow as he threw to the plate, immediately hitting the ground.

    He was sidelined for the entire 2011 season, but attempted to make a comeback with the Twins last year.

    In his first bullpen session of spring training, however, Zumaya re-injured his arm and was then released.

Tom Browning

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    After enjoying a mostly successful career that included a perfect game in 1988, Tom Browning battled injuries towards the end of his time in the league.

    It got really bad for Browning in May of 1994, when he made a start against the San Diego Padres. While delivering a pitch, his arm completely broke, leaving fans stunned.

    He was done for the season, and while he attempted one comeback the following season, it proved to be in vain.

Jim Palmer

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    As possibly the best pitcher to ever put on an Orioles uniform, Jim Palmer racked up an impressive three Cy Young awards and four gold gloves in 19 seasons with Baltimore.

    Seven years after his retirement, with a Hall of Fame induction already under his belt, Palmer felt the itch to return.

    A poor spring training outing in which he allowed five hits in two innings of work would quickly put that notion to bed.

Manny Ramirez

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    After testing positive for a banned women's fertility drug in 2009, Manny Ramirez was handed a 50-game suspension, but he was not done there.

    He attempted to make a comeback with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, but tested positive once again, this time receiving a 100-game ban, after which he retired.

    Ramirez then came out of retirement to sign a minor-league deal with the A's—although nothing came of it.

Tony Saunders

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    On May 26, 1999, Tony Saunders took the mound with the Tampa Bay Rays to face the Texas Rangers.

    Little did he know, it would be a day that would essentially end his career.

    On a pitch to slugger Juan Gonzalez he broke a bone in his arm, effectively ending his season.

    While attempting to make a comeback the next season, he broke his arm again and saw himself retiring at 26.

Jose Canseco

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    Jose Canseco's massive physique may have tied him to speculation surrounding the use of steroids during his career, but Canseco also confirmed it in 2005 with the release of his book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.

    Shortly after the release of the book, Canseco began his comeback, starting with the San Diego Turfdogs of the Golden Baseball League.

    He wasn't done there, and has since played for the Long Beach Armada (Golden Baseball League), Laredo Broncos (United Baseball League), Quintana Roo Tigers (Mexican League) and last year played for the Worcester Tornadoes (Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball).

    You'd think he'd get the idea by now.