MLB All-Hothead Team: The Most Controversial Player at Every Position
Some players are known as much for their antics, as their brilliance. As much as many fans would deny it, there are few things more entertaining in baseball than a batter charging the mound.
Who are the guys at each position most likely to provide these moments?
Catcher, AJ Pierzynski
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Chicago fans may remember the day Cubs catcher Michael Barrett slugged Pierzynski after a collision at home plate.
Most who know the White Sox backstop would say he had it coming to him. Pierzynski has been at the center of on-field altercations for the better part of the his career.
That does, however, take nothing away from a stellar career as a catcher. In 1,384 games, Pierzynski has a .284 average, 120 HR, 614 RBI. He has caught at least 125 games every season since 2002.
First Base, Miguel Cabrera
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Things appeared to be turning around for Cabrera this past year. He was coming off an MVP type season. Reports were that he was sober and loving it.
Then he was nabbed for Driving Under the Influence just days before he was supposed to report for spring training and the public perception of him went back to being a trouble-maker.
His issues off the field have not prevented him from becoming one of the best hitters in the game. Into his ninth season, his 162 averages are .314, 34 HR and 119 RBI.
Second Base, Orlando Hudson
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Orlando Hudson isn't the guy you see throwing punches on the mound.
In April 2010, Hudson said:
“You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job,” Minnesota Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson(notes) said Monday. “Guy with [27 home runs and 81 RBIs] and can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5, $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job.
“We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble].”
Hudson thinks of himself as a defender of his race, spouting off every time something could be twisted to look like an occurrence of discrimination. For his information, Dye didn't have a job because he was 36 and wanted $8 million for one season.
Third Base, Alex Rodriguez
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Membership on yet another esteemed list for A-Rod.
This is the guy who ran across Dallas Braden's mound. Perhaps no active player is more of a lightning rod (pun intended) for controversy than Alex.
Despite the controversy, he is creeping up on 2,000 RBI, 3,000 hits and 500 doubles, not to mention the home run record, and all with a career average over .300.
Shortstop, Derek Jeter
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Nobody is "eh" about the left side of the Yankees infield. Fans either love them or hate them.
Jeter has never been one to stir up his own controversy. It seems to find him. Even this past winter during his contract negotiation, it seemed the Yankees organization were releasing all the details.
Jeter is about as even-tempered a player as there is in the league, and yet he always seems to find his way into the papers. Perhaps it is just one of the perils of playing the most important position on the field in New York City.
Regardless, Jeter will go down as one of the greatest shortstops of our time.
Left Field, "reserved"
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
This space is permanently reserved for Manny. Oh you thought the controversy was over now that he's retired? Think again.
Center Field, Nyjer Morgan
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Nyjer Morgan is one of the more hot-headed players in baseball.
His most famous brawl came last year when he charged Anibal Sanchez on the mound, swung and missed, and was clotheslined by first baseman Gaby Sanchez.
Morgan has been suspended multiple times, and faces more severe measure if he doesn't stay out of trouble this year.
He also has 76 steals in the last two seasons.
Right Field, Lastings Milledge
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
With Milledge, it isn't the one gleaming moment in time in which Milledge solidified his reputation as a thug, but he has had a history of minor fights and altercations in his career.
Most recently, Milledge got into a heated altercation with Oscar Salazar in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he was playing to earn a new contract.
Milledge has traveled around, but hasn't had a full-time job since 2008 when he hit 14 home runs and stole 24 bases as a member of the Washington Nationals.
Starting Pitcher, Carlos Zambrano
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
What hasn't Zambrano done?
He has fought with coaches, opponents, teammates, and in doing so, has fought himself for control.
Zambrano was sent down to the minors for a short time last season, and then brought back as a reliever, where he seemed to regain his head.
He finished 2010 with an 8-0 run, holding a 1.58 ERA in that span. He has started 2011 strong, but it might be one bad outing away from crumbling.
Relief Pitcher, Joba Chamberlain
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Chamberlain was first mired in controversy when opposing hitters said they felt like his fist pumping and body language on the mound was showing them up.
Chamberlain was also one of the pitchers involved when the Yankees and Red Sox exchanged bean balls over the course of the 2009 season, on the Yankees road to the World Series.
This was one the Yankees got wrong. They couldn't decide what to do with him, moving him from the bullpen to the rotation and back. Now he is in the bullpen, hopefully for good, and might still round into the potential he arrived with.