Reggie Jackson and the 15 Wildest Personalities in New York Yankees History
The New York Yankees are known as the business men of baseball. Clean-shaven and always a class act, but sometimes a few players break the mold.
Every club has their characters and the Yankees are no different. The clubhouse dynamic can make your team or set them into a tailspin.
A times, player can be clubhouse cancers, but on the other hand, some players bring a group together and form a cohesive bunch.
Joe Pepitone was as vain as they come. He was known in the '60s to bring a hair dryer and plenty of hair products into the clubhouse and groom his locks even though he was beginning to bald.
He, in fact, had two toupees that he brought with him. One for when he was out in the general public and one for under his cap which was known as his "game piece."
After his career came to an end, Pepitone took it to the next level and posed naked for Foxy Lady magazine. He also called Rikers Island home for four months in 1988 for two misdemeanor drug charges.
Pepitone was a popular Yankee, but a strange man to say the least.
Sparky Lyle was a heck of a ball player. After coming over from the Red Sox, Lyle established himself as the team's ace in the pen and lead the club to three straight pennants from 1976 to 1978.
He set the record at the time for most saves in a season at 35 in 1972 and like Mariano Rivera and "Enter Sandman," Lyle was associated with the song "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D."
If that doesn't tell you much about his character, I don't know what does.
Lyle was quite the prankster. He was known to put his naked rear-end on birthday cakes that were given to teammates, leaving a nice birthday imprint in them. He eventually laid this prank to rest in fear someone would one day put a needle in the cake.
He also sawed off the rockers from Bobby Murcer's rocking chair.
No one messed with Graig Nettles. He was part of the infamous Bronx Zoo during the late 1970s.
When a brawl broke out between the Yankees and their bitter rivals—the Boston Red Sox—Nettles was right in the middle of it. In fact, he broke the collarbone of Bill "The Spaceman" Lee's shoulder.
During the scuffle, Lee was tackled from behind by Nettles and when he was confronted by Lee for the cheap shot, Nettles swung at him. After this incident, Lee was never the same pitcher.
Nettles was also one of the few players to ever give The Boss some grief. If he had something to say, you were going to hear it, even if the person he was giving it to was George Steinbrenner.
On Sept. 7, 1974, Nettles was caught using a corked bat. The bat had six super balls inside of it.
Babe Ruth was one of the greatest players of all time. When you think of the Yankees, you think of Ruth.
Ruth was not just fond of the home run, but also the drink. He loved the New York nightlife and was known for his reckless lifestyle.
Growing up with much as a penny to his name, Ruth had the habit of spending his earnings as soon as it was in his hands. The money just burned a hole in his pocket.
Ruth will always be remembered for changing the game of baseball. He brought a power stroke to the game that was never seen before.
Even though he has his off-the-field issues, no one between the chalk was as talented as Babe Ruth.
Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto was one of the finest defensive short stops to be put on the pinstripes. He was the classic small ball player which was only fitting due to his small stature.
Rizzuto thought was scared of everything. From lightning to snakes, anything could get this guy to jump out of his skin. Because of this, he was the butt of plenty practical jokes.
After his career on the diamond came to a close, he took his talents to the broadcast booth where he openly rooted for the Yankees. He was known for his use of the phrases, "Holy cow," "Did you see that?" and, "Unbelievable!"
He became quite famous for his steam of consciousness play-by-play style.
His "Holiest Cow of 1978," was when he didn't realize he was on the air and proclaimed, "Well, that kind of puts a damper on even a Yankee win," after hearing the Pope had past.
Dock Ellis might be more famous for what he did before he joined the Yankees, but nevertheless, he deserves to be on this list.
Ellis threw a no-hitter on June 12, 1970—while high on LSD. He was able to achieve this feat even though he couldn't feel the ball or see the hitter or catcher. Just to give you a taste of what was going through Ellis' mind, here is what he had to say about the historic event.
"I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a ball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate."
Oh, yeah. Let's not forget the fact that in 1974, to prove a point, Ellis attempted to hit every batter on the Reds. He also beaned Reggie Jackson in the face since he hit a booming home run off him in the All-Star game.
Wade Boggs was the most superstitious Yankee of all-time. You might think that Jason Giambi and the gold thong was the cream of the crop, but Boggs puts it to shame.
Boggs' routine including a rigorous running schedule. If the game started at seven, Boggs would have to start his pre-game running warmups at a time that ended with seven. He also would take exactly 150 ground balls during infield practice.
Known as the "Chicken Man" due to his infatuation with eating poultry before each game.
Boggs would also swipe the dirt in front of him on defense with his left foot, tap his glove two or three times and then adjust his hat between each pitch.
For a great ball player, this guy was nuts.
Stengel was known as the "Old Perfesser." He was a genius as a manager and was the first coach to utilize a platoon strategy.
Just like Rizzuto, Stengel was known for his stream-of-consciousness rants that sportswriters would coin as "Stengelese."
Stengel had a sense of humor about his as well.
The Chicago White Sox were known for their exploding scoreboard. Every time a White Sox player would hit a home run, it would light up and shoot off fireworks. During a game in Chicago, Stengel and his player would light off sparklers in the dugout after a Clete Boyer longball.
Stengel would go on to manage the New York Mets and forever be remembered for dozing off in the dugout during games.
Nick Swisher has a love for the game that is second-to-none. He is always seen with a smile on his face and is the guy who keeps the clubhouse at ease. Even when he is slumping at the plate, you will always see him supporting his teammates and grinning from ear to ear.
He is the epitome of a team player.
Since joining the Yankees, Swisher's career has turned a corner, even though he is slumping at the dish this season.
Swisher is a manager and teammates dream. Every club wishes they had a team filled with Nick Swishers.
Let's not forget his a fan favorite and always good for an entertaining postgame report.
Yogi Berra was one heck of a catcher. He was probably the best, if not one of the best, Yankee backstops. What makes Yogi so unique though is his "Yogisms."
Just to name a few, there is the timeless, "Ninety percent of the game is half mental." We also have, "You can observe a lot by watching." Also, we have the priceless, "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."
Yogi is a joy to see at Yankee games and is a crowd and player favorite. Everyone loves Berra, even if they can't understand what is coming out of his mouth.
No one was fired and rehired by The Boss more that Billy Martin. He was quite the game tactician, but his mouth would always get him in trouble. He never knew when to keep it shut.
Martin was famous for his routine of kicking dirt on the feet of umpires during heated scuffles. He also was unable to develop relationships with veteran players and was known for burning out young hurlers.
The dugout argument between Martin and Reggie Jackson will forever be alive in Yankee lure. Jackson was benched by Martin for not hustling after a shallow fly ball.
The last straw for Martin in pinstripes was when he got into a fist fight with a marshmallow salesman in a hotel.
Martin might have been a great manager, but that will be overshadowed by off- and on-the-field antics.
Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich
This story blows my mind. Peterson and Kekich were best friends. They both lived in New Jersey and had kids nearly the same age. They frequently went on double-dates and took their families on trips to the Bronx Zoo.
One day, the two decided to switch families. The two made the swap official in October of 1972 with Peterson moving in with Susanne Kekich and Kekich moving in with Marilyn Peterson.
The trade worked out better for Peterson as the two are married and had four children together. Kekich and Marilyn were not as fortunate.
Rickey Henderson could give the most cockiest players a run for their money. He was known for referring to himself in the third person. There have been reports that before games, Rickey could be seen in front of the mirror naked proclaiming,"Rickey's the best. Rickey's the best."
Henderson, at one point, received a $1 million bonus and instead of cashing it, he framed it and put in on his wall.
Rickey could back up his talk with his amazing speed. His 130 steals in a season will be a record that will never be broken.
If you can walk the walk, you can talk the talk, and Rickey did just that.
Alex Rodriguez has the ability to be the greatest baseball player of all-time. He has the raw talent that one can only dream of. But, during his career, his insecurities have gotten the best of him.
A-Rod has been known to be extremely jealous of Derek Jeter, been ragged on by fellow players for his "man boobs," has asked clubbies to put toothpaste on his tooth brush and been photographed kissing himself in the mirror.
Rodriguez has since turned over a new leaf and become a selfless player. He might still over-analyze his swing and obsess over his mechanics, but he has become more comfortable in his own skin.
A-Rod might have that illustrious World Series ring, but he still will be remembered for being the superstar who lacked self-confidence.
Reggie Jackson's head was sometime too big for his own helmet. He thought the world revolved around him, and during October, it did. He was extremely clutch when the game was on the line.
Jackson would constantly bicker with Steinbrenner and manager Billy Martin. Martin and Jackson seemed to constantly be at one another's throats.
Jackson had no problem calling out even the most beloved Yankees. He was quoted saying, "He was the straw that stirs the drink. Not Munson, not nobody else on this club."
Even Thurman Munson, the Yankee captain was not safe from the wrath of Reggie's tongue.
Reggie Jackson even went as far as to have a candy bar named after him.
When you think of both controversy and clutch hitting, one name come to mind. Reggie Jackson.
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