MLB: The 50 Biggest Clubhouse Distractions in Baseball History

Lewie PollisSenior Analyst IIIJune 14, 2011

MLB: The 50 Biggest Clubhouse Distractions in Baseball History

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    DETROIT - JUNE 13:  Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon #70 argues with home plate umpire John Tumpane #74 after a close play at the plate in the seventh inning during the game at Comerica Park on June 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    The intangible aspects of baseball are overblown. Outside of Little League, good sportsmanship is no substitute for being good at sports, and playing the game the right way isn't nearly as important as playing the game well.

    But while a pat on the back might not make much of a difference on the field, a slap in the face will. A happy team won't get a huge boost in the game, but a frustrated team is at a big disadvantage.

    In this slideshow are the 50 biggest clubhouse distractions—feuds, steroid allegations, legal problems, tragedies, and media pressures—in baseball history, ranked by severity, duration of time (a single isolated incident might not affect chemistry long-term) and consequences.

    Remember to keep your eye on the ball!

No. 50: Miguel Cabrera's Legal Troubles

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    DETROIT, MI - JUNE 09:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers catches the ball at first base in a MLB game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on June 9, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-1  (Photo by Dave Reginek
    Dave Reginek/Getty Images

    This season marked the second year in a row in which Cabrera's mental state was in question after a run-in with the law.

    He's far from the only current player to have had alcohol-related legal problems, but he's the biggest name and a repeat offender.

No, 49: Bryce Harper's Ego

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    VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Space Coast Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    It's bad enough that Harper's teammates in Single-A Hagerstown are being overshadowed by someone who was hailed as a future star while he was still in high school.

    Now that he's blowing kisses to pitchers he hits home runs off of, his ego may be too large for his team.

No. 48: Kenny Rogers' Pine Tar

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 15:  Kenny Rogers #37 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch during a game against the Kansas City Royals on May 15, 2008 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
    G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

    Already known for his short temper and fiery personality, Rogers gave his Tigers an on-field distraction in the 2006 World Series when the TV feed clearly showed him with a pine tar-like substance on his hand.

    He wasn't solely responsible for Detroit losing the series, but that sure didn't help.

No. 47: Alex Rodriguez' Chase for 600

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees  connects for a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians on June 10, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Christoph
    Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

    When the Yankees were mired in a midsummer swoon last season, many blamed the team's cold streak on Rodriguez' chase for his 600th home run.

    It's hard to imagine that that could really bring down the whole team, but the media's insistence on it created some extra pressure.

No. 46: Milton Bradley on the Mariners

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    SEATTLE - MAY 06:  Milton Bradley #15 of the Seattle Mariners is restrained by manager Eric Wedge #22 after being ejected from the game against the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field on May 6, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won 3-2. (Photo by Ot
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    After acquiring Bradley in exchange for dumping Carlos Silva's contract, the Mariners experience buyer's remorse after he left in the middle of a game in May 2010.

    It was a relatively uncontroversial stop for Bradley, but his bad attitude and poor play led to his release last month.

No. 45: Carlos Zambrano vs. Michael Barrett

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    CINCINNATI - APRIL 2:   Catcher Michael Barrett #8 of the Chicago Cubs talks to pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 during Opening Day action against the Cincinnati Reds April 2, 2007 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Cincinnati led 5-1 after five
    Thomas E. Witte/Getty Images

    A fistfight between teammates Zambrano and Barrett in a 2007 game led to the former needing stitches at the hospital and divided the Cubs' clubhouse.

    Barrett was traded less than three weeks later.

No. 44: Ken Griffey Jr.'s Aging Process

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    SEATTLE - MAY 31:  Ken Griffey Jr. #24 of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on May 31, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    When the Mariners signed Griffey to a one-year contract for 2010, they weren't expecting much. But they surely thought he'd do better than a .184 average and a .454 OPS.

    Questions over what Seattle should do with him became such a distraction that Griffey decided to retire.

No. 43: Rob Dibble vs. Lou Piniella

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    24 Jun 1993:  Pitcher Rob Dibble of the Cincinnati Reds in action during a game against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.  Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    After a game in 1992, Piniella told the press he'd held closer Dibble out because he had a sore shoulder. Dibble publicly declared that that wasn't true, and a brawl soon ensued.

    Piniella was gone after the season, but things in the clubhouse were probably a little awkward until then.

No. 42: Hank Greenberg Takes Yom Kippur off

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    In 1934, Jewish superstar Greenberg was caught in a pickle—play on the holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur or abandon his team in the midst of a pennant race.

    He ended up missing only Yom Kippur but still got quite a bit of flack for it.

    Public Domain image (courtesy of

No. 41: Shea Hillenbrand vs. John Gibbons

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    DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Shea Hillenbrand of the Blue Jays poses for a portrait during the Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day at the Bobby Mattick Training Center on February 25, 2006 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Hillenbrand didn't make many friends in his tenure with the Blue Jays—he complained about his playing time and griped that he wasn't congratulated enough for adopting his daughter.

    But there was no one he alienated more than his manager, who challenged him to a fistfight and threatened to quit if Hillenbrand wasn't cut from the team (he was).

No. 40: Bob Geren vs. the Oakland A's

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    BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 06:  Manager Bob Geren #17 of the Oakland Athletics watches the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 6, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Geren's never been the most popular man in Oakland, but he had never caused much controversy until A's closer Brian Fuentes publicly criticized him last month.

    Other players weighed in—including former Athletic Huston Street, who called Geren his "least favorite sports"—and he was fired last week. 

No. 39: Milton Bradley Calls Jeff Kent Racist

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    LOS ANGELES - APRIL 12:  Milton Bradley #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs the bases during the Dodgers home opener against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 12, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 9-8.(Phot
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    In perhaps the most ridiculous accusation of his career, Bradley made headlines in 2005 by calling Jeff Kent a racist.

    He probably did suffer a good deal of prejudice in his career, but from Kent?

No. 38: Manny Ramirez Tests Positive

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    ST. LOUIS - JULY 15:  Manny Ramierez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 15, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Ramirez has always been something of an attention seeker, and by May 2009, he'd already given the press in "Manny-wood" a lot to write about.

    But nothing could compare to the firestorm that ensued when he tested positive for a banned substance used in conjunction with PEDs to restart hormone cycles.

No. 37: Fred Wilpon

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    PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets talks on the phone during spring training at Tradition Field on February 17, 2011 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The Mets' ownership issues were an issue even before the season started, but Fred Wilpon's comments in a recent New Yorker interview made things that much worse.

    In addition to continuing concerns about the team's financial security, his disparaging remarks about Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran couldn't have been big boons for clubhouse morale.

No. 36: Milton Bradley vs. Eric Wedge

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    WINTER HAVEN , FL- MARCH 2:  Outfielder Milton Bradley #24 of the Cleveland Indians poses during Media Day on March 2, 2004 at Chain O Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Florida. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Bradley had problems with Mariners manager Eric Wedge long before he came to Seattle: Cleveland traded him to the Dodgers in 2004 after Bradley and Wedge clashed multiple times over the former's perceived lack of hustle.

    Bradley later said the Indians under Wedge were "like a sinking ship."

No. 35: Fredi Gonzalez vs. Hanley Ramirez

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 27:  Hanley Ramirez #2 of the Florida Marlins acknowledges teammate Greg Dobbs (not pictured) after Dobbs drove Ramirez in with a base hit against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eigth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 27, 2011 in Los A
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    When Hanley Ramirez' lack of hustle in a game last May allowed two runs to score, he was benched and got into a public feud with manager Fredi Gonzalez.

    A feeling of discomfort seemed to hang over the Marlins' clubhouse until he was fired a month later.

No. 34: Ozzie Guillen

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    CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 11: Ozzie Guillen #13 manager of the Chicago White Sox argues a call against the Oakland Athletics on June 11, 2011 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
    David Banks/Getty Images

    By far the most controversial manager in the game, Guillen is known for his offensive slurs, his irrational embrace of "small ball" and threatening to "rip (Bobby Jenks') throat."

    If not for his 2005 World Series ring, he'd probably be out of a job by now.

No. 33: George Steinbrenner's Death

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    TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  The George M. Steinbrenner High School Band plays just prior to the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 20
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Steinbrenner might not have had any real involvement in the team, but in spite of his illness, he remained one of the most recognizable figures for one of the most recognizable franchises in all of professional sports.

    His death was felt by the whole team.

No. 32: Dave Boswell vs. Billy Martin and Bob Allison

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    BRONX, NEW YORK - APRIL 7:  Manager Billy Martin of the New York Yankees argues with an umpire as outfielder Rickey Henderson #24 watches during the game on April 7, 1988 at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In August 1969, Martin found Boswell beating up Allison outside a bar. Boswell knocked out Allison, then took a punch from Martin and needed 20 stitches.

    This was the first of many times Martin would be fired.

No. 31: Manny Ramirez Tests Positive—Again

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 01:  Designated hitter Manny Ramirez #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays fouls off a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the Opening Day game at Tropicana Field on April 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Rays had a lot to worry about at the beginning of the season as they struggled to score runs. The last thing they needed was for their highest-profile player to be caught in a scandal and abruptly retired.

    And yet, that's exactly what happened when Ramirez got busted for his second positive PED test in less than two years.

No. 30: Rafael Palmeiro Tests Positive

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    BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 29: Rafael Palmiero #25 of the Baltimore Orioles watches from the dugout during the game against the Oakland Athletics on August 29, 2005 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo By Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    After wagging his finger at Congress and flatly denying ever having taken steroids, it's no surprise that Palmeiro didn't get off easy from the press when he tested positive in 2005.

    It got so bad that he tried wearing earplugs to block out the boos.

No. 29: Leo Durocher vs. Arky Vaughan

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    A clubhouse fight ensued when Vaughan stuck up to his manager after Durocher had fought with one of his teammates.

    The impact of the fight was felt for three years—the amount of time Vaughan sat out rather than play for Durocher.

    Public Domain image (courtesy of

No. 28: Jorge Posada's Ego

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13:  Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees strikes out in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians on June 13, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Cleveland defeated the Yankees 1-0.  (Photo by Jim Mc
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Mariano Rivera is ageless, and Derek Jeter, while declining, is still a useful player. Posada, meanwhile, is hitting .226 with -0.3 WAR.

    He caused a huge stir when he took himself out of the lineup last month in response to being demoted to the No. 9 slot.

No. 27: The McCourt Divorce

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    LOS ANGELES - APRIL 29:    Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt attends the game against the San Diego Padres on April 29, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    In what has become perhaps the nastiest divorce in MLB history, the Dodgers' owners' marital problems have been getting in the way of the team's performance for two years now.

    With Bud Selig now trying to take over the team, the big story in LA this summer won't be about how the team is playing.

No. 26: Billy Martin vs. Ed Whiston

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    NEW YORK - MAY 02:  The plaque of Billy Martin is seen in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox on May 2, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 12-
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In perhaps the worst manager-player fight in MLB history, Martin and Whitson got into it in a hotel bar in which Whitson broke his manager's arm.

    Martin was fired at the end of the season (again).

No. 25: The A-Rod Opt-out Controversy

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees reacts after popping up with men on base to end the inning against the Boston red sox during their game on June 7, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    In 2007, after years of insinuations from reactionist sportswriters that he was solely responsible for the New York Yankees' failure to win the World Series, Rodriguez was ensorcelled in drama about whether or not he would exercise his opt-out clause at the end of the season.

    As it turned out, he did, though he ended up coming back to New York anyway.

No. 24: Billy Martin vs. Reggie Jackson

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    Billy Martin of the New York Yankees looks on during a game.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In 1977, Martin pulled Jackson from a game after he didn't hustle to catch a weak fly ball that ended up as a double. This led to a fight that destroyed whatever good will their relationship had.

    Martin resigned a year later after again publicly slamming Jackson.

No. 23: Ball Four

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    382468 01: Former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton signs copies of his new book, 'Ball Four: The Final Pitch' November 27, 2000 at a Waldenbooks store in Schaumburg, IL. 'Ball Four: The Final Pitch' is a new and final edition of his controversial 1970
    Tim Boyle/Getty Images

    In his kiss-and-tell diary of the 1969 MLB season, Jim Bouton destroyed the popular notion of the upstanding baseball player.

    His unflattering comments about other players embarrassed his teammates and alienated him from the league.

No. 22: George Steinbrenner vs. Everybody

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 13:  Team owner George Steinbrenner and his wife Joan watch the New York Yankees play against  of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the Yankees home opener at Yankee Stadium on April 13, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Under Steinbrenner's reign, there was never a sense of calm and security in the Yankees' clubhouse—a player or coach who somehow got on The Boss' bad side was as good as gone.

    It can't have been easy to play in that atmosphere.

No. 21: Everybody vs. Roger Maris

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    NEW YORK - MAY 02:  The plaque of Roger Maris is seen in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox on May 2, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 12-3
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Maris' chase for 61 home runs was a big deal in itself, but the real spectacle came from the press, who didn't want him to break Babe Ruth's record.

    Maris wasn't a "true Yankee" (that stupid cliche has been around longer than you thought!) and thus wasn't fit to be the home run king.

No. 20: Moneyball

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Billy Bean speaks to the media after the game between the Texas Rangers and the Oakland A's at the Network Associates Coliseum on September 23, 2003 in Oakland, California.  The Athletics defeated the Rangers 4-3.  (Photo by J
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Baseball traditionalists were outraged when Michael Lewis' book was released in 2003.

    GM Billy Beane, the main subject who was frequently misidentified by critics as the book's author, wasn't the only target—the whole Athletics team was put under a microscope as haters waited for reasons to pounce.

No. 19: Lena Blackburne vs. Al Shires

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    The 1929 White Sox' clubhouse was probably an uncomfortable place to be.

    Blackburne, the manager, and Shires, the captain, got in at least two fistfights that season, and Shires was suspended thrice.

    Public Domain image (courtesy of

No. 18: Barry Bonds Chases 70, 755

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    397515 01: (FILE PHOTO) Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants (R) celebrates his 73rd home run in front of his son Nikolai October 7, 2001 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, CA. Bonds won a record 4th Most Valuable Pl
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Whenever a player is chasing down one of the most revered records in baseball history, the rest of his team starts to get overshadowed.

    That happened twice during Bonds' tenure with the Giants—when he hit 73 homers in 2001 and in 2007 when he broke Hank Aaron's career home run record.

No. 17: Juiced

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    YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - MAY 26:  Former Oakland Athletics slugger Jose Canseco drinks a bottle of water prior to the match with Choi Hong-man at first Round of Super Hulk Tournament during Dream.9 at Yokohama Arena on May 26, 2009 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Jose Canseco isn't the most credible source, and the claims in his book were far from gospel.

    But he certainly made life difficult for the players he named in the book as fellow steroid users.

No. 16: Alex Rodriguez' Positive Test Revealed

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees takes batting practice before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 30, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    In the aftermath of Barry Bonds' steroid scandal, Rodriguez became known as the best "clean" player in the game.

    At least until 2009, when the revelation that he had tested positive in what was supposed to be an anonymous 2003 test started a controversy that dogged the Yankees at the start of the season.

No. 15: Thurman Munson Killed

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    NEW YORK - MAY 02:  The plaque of Thurman Munson is seen in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium prior to game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox on May 2, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 12-3.
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In August 1979, Munson was killed in a plane crash during a pilot's lesson.

    The already-tragic loss was worsened by the fact that he and manager Billy Martin had had an altercation earlier that season.

No. 14: Babe Ruth vs. Lou Gehrig

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    COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 25:  A statue of Babe Ruth is seen at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during induction weekend on July 25, 2009 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Two of the greatest teammates in baseball history had friction between them from a time when Gehrig found his wife in Ruth's cabin on a cruise.

    The next time you hear someone talk about how Jeter and A-Rod are destroying the team by not getting along, think back to how much success Ruth and Gehrig's teams had.

No. 13: The Mitchell Report

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 13:  A page mentioning All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens is seen in the report released by former Senator George J. Mitchell, the lead investigator in Major League Baseball's steroid scandal, December 13, 2007 in New York City. Mitchell w
    Mario Tama/Getty Images

    The 2007 release of nearly 100 names of players who were connected to PEDs showed the world that it wasn't just the hulking superstars who were juicing up.

    For the 36 then-current players who were called cheaters, it certainly made life interesting.

No. 12: The Media vs. Barry Bonds

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 12:  Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds arrives at federal court on April 12, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  The jury is deliberating for the third day in the Barry Bonds perjury trial where the former baseball
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Bonds' ego is as big as his swollen head, and as his body started to break down in the mid-2000's, word was he was negatively affecting the Giants' clubhouse.

    Of course, it seems likely that the much bigger distraction came from writers' relentless attacks about how OBPing over .400.

No. 11: Darryl Kile's Death

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 5:  The St. Louis Cardinals pay tribute to teammate Darryl Kile #57 who past away early in the year, as they celebrate the victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game three of the MLB National League Division Series during the 2002 W
    Elsa/Getty Images

    On June 22, 2002, Kile was found dead in his hotel room. He was 33 years old.

    His loss was a devastating blow to the Cardinals and to the game at large.

No. 10: Alex Rodriguez vs. Derek Jeter

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    ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 07:  Derek Jeter #2 and Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees talk between innings at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    There's been friction between Rodriguez and Jeter since the former came to New York, and their friendship has had its big ups and downs.

    I suspect that people's fascination with talking about them has significantly exacerbated the problem.

No. 9: Milton Bradley vs. Chicago

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs follows the flight of the ball against the New York Mets on August 30, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Out of all his controversies, the biggest ones Bradley was a part of came in Chicago.

    After getting too close to the umpire when arguing a call in April and throwing a live ball into the stands in June, he got himself kicked off the team after going on a rant about his disdain for the city of Chicago.

No. 8: Manny Being Manny

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    BOSTON - JULY 30: Manny Ramirez #24 of the Boston Red Sox watches the flight of a fly ball during his last at bat with the Red Sox against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park on July 30, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Ge
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    For at least three full years, Ramirez had been asking for a trade and inspiring ire for his perceived lack of effort off the field.

    Both his "Manny being Manny" philosophy and the media's reaction to it distracted the clubhouse constantly.

No. 7: BALCO

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 06:  San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada (R) and Lance Williams (L) speak about their book 'Game of Shadows' July 6, 2006 at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California. Fainaru-Wada and Williams could face jail
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Everyone knew steroids had become a problem before the BALCO investigations began, but the implications and legal investigations of big names like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi sparked a media firestorm and put a lot of weight on the accused players' shoulders.

No. 6: MLB vs. the Montreal Expos

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 3:  Omar Minaya, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the New York Mets, is seen before the New York Mets Home Opener against the Washington Nationals on April 3, 2006 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neig
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    In August 2003, the Expos found themselves in the midst of a pennant race that could have saved the team. At least, until MLB announced that it would not pay for the team to call up minor leaguers in September.

    "It was a momentum killer," GM Omar Minaya said. "What killed us was not getting the call-ups."

No. 5: Nick Adenhart Killed

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 9:  Fans gather around a makeshift memorial to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Nick Adenhart outside Angel Stadium April 9, 2009 in Anaheim, California. Adenhart and two others were killed in car crash early this morning.  (Photo
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    In April 2009, Adenhart, 22, was killed by a drunk driver—a tragedy that had a huge impact on the Angels clubhouse.

    The team wore patches dedicated to him on their jerseys all season and included his memory in their celebrations when they made the playoffs. 

No. 4: Jim Palmer vs. Earl Weaver

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    11 May 1986:  Manager Earl Weaver (left) of the Baltimore Orioles talks with catcher Rick Dempsey on the mound during a pitching change in an Orioles home game.   Mandatory Credit: Allsport USA/ALLSPORT
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    No single event characterized the feud between Weaver and Palmer, but for 17 years, the Orioles manager hated his best pitcher. They were forced to be together for nearly two decades.

    Probably made things awkward when Weaver went out for mound visits.

No. 3: Oscar Vitt

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    Not every manager is popular, but few are truly hated.

    Vitt, who called his team the "Cry Baby Indians" and inspired his players to mutiny against him and petition for his firing in 1940, was one of them.

    Public Domain image (courtesy of

No. 2: Roberto Clemente's Death

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    One of the game's saddest days was December 31, 1972, when Clemente's plane (also carrying relief packages for victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua) crashed into the ocean.

    The death of any person is a tragedy, but no death in baseball history has touched more people's hearts than that of Roberto Clemente.

    Public Domain image (courtesy of

No. 1: Jackie Robinson

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    Never in the history of baseball has a clubhouse distraction been as big or as important as Jackie Robinson.

    The hostility he faced from fans, other players, and even his own teammates was unrivaled in MLB history. And yet, his courage and bravery in breaking the color barrier made him one of the most influential players of all time.

    Public Domain image (from Wikimedia Commons)

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