The 10 Biggest Headcases in MLB History
Baseball is a game renowned for many reasons.
However, one of the more interesting facets of the game goes beyond the eccentricities of ballplayers and to the heart of just how nuts some of these guys are.
Throughout the history of the game there have been players that range from a little strange to downright dangerous to be around.
Here's a look at the 10 biggest headcases in MLB history.
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Also known as "The Bird," Mark Fidrych was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers from 1976 to 1980.
Fidrych was famous for fixing his cleat marks on the pitcher's mound and for talking to the ball before delivering it to the plate.
The Bird was a hit at Tiger Stadium and around the league during his short career.
"Bird Watchers" came out in droves when Fidrych made a start, and attendance in the 18 games he appeared in during the 1976 season generated half of the entire attendance for the season at Tiger Stadium that year.
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"Manny being Manny."
We've all heard the phrase and instantly recognized its subject.
Manny Ramirez abruptly opted for retirement rather than face new allegations that he was using performance-enhancing drugs in early 2011.
During his 18-year career, especially beginning with his tenure with the Boston Red Sox in 2001, Ramirez became well known for his on-field and off-field antics.
Ramirez led the "Band of Idiots" that broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 as the Red Sox won their first World Series title in 86 years.
Among his numerous antics, Ramirez was witnessed walking into Fenway Park's Green Monster during a game in which he was playing left field for the Red Sox.
It was reported that during a pitching change, Ramirez walked into the famed structure and was seen talking on a cell phone.
Ramirez is perhaps most well-known for the long dreadlocks he grew out beginning around 2005. The dreads grew down to his waist and illustrated the wackiness that is "Manny being Manny."
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Jose Lima pitched for several different ballclubs during a major league career that spanned from 1994-2006.
Sadly, Lima died of a massive heart attack on May 23, 2010. He was 37.
During his career Lima was often seen talking to himself and making strange gestures. He would often take his frustration out on water coolers.
His behavior was wildly irrational at times, and a more contemporary example of a Lima-type player is the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano.
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Ty Cobb is by far the greatest player on this list and one of the greatest players on any baseball list.
The all-time career batting average leader, whose record for most career hits stood for nearly half a century, is perhaps equally known for his anger and nasty attitude on the field.
The Detroit Free Press referred to his style of play as "daring to the point of dementia."
During a career in which he assaulted a heckler in the stands who was missing all of one hand and most of another, as well as knocked down and choked an umpire, Cobb certainly made people wonder about his sanity.
Baseball historian John Thorn said, "Cobb was pursued by demons."
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Carlos Zambrano has had many managers and fans scratching their heads.
Zambrano, who has exhibited amazing talent as a pitcher (a three-time All-Star who threw a no-hitter in 2008), has also shown another side to him during certain episodes that have Cubs fans wondering which Zambrano will take the hill on any given day.
On June 1, 2007, Zambrano got into an altercation with his teammate, Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, apparently over a passed ball.
On June 25, 2010, Zambrano went on a tirade in the Cubs dugout after getting shelled for four runs in the first inning against the White Sox.
He screamed at Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee for failing to snare what ended up being a leadoff double. He was then suspended and had to participate in an anger management program.
Zambrano is another personality that can seemingly erupt at any point in a ballgame.
What happens when you combine a 102 mph fastball with an unpredictable, possibly unstable, source from whence that pitch came?
According to ESPN, in a survey of major league players, Farnsworth was chosen as the toughest man in baseball, after stories such as one in which he allegedly mauled a man just for looking at him the wrong way.
In one of several incidents for which he has been suspended, Farnsworth body-slammed then-Royals reliever Jeremy Affeldt following a bench-clearing brawl.
The attack on Affeldt happened after the brawl between Farnsworth's Tigers and Affeldt's Royals had been broken up.
Talk about crazy.
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He threw a no-hitter for the Pirates while on LSD in 1970.
He's Dock Ellis.
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The poster boy for the steroids era can't be left off this list.
Jose Canseco has made no bones about the fact that he used steroids throughout his career and has even written a book about that very topic, entitled Juiced.
Canseco isn't in the big leagues anymore, but he's still playing baseball, for the Yuma Scorpions of the Independent League.
He also competes in mixed martial arts competitions.
Last year he was the center of controversy when he apparently sent his twin brother Ozzie to a fight, having Ozzie impersonate him.
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How about a guy that rants about "some queer with AIDS" and "foreigners," asking, "How the hell did they get in this country?"
Well, the above would describe the words of one John Rocker, who pitched in the big leagues from 1998 to 2003.
After retiring from baseball, Rocker tried his hand at acting.
He now sells real estate in Atlanta. Looks like the acting didn't go so well.
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Jose Offerman, who played in the big leagues for seven teams over a 15-year career, charged the mound with his bat during a minor league game in 2007.
Offerman was later charged with assault after the opposing pitcher's finger was broken and the catcher was struck in the back of the head with the bat, ending his baseball career.
Offerman later managed in the Dominican Winter League and was suspended for life after striking an umpire.
Can't have guys like that around a game that involves large pieces of wood and flying objects.