MLB Rankings: 16 Biggest Scapegoats in Baseball History
When things go wrong, it is always easy to look for someone to be a scapegoat. This is no different when it comes to baseball.
The person who gets blamed for a for losing a game or a playoff series is not always the one that is responsible. Fans always want to put the blame and the responsibility for a bad loss on someone.
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16) The Phantom Tag
In the 1999 ALCS, the Boston Red Sox entered Game Four of the series down 2-1. The game had been close throughout.
New York Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch fielded a ground ball and went to tag Jose Offerman. Umpire Tim Tschida called Offerman out and Knoblauch threw to first to complete the double play.
The only problem was that Knoblauch was a few feet away from Offerman. This ended a Red Sox rally.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
15) Jeffery Maier
In Game One of the 1996 American League Championship Series, the Baltimore Orioles took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning against the New York Yankees. Then, Derek Jeter hit a fly ball deep to right.
What happened next is one of the most famous moments in MLB history. Jeffrey Maier, a 12-year-old fan, reached over the fence and grabbed the ball as it was falling down to Tony Tarasco. The Orioles would go on to lose the game and the series.
The Jeffrey Maier incident was said to change the momentum of the series, but in reality, the Yankees just outplayed the Orioles.
14) The Curse of William Penn
For years, a statue of William Penn on the top of Philadelphia's City Hall was the tallest point in the city. In 1987, One Liberty Tower was opened and it rose higher that the statue.
Suddenly, all Philadelphia sports teams struggle in the playoffs. It was believed that the teams had been cursed.
In 2007, the Comcast Center became the tallest building in Philadelphia. At the top of the building, the developers placed a statue of William Penn. The following year, the Phillies won the World Series.
Photo Credit: MLB
13) New York Mets Injuries and Citi Field
New York Mets fans have been looking for a reason why the team has struggled so much since 2007. One such reason has been the injuries that players have suffered and the other has been the dimensions of Citi Field.
Players such as David Wright, Jose Reyes, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana have all missed time due to injuries.
The Mets have also struggled to hit home runs in Citi Field. The stadium's dimensions have been blamed for this. However, Citi Field has a park factor of 97 for pitchers, making it only slightly below the MLB average.
12) Mitch Williams
Former Philadelphia Phillies' pitcher Mitch Williams is known for two things: he is the original "Wild Thing" and he gave up the game-winning home run to Joe Carter in the 1993 World Series.
The moment against Joe Carter was attributed to the Curse of Billy Penn according to many. Toronto had already been up three games to two in the series and had a lead in Game Six until the Phillies scored five runs in the seventh.
There was no guarantee that the Phillies would have gone on to win Game Seven, but Williams still takes a lot of heat for this moment.
11) The Curse of the Black Sox
The Chicago Black Sox committed one the biggest frauds in MLB history when some of the players on the team threw the 1919 World Series.
After this, it was believed that the White Sox were cursed. The superstition was also known as The Curse of Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Chicago had not won a World Series since 1917. The White Sox finally broke the curse when the won the World Series in 2005.
10) The Curse of Rocky Colavito
Colavito had been the home run leader the previous season while Kuenn had been the batting average champion the previous season.
The Indians have had many misfortunes since and have not won a World Series.
Photo Credit: Cleveland.com
9) Bud Selig
The steroid era has certainly left a mark on the game of baseball and has changed the way that the game is played. It is one of the biggest black marks in baseball history.
Much of the blame for the steroid era had been blamed on MLB commissioner Bud Selig. However, Selig does not believe that he deserves the blame for the this problem.
8) Barry Bonds
If Selig has been blamed for the steroid era, there is only one name bigger than his that has been involved. Barry Bonds has been put at the forefront of the steroid issue in Major League Baseball for years.
Bonds has been considered to be a key player in the steroid saga and it is uncertain if his steroid usage will impact his Hall of Fame chances.
7) Pedro Martinez
In Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS, the Boston Red Sox were just a few innings away from reaching the World Series. Pedro Martinez had pitched well, but he had already thrown 100 pitches.
Martinez had struggled in the eighth, but the Red Sox had maintained the lead. Red Sox manager Grady Little went out to the mound to talk to Martinez, but didn't pull him. Martinez continued to struggle and the Yankees tied the game.
The Red Sox would go on to lose the game and miss the World Series.
6) Don Denkinger
Jorge Orta of the Royals led off the inning with a slow ground ball. He ran towards first base and the ball beat him. However, he was called safe by umpire Don Denkinger.
The Cardinals would go on to give up two runs and lose the game. In Game Seven, the Royals would defeat the Cardinals 11-0. Denkinger is blamed for the Cardinals' loss even thought they had multiple opportunities to still win the series.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
5) Shoeless Joe Jackson
The biggest name involved with the Chicago Black Sox scandal is undoubtedly Shoeless Joe Jackson. He is also the player that whose involvement in the situation has been called into doubt most often.
Questions have been raised about how the lawyers prepared Jackson for his testimony and if he actually cheated. Jackson hit a World Series leading .375 and didn't commit an error. However, since Jackson was a superstar, he took much of the blame when the favored White Sox lost.
Photo Credit: Bob Cesca
4) Steve Bartman
What was a great day at the ballpark turned into an absolute nightmare for Steve Bartman. Everyone knows how Bartman did what almost every single other fan would have done when he reached to grab a foul ball during Game Six of the 2003 NLCS.
The Chicago Cubs had a 3-2 series lead and a 3-0 lead in the game before the incident occurred. After some poor play by the Cubs which included a Mark Prior wild pitch and an Alex Gonzalez error, the Florida Marlins took an 8-3 lead.
The Marlins would go on to win both Game Six and Seven and the Cubs would once again fail to make the World Series.
Bartman takes way too much blame for the incident and was a huge scapegoat in this situation.
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3) Bill Buckner
The error made by Bill Buckner in Game Six of the 1986 World Series is not only one of the most famous plays in New York Mets history, but it is also one of the most famous plays in MLB history.
While Buckner garners most of the blame for the incident, much more of it should be put on Boston Red Sox Manager John McNamara.
McNamara normally brought in Dave Stapleton as a defensive replacement for Buckner, but he wanted Buckner to be on the field for the game's last out. McNamara also left a struggling Calvin Schiraldi in the despite the fact that he was very ineffective.
The Red Sox managed to take a 3-0 lead in Game Seven of the World Series, but ended up losing the game and the championship.
2) The Curse of the Bambino
One bad trade helped set the stage for 86 years of Red Sox baseball. When Babe Ruth was sold by Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee to the New York Yankees, the Curse of the Bambino was born.
Boston Red Sox fans and the media would continually blame the team's failures and near misses on the Curse of the Bambino. It was finally broken when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.
Photo Credit: MLB
1) The Curse of the Billy Goat
How could a list of baseball scapegoats be complete without an actually goat? All Billy Sianis wanted to do in 1945 was attend a Chicago Cubs World Series game with his pet goat.
He was able to bring the goat into the stadium with him, but after a few innings, Sianis and his goat were ejected because of the wretched smell of the animal. Sianis then placed a curse on the team.
This curse has been used to explain why the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, as well as all of the problems that the Cubs have had over the years.
Photo Credit: The Busam Blog