Roy Halladay and 15 MLB Players Who Are Beloved by Opposing Fanbases
MLB is filled with players that we simply can't ignore, even if some of them belong to the opposition.
Whether it's a feel-good story, a player who has beaten the odds or just the funny guy in the dugout, some players simply captivate us all regardless of what teams they play for, and today I thought it would a nice idea to highlight a few of them for you.
This isn't an article highlighting whether or not a specific team fanbase likes the guy or not, just a highlight of some quality players that opposing fanbases love.
Let's take a look at who I have, and if you have a certain mention, feel free to leave it below.
There is no denying that Jim Thome is one of the last "little giants" of our time, and one of the more humble men in all of baseball.
From a baseball perspective, Thome makes baseball fun considering his home-run prowess, but his attitude, respect for the game and professionalism are the collective qualities we have all come to love even the various opposing fanbases he has faced in his years.
Pitchers, on the other hand, hate facing the guy ;)
Giants' fans may be up and down with him right now, but many can agree that Wilson is not only a class act, but a true comedian.
He's an easy-going guy who makes the game fun with his off-field antics, but he is a true professional who always keeps the main goal in mind.
What's not to love?
Aside from the occasional appearance in the ninth to shut things down, Heath Bell is a guy who opposing fanbases love.
He isn't flashy, cocky or disruptive, rather just a good old-fashioned hard worker who loves the game, and it shows in his performance every time he's on the bump.
As for that ninth-inning mention...well, you take the good with the bad, folks!
Say what you will, Red Sox fans, but even you'all have to admit Derek Jeter is one class-act guy, hands down.
In an age where players flaunt more immaturity, Jeter has prevailed as the old-fashioned, well-rounded baseball player who commands respect and exudes likability simply because of who he is, and his respect and admiration of the game.
Although, I am sure there will be a few of you who will disagree. It's okay, you're allowed.
Michael Young was far more likable in recent years than he was at the start of the season with the contract stuff and move to the DH, but he is still one likeable guy.
The problem now, though, is he is becoming more hated as he continues to get more playing time, but all in all, the guy is a quality old-timer who most still enjoy.
Opposing fanbases may not like how good this guy is when he is taking on their team, but they LOVE him otherwise.
Especially when Halladay is destroying another divisional team and potentially helping them out.
Halladay is one of the most humble players in MLB, so it's no surprise that he is liked as well as he is.
Dustin Pedroia is the epitome of perpetual youth. Pedroia IS THAT kid in everyone's dugout at age 10, and he is THAT GUY, who is the heart of the team.
Pedroia is the team's therapy with his comedic ways, upbeat tempo and high energy levels, and even Yankees fans have to love the guy.
Again, there will inevitably be a few of you who obviously disagree.
What's not to love? The kid is a freak, he's a natural and he's a Hall of Famer waiting to be inducted.
Baseball fans are fans of the game first, so when someone as electric as Lincecum takes the mound—even against your team—everyone gets a little excited to watch what this kid can do, simply because of its rarity.
He is a true one-of-a-kind.
Getting off the beaten track for a moment, A.J. Burnett is one guy who is beloved by the Red Sox Nation.
Because of the amount of success the Red Sox have against the guy, that's why. What's not to love about that?
Other opposing fanbases that love him are Philadelphia and Toronto, who have also been very successful against Burnett in his career.
Everyone loves a feel-good story and Lester filled those shoes by defying the odds and beating cancer, only to become one of the most dominating pitchers in the game today.
But it was his humility that really set the tone, here.
Lester didn't make his battle or recovery into a big thing, and he didn't exploit the media with the story headline.
A true class act who everyone loves.
If you look at Dice-K's track record against any other team in the majors, you'll see he has found success against nearly every single team he has faced, but against the Yankees?
Not so good.
The Yankees' fanbase love seeing this guy on the mound because they always seem to come out on top against one of the more formidable pitchers in the league.
Dice-K has had a terrible year and is now facing Tommy john surgery keeping him out until the All-Star break of NEXT year.
Another opposing team that loves facing Dice-K more than New York, is the Tampa Bay Rays who are a team that Dice-K has never beaten, and can't even seem to get close to a .500 record against.
Another feel-good story is obviously the one surrounding Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton kicked his addiction only to return to the Rangers as an explosive addition to this team, and he has since kept himself on he right path in life.
Hamilton has since reached out to other addiction programs, and folks dealing with similar situations, and has otherwise used his experience to become a better person, and a quality lending hand.
What's not to love about that?
Not too many players at 30 can say they are hitting .279 with 35 home runs AND have the kind of speed Granderson does as an outfielder.
Fans of Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore and many others perhaps hate when he is up to bat from a fanbase point of view, but from a FAN point of view, they gotta love the guy's natural ability as an impact player, and electric performer.
He's also quite the comedian as well.
I hate to do this to the guy, but right now Figgins is one of the most beloved guy in all of baseball, especially on the part of the American League fanbase.
Because the guy just flat-out stinks this season, and whenever he steps up to the plate, many fans can enjoy things like:
1. An early retirement to the bathroom before commercial break.
2. That all-too-important beer run before the inning is over
3. The intermittent smoke break knowing nothing is going to happen with Figgins at the plate.
Well, at least he serves some purpose.
I don't care who you are or what team you like the most, everyone can agree they just love this guy!
From a professional standpoint, Zambrano plays with more fire than any other baseball player in the league, whether he is winning or losing.
In the grand scheme of things, he truly loves this game, and deep down inside he is a professional first.
But sometimes our passion spills over and creates sort of a mess.
It's that mess that is also lovable.
I mean c'mon, who doesn't like the occasional witness of a player throwing out an umpire, or a random fight with a water cooler. what about the ever-so-often times Zambrano breaks a bat over his knee, or the curious overly heated comments he has made out of desperation and want for change.
Nothing this guy does is intentional in my opinion, but he is a bit loose on the trigger.
Either way, ya gotta love the guy!