50 Biggest “Hotheads” in MLB History

Robert KnapelCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2011

50 Biggest “Hotheads” in MLB History

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    There have been many baseball players and managers that have made a name for themselves not because of their abilities, but rather because of the fact that they tend to outbursts when things do not go their way.

    These MLB hotheads are known for getting into fights and arguments and there have been many incidents that occurred between the figures on this list. Most of these players and coaches have short-tempers and the smallest things could set them off.

50) Nyjer Morgan

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    Nyjer Morgan has made a name for himself in a number of ways. Along with his play on the field, Morgan is known for his alter ego, Tony Plush, as well as his on-the-field incidents.

    Morgan was suspended by the MLB after he threw a ball at a fan during a game in Philadelphia. He did this after jawing with the fan throughout the game. Morgan also has started a bench clearing brawl after he threw a punch at Chris Volstad.

49) Gary Sheffield

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    Gary Sheffield is known throughout baseball for his attitudes as well as his talents. He was involved in a number of brawls throughout his career.

    Sheffield actually sat out a game while he was on the New York Mets because the team would not offer him an extension.

48) Chuck Knoblauch

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    Baseball players are known to argue calls with umpires. However, most of them wait until the play is over to express their gripes. Chuck Knoblauch did not do this during the 1998 ALCS and as a result, a run scored.

    Knoblauch also has had a some issues off of the field. in 2009, Knoblauch was charged with felony domestic assault after he choked his wife.

47) Lenny Dykstra

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    Lenny Dykstra's tough play on the field earned him the nickname Nails. He was an incredibly scrappy player and on occasion, others took offense to this.

    Dykstra once started a fight with Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Rick Dempsey which started a massive brawl. After his playing career, Dykstra has had a number of run-ins with the law.

46) Jim Leyland

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    Jim Leyland has been around the major leagues as a manager for years now. Over the course of his career, Leyland has been ejected from many games and is known for getting into heated discussions with umpires.

    He is amongst the leaders in manager ejections. Leyland has even gone as far to give the umpires a replay of the play that they just made a call on in an attempt to get the call changed.

45) Lee Elia

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    When teams struggle the fans often get very rowdy and restless. They boo their struggling players but nothing much comes of it.

    In 1983, Chicago Cubs fans had enough of the team's struggles from the year before and early in the season. Their attitudes led Cubs manager to direct a profanity laced tirade at them.

44) George Brett

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    The Pine Tar Incident is one of the most memorable moments of George Brett's career. After he hit a home run against the New York Yankees, manager Billy Martin complained to the umpires that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat.

    The umpires checked and Brett was called out. Brett then proceeded to absolutely freak out and had to be forcibly restrained from going after the umpire.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Almanac

43) Roger Clemens

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    Some could easily argue that Roger Clemens' outbursts come as a result of his alleged steroid use. Even his former manager, Joe Torre believe that it is possible.

    The most infamous of Clemens' outburst occurred during the 2000 World Series. Mike Piazza broke his bat on a foul ball and the shattered piece of wood landed near Clemens. He then picked it up and threw it at Piazza as he was running up the first base line.

    Clemens was low enough to make a joke about the incident 11 years later.

    Photo Credit: NBC

42) Vicente Padilla

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    Throughout his career, Vicente Padilla has earned a reputation as a headhunter. That obviously does not help his image which was already tarnished.

    Padilla has caused a number of brawls with his pitches that come in high and hard. He has also been called a bad teammate in the past as well.

41) Carl Everett

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    Carl Everett is certainly a character. He earned the nickname "Jurassic Carl" because he stated that he doesn't believe that dinosaurs ever existed. Everett also doesn't believe that man has ever landed on the moon.

    In addition to the numerous altercations that Everett had with umpires that led to suspensions during his major league career, Everett has also had some off-the-field issues. He was arrested after he allegedly pointed a gun at his wife's head during an argument.

40) Ed Whitson

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    Ed Whitson's fiery attitude did not match well with Billy Martin and his personality during Whitson's short and tumultuous time with the New York Yankees.

    Martin scratched Whitson from a start for having a tender arm. This was very surprising to Whitson because he had felt fine. This eventually led to a brawl between the two which ended with a broken arm and lacerations for Martin while Whitson suffered a cracked rib and split lip.

39) Pete Rose

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    Pete Rose is most well known for being baseball's all-time hits leader as well as for the fact that he bet on baseball. However, Rose is also known for having a bit of an attitude.

    When he was a manager, Rose shoved umpire Dave Pallone after a call which allowed the New York Mets to score what would turn out to be the game winning run. Rose defended himself by saying that Pallone scratched him but he was suspended by the league for 30 games.

38) Dick Allen

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    Dick Allen was noted for his stature and strength during his major league career. He was a very intimidating figure.

    However, Allen's career was marred by a few controversies. He famously got into a fistfight with Frank Thomas who was his teammate with the Philadelphia Phillies. Out of rage, Allen also decided to punch out one of the headlights on his car.

    Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

37) Rob Dibble

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    Rob Dibble not only made a name for himself during his major league career with his talent, but also with his temper. He was known for having a very short fuse and was involved in a number of incidents.

    1991 was not a good year for Dibble as he was involved in a number of controversies. He threw a ball into the stands after a game that hit a woman in the face and he also threw a ball at Eric Yelding as he was running up the first baseline.

    Dibble also got into two fights that year. One fight was with Doug Dascenzo of the Houston Astros while the other was a brawl with his own manager, Lou Pinella.

36) Garry Templeton

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    Garry Templeton was involved in one of the dumbest trades of all-time. The reason that the St. Louis Cardinals traded him was directly related to his poor attitude.

    After a fan had been heckling Templeton during a game, he had decided that he had enough. Templeton responded by making an obscene gesture towards the fan.

35) Kyle Farnsworth

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    After watching a few of his fights, it seems entirely plausible that the 6' 4", 230 lbs. Kyle Farnsworth could have had a career as a professional wrestler.

    Farnsworth speared Paul Wilson after he began to approach the mound. Once he had him on the ground, Farnsworth began to throw haymakers. The following season, Farnsworth kicked a fan in the Cubs dugout in disgust and ended up with injuries that forced him to go on the DL.

34) George Moriarty

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    As a player, George Moriarty did not have any major incidents. However, once he became an umpire, his short fuse became much more obvious.

    After a game feature the Chicago White Sox a few of the team's players took offense with a number of his calls. Moriarty's response to this? He challenged the players to a fight. Milt Gaston took up the challenge and Moriarty knocked him out cold.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

33) Lloyd McClendon

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    Stealing first base is an impossible task, but apparently no one ever mentioned that to former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon. He picked up the base after disagreeing with an umpire Rick Reed's call and walked off the field with it after he was ejected.

    This was not the first time that McClendon had challenged an umpire's call. In fact, he had been fairly notorious for it.

    Photo Credit: ESPN

32) Hal McRae

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    There were few players that put in more effort than Hal McRae during his career. He played hard an actually had a rule named after him. The Hal McRae rule prevents runners from going out of their way to break up a double play. Surprisingly, this didn't lead to many incidents during his career.

    McRae is on this list because of his tirade from during the time he managed the Kansas City Royals. When a reporter asked McRae a question he didn't like, he went nuts. He threw everything off of his desk, including a phone which hit a reporter.

31) Francisco Rodriguez

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    Francisco Rodriguez is an incredibly talented pitcher which is why the New York Mets signed him to a large contract after he set the single-season saves record. However, they did not know all of the person issues that he would have once the signed him.

    Rodriguez once called out New York Yankees pitcher Brian Bruney after Bruney criticized his antics. He confronted him at batting practice before a game between the two teams. He twice got into arguments with members of the Mets organization. Rodriguez had heated exchanges with Vice President of Player Development Tony Bernazard and bullpen coach Randy Niemann.

    What Rodriguez is most well known for is the fight that he got into with his girlfriend's father. K-Rod pleaded guilty to attempted assault and needed to attend anger management classes.

30) Michael Barrett

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    Michael Barrett has been personally responsible for clearing a couple of benches. He had two incidents within a week with Roy Oswalt that caused the benches to clear. In the first incident, Oswalt hit Barrett and he confronted him. Just five days later, Barrett called him out and tried to start a fight.

    Barrett has also been involved in a number of fights. He punched A.J. Pierzynski after there was a hard collision. Pierzynski then slapped home plate and bumped into Barrett after the play. Not only has Barrett fought members of the Cubs crosstown rivals, but he has also gotten into a scuffle with his former Cubs teammate Carlos Zambrano.

29) A.J. Pierzynski

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    A.J. Pierzynski's incident with Michael Barrett was described in the previous slide. The Chicago White Sox actually took advantage of this with the "Punch A.J." campaign to get him elected to the All-Star Game as a part of the All-Star Game Final Vote.

    Pierzynski also allegedly kneed San Francisco Giants trainer Stan Conte in the groin during a Spring Training game in 2004.

    It does appear that Pierzynski has found an outlet for his aggression as he is a professional wrestler for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

28) Milton Bradley

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    One would assume that someone that shares a name with a company that produces children's board games would have a very amicable personality. However, that is not the case with Milton Bradley.

    In a fit of anger after a strikeout, Bradley has broken a bat over his knee. One of the most famous incidents also involves Bradley's knee. He went face to face with umpire Mike Winters after Winters directed profanity at Bradley. Padres manager Bud Black went to restrain Bradley and he fell. This resulted in Bradley tearing his ACL.

    Television announcers might have been more careful regarding comments they made about Bradley on air after he tried to confront Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre about comments that he felt were unfair.

    After being suspended by the Cubs, Bradley publicly spoke about the negative attitude around the team and attributed it to the team's championship drought. He eventually apologized for his comments.

27) Vince Coleman

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    Vince Coleman was involved in a number of odd occurrences during his time in the major leagues. These moments corresponded with his career beginning to end.

    Coleman hurt star pitcher Dwight Gooden's arm after he wildly swung a golf club at him in the New York Mets clubhouse in 1993.

    After 1993, fans were also more careful when it came to seeking autographs from Coleman. He threw a lit firecracker into a group of autograph seekers outside of Dodger Stadium. Three people were injured by the firecracker and the Mets suspended Coleman for the rest of the season.

26) Roberto Alomar

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    There was one truly negative moment in Roberto Alomar's Hall of Fame career. While he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles, Alomar got into a heated argument with umpire John Hirschbeck.

    Alomar then did the unthinkable and spit on Hirschbeck. Alomar then mentioned details about the umpire's personal life which caused him to attempt to go after Alomar in the locker room.

    Photo Credit: H-Net

25) Shawn Chacon

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    Shawn Chacon got into a major fight during his time with the Houston Astros. It is one thing to go after another player on the field, however, it is an completely different matter to attack your GM.

    During a meeting with Ed Wade, Chacon grabbed Wade by the neck and threw him to the ground. He then proceeded to knock him down every single time that he tried to get up. Chacon was eventually restrained by his teammates. After placing him on waivers, the Astros terminated his contract without cause.

24) Earl Weaver

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    Earl Weaver is near the top of the leaderboard for manager ejections. He has been tossed out of more than 90 regular season games during his career as well as a few playoff games.

    Weaver is known for going on profanity laced tirades. The only forfeit in Baltimore Orioles history came because of Weaver. He asked to have a tarp removed from the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen because it was weighted down by bricks. Weaver believed that his left fielder could be injured by the bricks. When the umpires ruled that the tarp did not need to be removed, Weaver pulled his team off of the field.


23) Jocko Halligan

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    Even some of the most knowledgeable sports fans may not know about Jocko Halligan. He spent just three seasons in the majors as a result of an incident that occurred when he was on the Baltimore Orioles.

    At a poker game, Halligan got angry at teammate Cub Stricker and punched him in the face. The punch broke Stricker's jaw. Baltimore released Halligan and he was blacklisted from baseball.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

22) Bert Campaneris

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    During the playoffs, it is much less likely to see a bench clearing brawl. The players know the consequences of one and realize how much it could hurt their team.

    Bert Campaneris did not care after he was hit in the ankle by a pitch from Lerrin LeGrow during the 1972 ALCS. He charged the mound and he was held back after the benches cleared. Campaneris was suspended for the rest of the series.

21) Kenny Rogers

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    Kenny Rogers may be a gamblin' man but he certainly does not like cameramen. He was involved in an incident with two cameramen before a game at Ameriquest Field.

    He shoved both cameramen and knocked one of their cameras to the ground. One of the brave reporters picked up his camera and tried to film again. Rodgers once again knocked the camera out of his hand and began to kick it while it was on the ground.

20) Carlos Perez

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    The most memorable moment from Carlos Perez's career comes from when he had a bat in his hand which is very impressive considering that he was a pitcher. In a fit of anger he took a bat to the water cooler and destroyed it.

    Off the field, Perez attacked a flight attendant and was found guilty of sexual assault.

19) Frank Francisco

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    During a game against the Oakland Athletics, fans had been shouting personal insults and racial slurs at members of the Texas Rangers bullpen. Players usually just brush this off, but this was not the case.

    Frank Francisco became so incensed by the insults that he picked up a chair and chucked it into the crowd. He hit a woman in the face and she suffered a number of lacerations. Francisco was suspended for the rest of the season and was eventually arrest. He pleaded no contest to the charges.

18) Elijah Dukes

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    Elijah Dukes was an incredibly talented prospect, but the problem was that he had character issues. Those issues began to manifest themselves throughout his career.

    Dukes was first arrested when he was 13 years old in 1997. He has been arrested for assault on numerous occasions and also has been arrested for battery. Dukes also threatened to kill his wife and her children. When a 17-year-old girl informed Dukes that he had gotten her pregnant, his response was to throw a Gatorade bottle at her.

17) John McGraw

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    John McGraw was known for both his quick temper and his quick fists during his career as both a player and manager. He would also use illicit tactics to try to gain any advantage possible.

    During his career, McGraw once started a fight that led to the destruction of part of a stadium. After Tommy Tucker slid hard into third base, McGraw kicked him in the head. The two men started to fight and the fans got involved. Some one eventually started which spread through Boston's South End Grounds and burned down the stadium's grandstand.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

16) Leo Durocher

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    Leo Durocher was a Hall of Fame manager who had a strong tendency to get ejected from games. He is fourth on the all-time ejections list and not only feuded with umpires, but also with the press.

    Durocher lived by the phrase "Nice guys finish last," and that philosophy was very apparent through his actions. He was also known to get into verbal altercations with commissioner Albert Chandler.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

15) Tony Bernazard

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    Tony Bernazard's confrontation with Francisco Rodriguez has already been mentioned and it is not the only incident that he was involved with when he was with the Mets.

    Bernazard actually ripped off his shirt and challenged the minor leaguers who were playing for the Binghamton Mets to a fight. In addition to this, Bernazard also went on a tirade when a Diamondbacks' scout was in his seat at Citi Field.

    Photo Credit: ESPN

14) Philip Wellman

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    It is amazing how quickly things can go viral and someone that was virtually unknown can be turned into a household name. This is exactly what happened with Phillip Wellman.

    Wellman was managing the Mississippi Braves when he went on one of the most impressive and hilarious tirades that has ever been seen. He was protesting the umpire ejecting his pitcher for having a foreign substance on his hands. It is easy to say that Wellman went a bit over the top, but it is very enjoyable.

13) John Rocker

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    People in New York hated John Rocker and it was for a good presence. He called out the entire city with his racist, homophobic and sexist comments. He also insulted all of the tourists that visit the city.

    The New York Mets brought in hundreds of extra police officers the next time the Atlanta Braves came to Shea Stadium. Rocker was known to have taken steroids, so his attitude could have been because of roid rage.

12) Julian Tavarez

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    During his career, Julian Tavarez was suspended a number of times. He got into arguments with umpires, intentionally hit opposing hitters, and punched both opposing players and telephones.

    Spring Training games are not supposed to be taking serious, but apparently Tavarez was unaware of that. In 2006, he got into a fight with Joey Gathright and punched him in the face.

    Tavarez also took a swing at a telephone. After a poor performance in a playoff game, Tavarez tried to trash the dugout and punched a phone. He did not miss playing time, but did break a few fingers.

11) Ty Cobb

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    Ty Cobb was not only one of the best players that the MLB has ever seen, but he also had one of the a game's most fiery tempers. Cobb played hard and had a very aggressive playing style.

    No one was able to avoid Cobb's wrath. He once got into a fight with a groundskeeper over the condition of the Tigers' field at Spring Training and then attacked the man's wife. Cobb went after a one-handed heckler in the stands and threw a punch at him. During his career, Cobb also got into a number of fights and arguments with both players and umpires.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

10) Izzy Alacantra

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    Izzy Alacantra did not accomplish anything impressive during his brief major league career. He did however, get noticed for something that he did in the minors.

    Alacantra believed that pitcher Blas Cedeno was throwing at him. Alacantra kicked the catcher and then charged the mound. He threw a punch towards Cedeno but missed. Unsurprisingly, this led to a bench clearing brawl.

9) Carlos Zambrano

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    Carlos Zambrano has had an excessive number of incidents during his career with the Chicago Cubs. His fight with Michael Barrett has already been mentioned and is just one of many problems that he has had.

    In 2009, Zambrano got into an argument with umpire Mark Carlson about a call at the plate. He was ejected from the game and then threw a ball and his glove onto the field. Zambrano then swung a bat at the Gatorade cooler.

    Zambrano's most recent incident came when he threw two pitches inside to Chipper Jones and he was ejected. He left the game and cleaned out his locker. Zambrano said that he was considering retirement but changed his mind.

8) Ugueth Urbina

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    During his career, Ugueth Urbina tended to stay out of problems on the field. He put up some solid numbers and was never a problem in the clubhouse.

    However, Urbina's career ended early as a result of an off-the-field incident. A machete-wielding Urbina threatened swung at five farmer workers who he believed stole a gun from his property in Venezuela. Urbina was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

7) Bobby Cox

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    Bobby Cox is the most ejected manager in MLB history. He has been ejected from almost 160 games during his career. There have been a number of memorable tirades in Cox's career. After he retires, Cox will also be a Hall of Famer.

    Cox also had one off-the-field incident. He was charged with domestic abuse in 1995 but the charges were eventually dropped after the couple underwent counseling.

6) Lou Piniella

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    Lou Piniella may not have been ejected from as many games as Bobby Cox, but he often throws much more angry tirades when he comes out to argue with an umpire.

    He memorable kicked dirt on C.B. Buckner and then picked up first base and proceeded to chuck it into the outfield. Piniella also got into a fight with Rob Dibble when he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

5) Juan Marichal

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    Juan Marichal only had one major incident in his career, but the act was so ugly that it was enough to land him in the top-five of this list.

    After Juan Marichal had twice thrown pitches near the head of Dodgers lead-off hitter Maury Willis, he stepped to the plate. Dodgers' catcher Johnny Roseboro threw the balls back to the pitcher very close to Marichal's head and one grazed his ear. The two began to exchange words. Roseboro took off his catcher's mask and Marichal turned and repeatedly hit him in the head with his bat.

    Photo Credit: ESPN

4) Delmon Young

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    During his minor league career, Delmon Young really did not like umpires. In 2005, he bumped an umpire while he was a member of the Montgomery Biscuits.

    The following year, Young disagreed with an umpire's call on strike three. He stood in the batters box and argued with the umpire. Young was eventually ejected. As he walked back to the dugout, he threw the bat at the umpire and it hit him square in the chest. Young was suspended for 50 games as a result of the incident.

3) Ozzie Guillen

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    Most people have the ability to think before they speak. Either Ozzie Guillen lacks that talent or he chooses not to utilize it. Guillen has gone on a number of rants while he has been manager of the Chicago White Sox.

    Guillen has called out everyone from sports writer Jay Mariotti to actor Sean Penn. He also took to his Twitter feed to mention his beef with Comcast. Guillen has also insulted managers, players and fans with his comments. He even started a war of the words with former White Sox Bobby Jenks after comments that he made on Twitter.

2) Jose Offerman

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    Jose Offerman managed to avoid having any major issues while he was playing in the MLB. His troubles began after his MLB career ended.

    In a game against the Bridgeport Bluefish, Offerman charged at pitcher Matt Beech with his bat. Offerman then swung his bat and hit Beech. As a result, Beech suffered a broken figure. As one might imaging, this scene caused the benches to clear. Offerman was charged with two second degree assault charges and was given two years probation.

    In 2010, Offerman was managing a game in the Dominican Winter League when he got into an argument with an umpire. Offerman threw a right hook and connected. The umpire, Daniel Rayburn fell to the ground. Offerman was banned from the Dominican Winter League for life as a result of the incident.

1) Billy Martin

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    Billy Martin was involved with brawls and arguments both during his career as a player as well as during his time as a manager. Martin was involved in fights with Tommy Lasorda, Jimmy Piersall, Clint Courtney and Matt Batts during his career. He also threw his bat at pitcher Jim Brewer and then punched him.

    Martin also started a fight with a bunch of drunks at the Copacabana while he was there with a few New York Yankees to celebrate his 29th birthday.

    He managed the Minnesota Twins for one season and was fired after he fought one of his players, Dave Boswell, in an alley. During his next job with the Detroit Tigers, Martin flipped off photographers when they tried to take his picture for a baseball card. He was fired after he publicly admitted that he told his pitchers to throw at hitters.

    During his first stint with the Yankees, Martin got into a fight with Reggie Jackson in the team's dugout. After he returned to the Yankees, Martin got into a fight with a marshmallow salesman. He was eventually fired a and then went to the Oakland Athletics.

    Martin avoid trouble in Oakland but fought pitcher Ed Whitson when he once again became manager of the Yankees.

    Amazingly, these are not the only people that Martin fought and a list with additional names of his opponents can be found here.

    Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated