Most Embarrassing Plays in Baseball History

Mark MillerCorrespondent INovember 2, 2011

Most Embarrassing Plays in Baseball History

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    With a 162-game season, baseball will always be a game of ups and downs. The ups are oftentimes remembered, but the downs can be far more fun to reminisce about.

    Many players past and present have put themselves in embarrassing situations during games, and while they will almost all have a chance to redeem themselves, they will always have their boneheaded decisions hanging over their head.

    Here are 20 of the most embarrassing plays in baseball history.

Jason Michael

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    As an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2004, Jason Michael earned a year-end award that would get him remembered for years to come.

    Blooper of the Year.

    A Carlos Thomas line drive that should have been caught was bobbled by Michael and would make its way over the fence for a gift-wrapped home run.

Milton Bradley

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    Milton Bradley has found trouble during at least one point in each stop during his Major League career. In 2009, he added an infamous error to the list.

    During a game against the Minnesota Twins, Bradley caught a fly ball and flipped it into the stands for a fan. The only problem is that the inning wasn't over.

    His error would allow a run to score and etch his place in Cubs history, for all the wrong reasons.

Ryan Braun

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    As one of the leaders of the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun's play on the field exemplifies what his teammates and all baseball players should strive towards.

    His base running, however, was called into question this season as he made every attempt to give himself an inside-the-park home run. Needless to say, things didn't go quite as planned.

Izzy Alcantara

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    Izzy Alcantara's decisions on this particular day were inexplicable, making him an embarrassment that will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Luis Castillo

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    During an always-important game for the New York Mets against inner city rival Yankees, Luis Castillo made an error that would live with him for the duration of his time with the Mets.

    As he moved to catch a routine Alex Rodriguez fly ball, he took his spot under the ball and closed his glove.

    The only problem is that the ball wasn't in it. The costly error would give the Yankees an improbable walk-off win.

Joe Niekro

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    One of the greatest knuckleballers to play the game, Joe Niekro put himself in an embarrassing situation in 1987 as it was discovered that he had a nail file in his pocket, seemingly giving him an unfair advantage.

    He claimed it was there because he was filing his nails inbetween innings, but the commissioner didn't believe him and suspended him for 10 games.

Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran

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    While this was an embarrassing collision, it was also quite serious in nature. During a game in 2005, New York Mets teammates Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron both charged at a fly ball.

    They collided head first, and while both sustained injuries, Cameron got the worst of it as he fractured both cheekbones and broke his nose.

Fred Merkle

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    Fred Merkle's long career is probably now best remembered for an error committed in 1908 in the middle of a playoff race.

    As a member of the Giants, he went up to bat with the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth against the Cubs, singling a runner over to third base. The next batter would single in the winning run and Merkle would head back to the dugout. 

    Having failed to touch second base, the perceptive fielders touched the bag and Merkle was called out, meaning that the run that scored would be disallowed.

    Due to the fans on the field, the game was called and later replayed. The Cubs would win it the second time around, forever placing Merkle's error in history.

Jose Canseco

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    Jose Canseco has been a part of many embarrassing moments off the field since ending his Major League career, but his most embarrassing moment during his career came when he was an outfielder for the Texas Rangers.

    Canseco was moving out on a fly ball. When he reached the track, the ball reached him. Not his glove, but his head.

    The ball would bounce off his head and over the fence for an improbable home run. Way to use your head, Jose.

Vince Coleman

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    In an embarrassing moment not during play on the field, Vince Coleman's rookie season was cut short at the worst possible time.

    During the 1985 NLCS, a rain delay caused the halt of a game. As Coleman was doing some stretching, the automatic tarp covering the infield rolled up with his leg in it.

    He missed the remainder of the NLCS as well as the World Series.

Ruben Rivera

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    Not a whole lot needs to be said that broadcaster Jon Miller doesn't cover in this video.

    Simply the worst base running ever.

Jeff Burroughs

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    Sliding is something that teams spend a great deal of time working with during spring training, as they hope to give their base runners an added edge on the base paths. 

    Apparently, Jeff Burroughs wasn't paying attention.

    During a game in 1985, the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder slid into second base. Or so he thought. As it turns out, he ended up more than six feet short of the base and was tagged out easily.

Leon Durham

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    During the Chicago Cubs' first trip to the postseason since 1945, the 1984 NLCS was one of the closest they'd come to the World Series since early in the 1900s.

    During the decisive Game 5, the Cubs held onto a slim lead in the bottom of the seventh when, with a runner on second base, Leon Durham failed to field a ground ball hit to first base.

    The runner on second scored, and the Padres went on to win the game, ending the Cubs' season just shy of the fall classic.

Tim McCarver

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    Tim McCarver is best known right now for broadcasting with Fox alongside Joe Buck. In Philadelphia, however, some may still remember his Independence Day gaffe.

    During a game against the in-state rival Pittsburgh Pirates on the Nations' bicentennial, Tim McCarver stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded.

    He hit a grand slam but got a little overzealous with his base running and passed up the runner on first. McCarver was called out and given credit for a three-run single.

Mike Grady

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    We're going a ways back on this one, but in 1895 Mike Grady made history that cannot be forgotten—at least in the record books.

    The third baseman bobbled a ball hit his way, allowing the runner to reach first. After an outfielder retrieved the ball he threw to Grady to catch the runner heading to third. Grady bobbled once again and then threw the ball over the catcher's head, giving him the most errors on a single play in league history.

Dennis Eckersley

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    In terms of the 1988 World Series, Oakland A's pitcher Dennis Eckersley is probably best known as the pitcher who gave up the Game 1 walk-off home run to hobbled hero Kirk Gibson.

    The play could have seemingly gone differently had he thrown a different pitch, which may have actually been the intention.

    It's been speculated that Eckersley misread the sign relayed to him on the pitch that Gibson took deep. Whether or not that's true, the series could have taken on an entirely different tone had he been able to punch out Gibson.

Bill Buckner

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    The Boston Red Sox collapse in the 1986 World Series can't be blamed entirely on Bill Buckner, but many fans have certainly done a good job of pinning the blame on him.

    It wasn't a secret that Buckner probably should have been replaced for a more defensively inclined player, but at the same time he also should have bent down that last inch and grabbed the Mookie Wilson dribbler that ended up going five hole on him.

    The Mets would go on to beat the Red Sox 8-5 in Game 7, thanks to home runs from Ray Knight and Darryl Strawberry.

Ryan Raburn

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    Taking a page out of Jason Michaels' book, Detroit Tigers left fielder Ryan Raburn gave up a home run on what should have been, at worst, a double.

    As you'll see in the video, the ball did make it to the webbing of Raburn's glove, but he couldn't close the deal—or the glove.

    Instead, the ball was flipped up into the bullpen for what has to be the most embarrassing error he ever has or ever will make.

Benny Agbayani

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    Outfielder Benny Agbayani won't go down as a villain in the way that Milton Bradley seems to be, but he did make a very similar mistake.

    During a 2000 game against the San Francisco Giants, he made a routine catch in the outfield. Rather than sending the ball back into the infield, Agbayani gave a child a souvenier.

    That would be a great gesture at the end of an inning, just not with one out.

Nyjer Morgan

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    Nyjer Morgan is known as an emotional player, getting into scuffles on the field and having fun with the media off the field. In part, this was probably a reason that he was sent packing from the Washington Nationals.

    This play couldn't have helped his cause, either. During a game against the Baltimore Orioles, Morgan ran out towards the center field fence to grab a fly ball. It bounced off his glove and hit the warning track.

    Rather than retrieving the ball and throwing to the infield, he instead threw his glove into the ground and pouted over the missed play, allowing Adam Jones to round the bases.