25 Cockiest Players in Baseball History
In baseball, like in all sports, a player has to at least have confidence in his abilities. while that is all well and good, there are those that go much further than that, becoming arrogant players known more for their ego than their accomplishments.
Many of these players are part of MLB's greatest, so the cocky attitude could make sense. After all, if you have multiple MLB records, you're going to have some swagger in your game. Still, some go the extra mile and seem to be just cocky.
Here are baseball's 25 cockiest players throughout history, whether their ego is deserved or not.
25. Hanley Ramirez
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Hanley Ramirez started off his career really well, earning three All-Star appearances and being a key piece of the Marlins roster. However, the incident where he kicked a ball and jogged over to it, leading to him being benched, does not sit well.
After a bad 2011 season, it seems that he carries himself as better than he is. Perhaps things will change there since everything else in the Marlins organization is.
24. Brian Wilson
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For the first few seasons of his career, Brian Wilson was a quality reliever who became a good closer. The past couple years though, he's been turning into an elite one, but may be known for his attitude and appearance than his playing ability.
Wilson's personality and frequent media appearances over the past year have turned him into one of the most well-known players in the game, and it has created some cockiness. After all, his past season was merely good, despite him being treated as a great.
23. Pete Rose
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The all-time hits leader would naturally be somewhat cocky, but based on his various position changes it seemed he was willing to put the team before himself. Why does he end up on the list then?
Not only did he gamble on baseball, with that being a battle for 15 years, but he went on a book tour in 2004 about admitting to gambling on games, doing so in the midst of Hall of Fame inductees being announced.
22. Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson was deservingly cocky as one of the best pitchers of his era. He was also very intimidating, not afraid to stare a batter down and make him work for every hit.
The cockiness comes in with his desire to throw brush-back pitches, not so much when players were hitting well on him, but instead to just them know that he was in charge. He was an ace, and he made sure the hitters knew it.
21. Jimmy Rollins
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Jimmy Rollins is a great shortstop and former MVP who has a tendency to run his mouth quite a bit. Examples are his claim that the Phillies were the team to beat in 2007 and that they would win 100 games in 2008.
Again, it's fine to be confident about yourself and your team, but the Phillies were the actual favorites to win this past season and did not, and when you make claims like that you have to back them up, which Rollins has been spotty on.
20. Milton Bradley
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Milton Bradley is a man who had a superstar's ego when he really was not all that good. He ended up being on eight different teams in his career because he continually wore out his welcome as a clubhouse cancer.
Add in the multiple suspensions he received and he's proof that having a cocky attitude does not make you a good ballplayer.
19. Curt Schilling
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Curt Schilling may have been a great pitcher, especially in the playoffs, but he definitely had attitude issues. He had feuds with several teammates on the Phillies, as well as with management.
Schilling especially feuded with the media, in particular with Pedro Gomez, with sportswriters noting him as someone wanting to polish his own image. I don't subscribe to that myself, but many do see him as a cocky individual.
18. Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby was perhaps the greatest second baseman in baseball history, but he was also a man with a big ego. Not only that, but he was the type of player who felt that he inherently knew best.
Due to that, teammates did not get along with him, and he had very strict guidelines as a manager, with the result being that his teams generally were not good. Besides, he wanted personal perfection yet he went to bet on the horses frequently.
17. Jose Canseco
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Jose Canseco is another one of those players who became a star through hitting home runs and looking rather chiseled, and became cocky at the time.
His attitude shot up after writing the book on steroids in baseball, and he may be more of a celebrity after retiring from baseball as he seems to revel in the spotlight.
16. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth was baseball's first real transcendent star. He reveled in the fame and fortune that baseball brought him, and he felt he was bigger than the game to an extent.
Having said that, he was the biggest thing in baseball during his career and is still the superstar. Any cockiness he had at the plate, such as the called shot, was entirely justified.
15. Derek Jeter
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Derek Jeter is a tough one to rate. On the one hand, he is a class act and mostly well-liked. On the other hand, a lot of recent issues make me feel that he is getting increasingly cocky with age.
The recent contract dispute with him wanting a top of the line contract at his age definitely did not sit well with me, and he carries around a sense of entitlement. He's no longer an elite player, so now's not the time to be pulling stuff like that.
14. Ted Williams
Like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams' cockiness was well-deserved, as he was one of the best hitters of all time.
As an example of his confidence, in 1941, he entered a season-ending doubleheader with a .400 average. Instead of sitting out to keep it intact, he played the doubleheader. He finished it with a .406 average, and showed that his cockiness could produce great results.
13. Mark McGwire
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The man who brought baseball into the steroid era with the 1998 home run record chase was one of the main offenders that people latched on to, and his notes about not wanting to talk about the past during Congressional hearings made him look foolish.
His swagger and eyes on the ball as he hit home runs are what get him on the list, though he was not quite as bad as the other two faces of record-setting home run seasons.
12. Albert Belle
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A man who could hop right onto a list of most hated players as well, Albert Belle was someone who never seemed to get along with anyone. He had plenty of talent, and he knew it, but he seemed bitter and had temper issues even in his minor league days.
The fact that he put a provision in his White Sox contract demanding to be one of the three highest-paid players is very cocky indeed, and he's not a guy who I would have given that to at all.
11. Gary Sheffield
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Gary Sheffield was one of the greats of the past 20 years, hitting 500 home runs and nearly reaching 3,000 hits, but aside from the steroid issues, his cocky attitude has gotten him into trouble.
Sheffield refused to participate in the first World Baseball Classic, noting that the season occurred just when he got paid. It showed that he's in it for the money and fame rather than for the game, and his attitude carried over onto the diamond.
10. Phenomenal Smith
John Francis "Phenomenal" Smith is by far the least accomplished player on this list, but is definitely one of the most arrogant. In 1885, the 20-year-old noted that he was so good he could win games single-handedly without needing a team.
The result was that the Brooklyn Grays committed 14 errors in his next start to prove a point, and he was shipped to the Philadelphia Athletics later that season.
9. Roger Clemens
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Roger Clemens is another one of those guys whose steroid use turned him into someone who has become bigger than the game. He was someone who knew he was great and just seemed to shrug off that issue.
The result is now that he could be facing perjury and other charges, though who knows how long the trial will go on, or restart for that matter.
8. Dave Parker
The only thing bigger than Dave Parker is his ego. He said that himself back in the 70s for Sports Illustrated, and that attitude is what he carried with him throughout his career.
Parker definitely had talent and put up great numbers in his career, but people remember him for his role in the Pittsburgh drug trials and his attitude, and as a result his Hall of Fame candidacy failed to gain traction.
7. Sammy Sosa
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Another face of the steroid era, Sammy Sosa bulked up into a slugger and hit 60 home runs three times. He also dodged the steroid questions at the Congressional hearings and had no problem admiring the home runs he hits.
Despite the cloud that's above all the power hitters of the time, after his retirement Sosa mentioned that he would wait for his induction, thinking it would be a sure thing in his mind.
6. Ty Cobb
Aside from being perhaps the most mean-spirited player to play the game, Ty Cobb knew he was one of the greatest, and treated himself as such. He had no problem taking out other players with his cleats, and lashed out against the players that came after him.
Yes, he considered himself great even as players like Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and like were at their peak.
5. Reggie Jackson
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The Reggie Jackson/George Steinbrenner/Billy Marin situation is rather confusing to those that weren't there watching it unfold. Any way you slice it though, Jackson does come off as a player who knows he's one of the greats.
He helped bring the Yankees to the World Series and established himself as a postseason great, but his arrogance did carry over. He was a key figure in the Bronx Zoo for a reason, after all.
4. Barry Bonds
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Like many others in the steroid era, Barry Bonds had many inflated stats and liked to admire his home runs, and players flat out refused to pitch to him late in his career. When it comes to cockiness, however, Bonds definitely has that.
Late in his career, and after his retirement, he posted himself all over the place, including having his own reality TV show Bonds on Bonds. If that's not cocky then I would be hard-pressed to find what is.
3. Alex Rodriguez
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When you get the two richest contracts in baseball, you're going to have a massively inflated ego, and that's what happened with Alex Rodriguez.
He still plays great baseball in spite of the contract being impossible to live up to, but he carries himself as one of the best hitters in baseball. That's appropriate for the regular season, but he's not a guy that can call himself a good postseason player in the slightest.
2. Manny Ramirez
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Manny being Manny; need we say more? He was considered a carefree person early in his career, but that turned into entitlement and aloofness. The mental gaffe when he grabbed a cutoff throw from a Red Sox left fielder is just one example of that.
His personality and lack of concentration always made it look like he put himself first. There's no question he was a great hitter, but his ego got in the way especially late in his career.
1. Rickey Henderson
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Rickey Henderson speaks of himself in the third person, called himself the greatest of all time, had one of the most unique personalities in the game and had an ego to match. He was a great ballplayer, and he would remind you if you were unaware of that.
It would be very difficult to find another athlete who could match Henderson's personality, or even come close. He's a no-brainer for the top spot.