Of course, the top spot goes to Cobb.
He was the first superstar athlete. He also was the first athlete people loved to hate.
He possessed a fiery temper, a win-at-all-costs nature, and frequently toyed with the minds of both opposing players and fans. Cobb's off-the-field incidents need not be mentioned. His proclivity to sharpen his spikes before each game is testament to why he was a hated man.
In spite of all this, Cobb is one the greatest baseball players and one of the finest athletes the nation has ever seen. His 12 batting titles, 4,191 hits and career .367 batting average support this. He was the epitome of a five-tool player before the phrase had entered baseball nomenclature. Cobb is rare in the fact that he was the most dominant player in his sport for the majority of his 21-year career.
But enough about his greatness. What about the bada--?
Stealing three consecutive bases was a regular thing for Cobb, as was winning a batting title, starting a fight on the field and fighting an opposing fan. Its debatable whether Cobb was as big as a brute as history has him out to be. One thing is for sure. He was a true bada--, and the first in the history of American sports.