50 Most Quotable Figures in Baseball History
In the annals of baseball history, there have been scores of figures connected with the game who have regaled fans and members of the media with their fine gift of gab.
Some of the figures have been superstars, some have been complementary players, and still others have been not-so terrific players who became managers. Some have even been members of the media themselves, either in the broadcast booth or in print.
Whatever their place has been in the great American pastime, they have all become among the most quotable figures in MLB history.
Note: Many of the quotes have been pulled from a collection of sources on the web, including Baseball Almanac.
In 1977, Cincinnati Reds outfielder George Foster hit 52 home runs, becoming the only major leaguer to hit 50 home runs in a season in a 25-year period (1965-1990). His efforts won him the National League MVP.
The following year, Foster hit another 40 home runs to pace the NL once again. However, he was not totally enamored with the art of hitting home runs.
I don't know why people like the home run so much. A home run is over as soon as it starts...The triple is the most exciting play of the game. A triple is like meeting a woman who excites you, spending the evening talking and getting more excited, then taking her home. It drags on and on. You're never sure how it's going to turn out.
Foster was the 10th player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs in a single season when he did it.
During his Major League Baseball career, Tim McCarver became famous for being the catcher for two Hall of Fame pitchers—Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton.
Of Gibson, McCarver once said, "Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher in baseball. He is always pitching when the other team doesn't score any runs."
And of Carlton, he said:
"When I played for other teams against Steve (Carlton), I could hear the right handed hitters saying, `He may have gotten me out but at least he didn't throw me the slider.'"
When Steve (Carlton)and I die, we are going to be buried in the same cemetery, sixty feet, six inches apart."
Few broadcasters in baseball history called games with the flair of Hall of Fame play-by-play man Harry Caray.
Known for his many years calling games for the Chicago Cubs, Caray was realistic when talking about his team, saying, "What does a mama bear on the pill have in common with the World Series? No Cubs."
Caray also didn't hold back when discussing certain players and plays. He'd say things like "Aw, how could he (Jorge Orta) lose the ball in the sun, he's from Mexico." Sometimes he might say, "High pop fly. That wouldn't be a home run in a phone booth!"
The Baseball Hall of Fame awarded Los Angeles Times sportswriter Jim Murray with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in 1987 for his contributions to the game of baseball through his words. Murray also won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for articles written in 1989.
Murray chastised himself for winning the Pulitzer Prize, saying at the time that the winner should have "to bring down a government or expose major graft or give advice to prime ministers. Correctly quoting Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda shouldn't merit a Pulitzer Prize."
Murray also had his own outlook on the game of baseball.
Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire's eye or on the ball.
Murray also responded to baseball being boring at times. He once said, "The charm of baseball is that, dull as it may be on the field, it is endlessly fascinating as a rehash."
Murray wrote for the Los Angeles Times from 1961 to 1998.
Joe Garagiola spent many decades in the sport that he loved, first as a catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals, and later as a broadcaster. He spent almost 30 years with NBC calling games with the likes of Curt Gowdy, Vin Scully and Tony Kubek.
Garagiola was known to have a quick wit. He once said of his career, "It's not a record, but being traded four times when there are only eight teams in the league tells you something. I thought I was modeling uniforms for the National League."
On another occasion as a broadcaster, Garagiola figured out how one particular future Hall of Fame pitcher figured things out, "Nolan Ryan is pitching much better now that he has his curve ball straightened out."
Willie "Pops" Stargell was well-known for being the inspirational leader of the Pittsburgh Pirates, especially during their "We Are Family" campaign of 1979 that saw them become World Series champions.
Stargell could also be a man of words as well.
"I love September, especially when we're in it," as quoted in "Heavy Hitters" by Bill Gutman.
"It's supposed to be fun, the man says 'Play Ball' not 'Work Ball' you know," as quoted in "Late Innings" by Roger Angell.
"Trying to hit him (Sandy Koufax) was like trying to drink coffee with a fork," he once said.
Whitey Herzog was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2010 for his expertise as a manager, guiding the Kansas City Royals to three straight AL West Division championships from 1976 to 1978 and taking the St. Louis Cardinals to three World Series during the 1980s, winning it all in 1982.
Herzog was also quick-witted, and had no problem laughing at himself at times. He said, "Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it."
At other times, he was realistic about his team's chances. He once said, "We need just two players to be a contender. Just Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax."
He also said, "We need three kinds of pitching: left handed, right handed, and relief."
Whitey also knew what he most needed from his team. He once said, "If you don't have outstanding relief pitching, you might as well piss on the fire and call the dogs."
Hall of Fame center fielder Richie Ashburn spent his glory days with the Philadelphia Phillies, helping the "Whiz Kids" make it to the World Series in 1950.
Ashburn also had a silver tongue with respect to the game he so loved. He once said, "I had a good look at the first pitch I ever saw from (Don) Drysdale. If I had not ducked, it would have hit my right between the eyes."
He also said things like, "I wish I'd known early what I had to learn late, " and "This is the only town (Houston) where woman wear insect repellent instead of perfume."
There should be no question in anyone's mind that Rogers Hornsby was one of the greatest second baseman in the history of baseball. His career batting average of .358 is second all-time to Ty Cobb, and was a two-time MVP in the National League.
Hornsby himself wasn't shy in telling people exactly how good he was, either, saying, "I don't like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
As for the other sport that many other baseball players enjoy, Hornsby was unimpressed, saying, "I don't want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to go chase it."
Pete Rose, one of the greatest players in baseball history, received a lifetime ban for allegedly gambling on baseball while as a player and manager for the Cincinnati Reds. After over a decade of denial, Rose finally admitted what everyone suspected in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2007. He said:
I bet on my team every night. I didn't bet on my team four nights a week. I bet on my team to win every night because I loved my team, I believed in my team. I did everything in my power every night to win that game.
Rose hoped the admission would improve his chances of reinstatement, and thus give him a chance at the Hall of Fame, but he remains in baseball’s doghouse.
Rose had a bit of a prickly relationship with the media, as seen by this remark.
"I haven't missed a game in two-and-a-half years. I go to the park as sick as a dog and, when I see my uniform hanging there, I get well right now. Then I see some of you guys (media) and I get sick again."
And, of course, Rose had no qualms in speaking of his own talents.
"I told him (Pete Rose, Jr.) who to watch. I said if you want to be a catcher, watch Johnny Bench. If you want to be a right-handed power hitter, watch Mike Schmidt. If you just want to be a hitter, watch me."
Throughout his stellar career with the New York Yankees, southpaw Lefty Gomez was the ace of the staff, selected to seven straight All-Star teams and helping to guide the Bronx Bombers to five World Series championships.
While Gomez was well known for his lively arm, he was equally as known for his lively wit.
Some of his more notable quotes:
"Hell, Lou (Gehrig) it took fifteen years to get you out of a game. Sometimes I'm out in fifteen minutes."
"I want to thank all my teammates who scored so many runs and Joe DiMaggio, who ran down so many of my mistakes."
"I was the worst hitter ever. I never even broke a bat until last year when I was backing out of the garage."
"The secret of my success was clean living and a fast outfield."
One of the most feared pitchers in the majors during the 1960s and early 1970s, Bob Gibson was not only feared by hitters, but at times feared by teammates as well.
Gibson was never afraid to show hitters that home plate was his domain, and that he was there to win at all costs.
"I've played a couple of hundred games of tic-tac-toe with my little daughter and she hasn't beaten me yet. I've always had to win. I've got to win."
"When I knocked a guy down, there was no second part to the story."
Gibson was also not afraid to share his beliefs on other topics as well.
"Why do I have to be an example for your kid? You be an example for your own kid."
"I had one of those faces you look at it, man, and say, 'Man he's an ass-hole.' Could be, depends on if you pissed me off or not."
In a career that has spanned eight decades, Jerry Coleman has delighted fans in a number of ways—first as a second baseman for the New York Yankees for nine seasons, as a manager for the San Diego Padres and as a Hall of Fame play-by-play man for the Yankees and Padres.
Coleman has also delighted fans and media alike with a variety of off-handed remarks as well during his days in the booth.
"And Kansas is at Chicago tonight or is it Chicago at Kansas City? Well, no matter as Kansas leads in the eighth four-to-four."
"Enos Cabell started out here with the Astros and before that he was with the Orioles."
"He slides into second with a stand up double."
"(Willie) McCovey swings and misses, and it's fouled back."
"There's someone warming up in the bullpen, but he's obscured by his number."
Ever since the San Francisco Giants burst onto the national scene with their fabulous postseason run in 2010 that led to their first World Series title in 56 years, closer Brian Wilson has been constantly in the news, not just for his closing abilities but for his quirky personality as well.
Wilson has quickly become a darling of the media, who continually wait to see what will be next out of his mouth. Here are just some of the more well-known colloquialisms of the past couple of years.
“Too much awesome on my feet.”
“I tried to let runners on it didn’t happen, I had a fallout, strikeout, and I don’t know I blacked out I didn’t really know what happened.”
“I do have a schooner, it’s double parked out front, I have fifteen minutes until I get a ticket.”
“I wanted to closely relate to a seaman… not com’n not that kind of seamen folks, that’s a tough costume to pull off, friend of mine did it seven Halloweens ago.”
He wanted to become known as the greatest hitter who ever lived. And to some, he was.
Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams was certainly all that and more. A .344 lifetime hitter, Williams was literally obsessed with hitting, even for decades after he retired.
Williams had a testy relationship with the Boston media over the years, but he was nonetheless sought after for his comments.
"A man has to have goals - for a day, for a lifetime - and that was mine, to have people say, 'There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived." Source: My Turn at Bat (Ted Williams, Fireside Publishers, 03/15/1988)
"If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me." Source: My Turn at Bat (Ted Williams, Fireside Publishers, 03/15/1988, Page 8)
"All managers are losers, they are the most expendable pieces of furniture on the face of the Earth.'' Source: Forbes Magazine (Volume 174, Issues 6-13, Page 248)
Much like Jerry Coleman before him on this list, Ralph Kiner enjoyed a tremendous career on the playing field before making his mark in the broadcast booth.
Kiner played for ten seasons before injuries took their toll, and has been working as a broadcaster for the New York Mets since their expansion season, 1962. While limited to just occasional appearances now at the age of 89, Kiner is legendary for many famous quotes as well.
"All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium."
"If Casey Stengel were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave."
"Kevin McReynolds stops at third and he scores."
"(Don) Sutton lost thirteen games in a row without winning a ballgame."
"The reason the Mets have played so well at Shea this year is they have the best home record in baseball."
Sounds like Kiner hung around a little too long with Yogi Berra.
Andy Van Slyke
Center fielder Andy Van Slyke enjoyed a very nice major league career, most notably with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, earning five Gold Glove awards and three All-Star selections.
Van Slyke was also known for his dry and biting wit.
"I have an Alka Seltzer bat. You know, plop plop fizz fizz. When the pitcher sees me walking up there they say, 'Oh what a relief it is.'"
"They wanted me to play third like Brooks (Robinson) so I did play like Brooks - Mel Brooks."
"With the Cardinals everybody would be reading the business section to see what their stocks were doing. You get to this locker room (Pirates) in the morning and everybody is looking at the sports page to see if Hulk Hogan won."
Throughout his career, first baseman Dick Stuart was known as a good hitter, but was equally well-known for being not such a good fielder. Dr. Strangeglove was the name he carried throughout his career.
Stuart himself was not afraid to talk about his defensive inefficiency.
"One night in Pittsburgh, thirty-thousand fans gave me a standing ovation when I caught a hot dog wrapper on the fly."
And, what could be called a parody to a more famous quote by Ted Williams:
"I want to walk down the street and hear them say, 'Jesus, there goes Dick Stuart.'"
One of the last players in baseball to seriously challenge the .400 mark in hitting along with Tony Gwynn, George Brett was without a doubt one of the best hitters in baseball history. With 13 All-Star appearances, one MVP Award and one batting title in each of three decades, Brett's skills on the field are beyond reproach.
At times, what came out of Brett's mouth was beyond reproach as well.
"A woman will be elected President before Wade Boggs is called out on strikes. I guarantee that."
"He (Jamie Quirk) looks like a greyhound, but he runs like a bus."
"If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out."
"If I stay healthy, I have a chance to collect 3,000 hits and 1,000 errors."
And of course, in 1980, when the Royals were playing the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, Brett's problems with hemorrhoids became an issue. After minor surgery to deal with his issue after Game 2, Brett homered in Game 3. When asked about his hemorrhoids after the game, Brett quipped, "My problems are all behind me."
While Dale Berra never quite gained the baseball acumen achieved by that of his more famous father, Yogi, he did in fact gain a bit of his father's gift of garbled gab.
When talking about his dad, Berra said:
"You can't compare me to my father (Yogi Berra). Our similarities are different."
Dick Allen collected 351 home runs during his 15-year career which also included a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP Award in 1972 with the Chicago White Sox.
Allen was also known for saying exactly what was on his mind, damn the consequences.
"If a horse won't eat it, I don't want to play on it."
"I'll play first, third, left. I'll play anywhere — except Philadelphia."
"I once loved this game. But after being traded four times, I realized that it's nothing but a business. I treat my horses better than the owners treat us. It's a shame they've destroyed my love for the game."
"I wish they'd shut the gates, and let us play ball with no press and no fans."
It's say to say that Allen didn't have a public relations staff.
During his spectacular 14-year career during which he won 209 games and set a National League with 154 hit batsmen, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Don Drysdale was easily one of the most feared and dominant pitchers during the 1960s.
For his part, Drysdale had no problem talking about the fear he instilled in hitters.
"If they knocked two of your guys down, I'd get four. You have to protect your hitters."
"I hate all hitters. I start a game mad and I stay that way until it's over."
"The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid, and if he is timid, he has to remind the hitter he's timid."
Throughout the 1930s, Dizzy Dean dazzled with his amazing array of pitches, winning 30 games in 1934 and 28 the following season.
Dean was also quick with a jibe or retort or anything comical whenever it came to mind. But most of all, he was known for his braggadocio.
"Anybody who's ever had the privilege of seeing me play knows that I am the greatest pitcher in the world."
"If Satch (Paige) and I were pitching on the same team, we would clinch the pennant by July fourth and go fishing until World Series time."
"It ain't braggin' if you can back it up."
"Mr. Rickey, I'll put more people in the park than anybody since Babe Ruth."
Former reliever Larry Andersen is probably more well-known as an answer to a trivia question than anything else.
Andersen was the man traded to the Boston Red Sox by the Houston Astros for prospect third baseman Jeff Bagwell in August 1990.
Andersen was also a man prone to random inane thoughts.
"Why do you sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game when you're already there?"
"You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever."
When commenting about the shrinking lead of his Phillies' team in 1993, Andersen said:
"We're still in the driver's seat. We just lost our map."
During the 31-year managerial career of John McGraw with the New York Giants, he demanded greatness and maintained a no-nonsense attitude during his tenure. Ten pennants and three World Series titles later, McGraw is known as one of the finest managers in major league history.
McGraw was also a highly sought-after man by the media for his no-nonsense quotes as well.
"In playing or managing, the game of ball is only fun for me when I'm out in front and winning. I don't give a hill of beans for the rest of the game."
"No club that wins a pennant once is an outstanding club. One which bunches two pennants is a good club. But a team which can win three in a row really achieves greatness."
"One percent of ballplayers are leaders of men. The other ninety-nine percent are followers of women."
"The way to get a ball past (Honus) Wagner is to hit it eight feet over his head."
When George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees in 1973, no one could have known at the time the changes that would occur in baseball with George at the helm of the Bronx Bombers.
Obsessed with obtaining excellence on the field, he did just that, helping to usher in the era of free agency with his many signings over the years, leading to seven World Series titles during his reign.
Steinbrenner wasn't afraid to say exactly what was on his mind, either, to the delight of the New York press.
"I am dead set against free agency. It can ruin baseball."
"I will never have a heart attack. I give them."
"I'm really 95 percent Mr. Rogers, and only 5 percent Oscar the Grouch."
Slugger Barry Bonds certainly represents a polarizing figure in baseball.
With the single-season and career home run records along with seven MVP Awards, Bonds was without question a player of great skill.
To say that Bonds was prickly with the press, however, would be akin to saying that Ted Williams was not fond of the Boston media. Both statements are vastly understated.
However, it didn't stop the press from lining up to hear what Bonds had to say.
"It's called talent. I just have it. I can't explain it. You either have it or you don't."
"I was born to hit a baseball. I can hit a baseball."
"My career is an open book, but my life is not.”
"I like to be against the odds. I'm not afraid to be lonely at the top. With me, it's just the satisfaction of the game. Just performance."
After allegations surfaced that Bonds was allegedly using PEDs, the media came calling. And Bonds came out fighting.
"Can you get my son [on camera) too, just not on me? So you guys can show the pain you're causing my whole family." Quote Source: MLB.com, Mar. 23, 2004
"You wanted me to jump off the bridge; I finally have jumped. You wanted to bring me down, you've finally brought me and my family down. You've finally done it. So now go kick a different person. I'm done. I'll do the best I can and that's about it. [I'm talking about] inner hurt. I'm physically, mentally done. I'm mentally drained. Tired of my kids crying." Quote Source: MLB.com, Mar. 23, 2004
“All you guys lied! All of y'all and the story have lied. Should you have asterisks behind your name? All of you lied. All of you have said something wrong. All of you have dirt. When your closet's clean, then come clean somebody else's." Quote Source: USA Today, Feb. 22, 2005
"I don't know if steroids are going to help you in baseball. I just don't believe it. I don't believe steroids can help eye-hand coordination [and] technically hit a baseball." Quote Source: USA Today, Feb. 22, 2005
In a 17-year career played mostly with the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians, infielder Toby Harrah apparently didn't think much about looking at his statistics.
However he did have his own analogy of what statistics were, in his mind.
"Statistics are like a girl in a fine bikini. It shows a lot, but it doesn't show everything."
Harrah obviously said this before sabermetrics were introduced.
At various times during his storied career as an owner and "promoter" of sorts, Bill Veeck owned the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.
Veeck was also a man unafraid to share his thoughts about anything and everything.
"Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off."
"I try not to break the rules but merely to test their elasticity."
"Look, we play the Star Spangled Banner before every game. You want us to pay income taxes, too?"
What can I do, I asked myself, that is so spectacular that no one will be able to say he had seen it before? The answer was perfectly obvious. I would send a midget up to bat."
Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson passed away in 2010, one of only two managers who have ever won World Series titles in both the American and National League along with the recently retired Tony LaRussa.
Anderson had a way of getting the most out of his players, both in Cincinnati and in Detroit. Anderson also had a unique way of looking at the game of baseball, and life.
"He wants to do so good so bad."
"I can't believe they pay us to play baseball - something we did for free as kids."
"I don't believe a manager ever won a pennant. Casey Stengel won all those pennants with the Yankees. How many did he win with the Boston Braves and Mets? I've never seen a team win a pennant without players. I think the only thing the manager has to do is keep things within certain boundaries."
"I don't know why the players make such a big fuss about sitting in the first class section of the plane. Does that mean they'll get there faster?"
"If I ever find a pitcher who has heat, a good curve, and a slider, I might seriously consider marrying him, or at least proposing."
For years after writing his controversial book Ball Four, former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton was blacklisted by baseball insiders for releasing the inner workings of a baseball clubhouse and what was said behind those "hallowed" walls.
In spite of newspaper beat writers who had covered teams for decades and had not ever published what players said or did behind the clubhouse walls other than what happened in the actual baseball games themselves, Bouton turned the tables on what had previously been considered off-limits.
Here are just a few of the controversial things that Bouton had to say.
"For a hundred years, the owners screwed the players. For 25 years, the players have screwed the owners—they've got 75 years to go."
"They call baseball a game because it's too screwed up to be a business."
"Jim Pagliaroni joined the club tonight and is going to be a welcome addition. He was describing a girl that one of the ballplayers had been out with and said, “It’s hard to say exactly what she looked like. She was kind of Joe Torre with tits.” This joke can only be explained with a picture of Joe Torre. But I’m not sure any exist. He dissolves camera lenses."
"Right before the plane landed, the guys were telling stories about how much we’d been getting on the road. And as we were getting ready to leave the plane and dash into the loving arms of our waiting wives, Pagliaroni said, very loud, “Okay, all you guys, act horny.”
Source: Ball Four
When Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker sat down with Sports Illustrated for a candid interview, Sports Illustrated got a whole lot more than candid comments from Rocker. When asked whether or not he would ever play in New York, Rocker did not hold back.
"I would retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing."
On New York City itself:
"The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
If former catcher and current broadcaster Bob Uecker hadn't fashioned such a successful career in baseball, he should have seriously considered stand-up comedy.
But then again, he wouldn't have had all the material that he obtained during his years toiling away as a career backup.
"Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets."
"If a guy hits .300 every year, what does he have to look forward to? I always tried to stay around .190, with three or four RBI. And I tried to get them all in September. That way I always had something to talk about during the winter."
"I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn't have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up."
"The highlight of my career? In '67 with St. Louis, I walked with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run in an intersquad game in spring training."
"They said I was such a great prospect that they were sending me to a winter league to sharpen up. When I stepped off the plane, I was in Greenland."
While Hall of Famer Ty Cobb is considered to be on the best players in MLB history, he was also one of the most hated.
Cobb himself knew of his own reputation, but was undeterred.
"I had to fight all my life to survive. They were all against me, but I beat the bastards and left them in the ditch." Source: The Early Years (Harold Seymour, 1989)
Even in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, actor Ray Liotta, portraying former player Shoeless Joe Jackson, had this to say while in the corn fields.
“Ty Cobb wanted to play...but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!”
Some other memorable Cobb quotes:
"I never could stand losing. Second place didn't interest me. I had a fire in my belly."
"The base paths belonged to me, the runner. The rules gave me the right. I always went into a bag full speed, feet first. I had sharp spikes on my shoes. If the baseman stood where he had no business to be and got hurt, that was his fault."
"To get along with me, don't increase my tension."
Southpaw Bill "Spaceman" Lee enjoyed a 14-year career in the majors, most notably with the Boston Red Sox, where he was a three-time winner of 17 games between 1973 and 1975.
Lee was also known to give sportswriters plenty of fodder during his playing days.
"Hell, if KY jelly went off the market, the whole California Angels pitching staff would be out of baseball."
"I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won't matter if I get this guy out."
"I would change policy, bring back natural grass and nickel beer. Baseball is the belly-button of our society. Straighten out baseball, and you straighten out the rest of the world."
"The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties I tested everything."
During the 17-year managerial career of Earl Weaver, all spent with the Baltimore Orioles (1968–1982; 1985–1986), he won four pennants and one World Series championship, retiring with 1,480 victories overall.
Weaver was legendary for his battles against umpires during his career, but he was also legendary with his tongue as well.
"A manager's job is simple. For one hundred sixty-two games you try not to screw up all that smart stuff your organization did last December."
"Every time I fail to smoke a cigarette between innings, the opposition will score."
"I never got many questions about my managing. I tried to get twenty-five guys who didn't ask questions."
"The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers."
Satchel Paige made history when he finally debuted in the majors with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the oldest rookie in MLB history at the age of 42.
By the time he finally stepped on an MLB diamond in 1948, however, Paige was already legendary for his pitching skills. But he was also legendary for his mouth.
"I ain't ever had a job, I just always played baseball."
"I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation."
"I use my single windup, my double windup, my triple windup, my hesitation windup, my no windup. I also use my step-n-pitch-it, my submariner, my sidearmer, and my bat dodger. Man's got to do what he's got to do."
"My pitching philosophy is simple - keep the ball way from the bat."
Gary Sheffield played the first four years of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers before departing for the San Diego Padres. When asked about his experiences playing for the Brewers, let's just say Sheffield did not have warm and fuzzy feelings.
"The Brewers brought out the hate in me. I was a crazy man...I hated everything about the place. If the official scorer gave me an error, I didn't think was an error, I'd say, 'OK, here's a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose.' "
Then, in 2007, Gary Sheffield sat down for an interview with GQ Magazine, and when asked about his thoughts concerning the apparent decrease in the percentage of African-Americans playing in Major League Baseball, Sheffield brought a whole other group of people into the fray.
“What I called is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out...(It’s about) being able to tell (Latin players) what to do—being able to control them,” he told the magazine. “Where I’m from, you can’t control us.”
In expanding on his comment about control, Sheffield said, “They have more to lose than we do. You can send them back across the island. You can’t send us back. We’re already here.”
“So there are a lot of factors involved you look at. I’m not saying you can tell them what to do and it’ll be ’yes sir’ and ’no sir.’ I’m just saying from a grand scheme of things.”
Wow, Gary. Way to bring down a whole ethnic group. Nice.
During his 25-year career, Rickey Henderson stole 1,406 bases, a record likely to never be touched.
While Rickey was stealing all those bases, he also let everyone know around him how terrific he really was.
"Lou Brock was a great base stealer but today I am the greatest."
"It gave me no chance. He (Nolan Ryan) just blew it (strikeout #5,000) by me. But its an honor. I'll have another paragraph in all the baseball books. I'm already in the books three or four times."
In 2012, Ozzie Guillen will begin his ninth season as a manager, his first with the Miami Marlins.
During his eight years in Chicago, Ozzie was well-documented. Literally.
Ozzie rants become commonplace, his Twitter account exploded, and reporters everywhere clamored to hear what Guillen would say next.
"I'm the Charlie Sheen of baseball without the drugs and a prostitute."
"In the '80s and '90s, people made a lot of money and built houses. The first thing they put in their houses was a gym. In my house, the first thing I built was a bar. The second thing I built was another bar."
"I'm not a quitter. When I want to quit, I'll do a lot of stupid things and make sure they fire me and get paid."
One thing Ozzie can't get away from is trips to Wrigley Field, a place he doesn't exactly call home:
"I puke every time I go there."
During his incredible career with the New York Yankees, first baseman Lou Gehrig was a quiet leader, and lead he did.
Gehrig is third all-time in slugging percentage (.632), fifth all-time in on-base percentage (.447), and third all-time in OPS (1.0798).
Gehrig was very soft-spoken throughout his career, preferring to lead on the field. However, when he did speak, everyone listened.
"I'm not a headline guy. I know that as long as I was following (Babe) Ruth to the plate I could have stood on my head and no one would have known the difference."
"It's a pretty big shadow (Babe Ruth's) - it gives me lots of room to spread myself."
"The ballplayer who loses his head, who can't keep his cool, is worse than no ballplayer at all."
"There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all."
If there was one common theme to the overall game of Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt, it was passion. That passion led to 548 HR, three NL MVP Awards, 10 Gold Glove Awards and 12 All-Star appearances.
Schmidt wasn't afraid to talk about issues regarding Philly, his game or anything that he felt passionately about at the time.
On Philly itself:
"If you're associated with the Philadelphia media or town, you look for negatives. I don't know if there's something about their upbringing or they have too many hoagies, or too much cream cheese."
"Philadelphia is the only city, where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.""They read their sports pages, know their statistics and either root like hell or boo our butts off. I love it. Give me vocal fans, pro or con, over the tourist types who show up in Houston or Montreal and just sit there."
About his style of play:
"If you could equate the amount of time and effort put in mentally and physically into succeeding on the baseball field and measured it by the dirt on your uniform, mine would have been black."
"Pete Rose is the most likable arrogant person I've ever met."
As a quality reliever in the majors for 19 seasons with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, Tug McGraw befuddled batters on a regular basis, retiring with a lifetime 3.14 ERA and 180 saves.
McGraw was also a complete cutup for both teams as well.
When asked by a reporter if he preferred grass or Astroturf, McGraw replied, "I dunno. I never smoked any Astroturf."
When talking about what young ballplayers should be focusing on, McGraw said, "Kids should practice autographing baseballs. This is a skill that's often overlooked in Little League."
When asked about the state of his body, McGraw said, "I have no trouble with the twelve inches between my elbow and my palm. It's the seven inches between my ears that's bent."
And finally, when asked about his lifestyle, McGraw said, "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste."
Just the mere mention of the name Babe Ruth congers up images that are legendary. Still one of the most recognized names in the world even 59 years after his death, Ruth is an American icon in professional sports.
Ruth was also legendary in terms of his relationship with his fans and with the media, and he rarely disappointed with what he had to say.
"Don't ever forget two things I'm going to tell you. One, don't believe everything that's written about you. Two, don't pick up too many checks."
"Gee, its lonesome in the outfield. It's hard to keep awake with nothing to do."
"I'd play for half my salary if I could hit in this dump (Wrigley Field) all the time."
"If it wasn't for baseball, I'd be in either the penitentiary or the cemetery."
"Just one (superstition). Whenever I hit a home run, I make certain I touch all four bases."
There may have been no manager in baseball history who was fired more times than Billy Martin, and that was just by one team alone.
Martin, who actually managed five different teams during his career (Twins, Rangers, Tigers, Athletics, Yankees) was fired five times by the Yankees alone. At times, it was Martin's mouth that got him canned. Martin himself was well aware of his short-tempered ways.
"All I know is (as a Yankees Manager), I pass people on the street these days, and they don't know whether to say hello or to say good-bye."
Other notable Martin quotes:
"I'm getting smarter, I finally punched something that couldn't sue me."
"If they can win (the pennant) with that club (1973 Milwaukee Brewers), I'm a Chinese aviator."
"The only real way to know you've been fired is when you arrive at the ballpark and find your name has been scratched from the parking list."
During a managing career that spanned five decades, Leo "The Lip" Durocher earned a reputation as a hard-nosed leader, winning three pennants, one World Series title and just over 2,000 victories.
Durocher's mouth often got him in trouble with umpires, earning 95 ejections during his career. It was that mouth that puts Durocher on this list.
"Buy a steak for a player on another club after the game, but don't even speak to him on the field. Get out there and beat them to death."
"God watches over drunks and third baseman."
"I don't care if the guy (Jackie Robinson) is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a god-damn zebra. I'm the manager of this team and I say he plays."
"I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes."
"Show me a good loser in professional sports, and I'll show you an idiot."
When Hank Aaron was approaching Babe Ruth's long-standing career home run record in early April 1974, the entire world was captivated with the chase.
Al Downing's pitch to Aaron on April 8 was sent by Aaron into the left field bullpen area at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for home run number 715, finally surpassing Ruth and into the record books.
Aaron was widely regarded as one of the best all-around players in baseball history, amassing 755 home runs altogether along with 3,771 hits, a .305 batting average and is the all-time leader in RBI (2,297) and extra-base hits (1,477).
Aaron, much like Lou Gehrig before him on this list, was not considered to be vocal, allowing his bat to do the talking. However, again like Gehrig, when Aaron talked, people tuned in.
"I don't want them to forget (Babe) Ruth, I just want them to remember me!"
"The pitcher has got only a ball. I've got a bat. So the percentage in weapons is in my favor and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting."
"I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That's when you've got to be serious. When I get out on the field, nothing's a joke to me. I don't feel like I should walk around with a smile on my face."
If you ever wanted to know how special a player Reggie Jackson was, all you had to do was ask him.
"After Jackie Robinson the most important black in baseball history is Reggie Jackson, I really mean that."
"God do I love to hit that little round son-of-a-bitch out of the park and make 'em say 'Wow!'"
"I didn't come to New York to be a star, I brought my star with me."
"I'm the straw that stirs the drink"
"The only reason I don't like playing in the World Series is I can't watch myself play."
That should pretty much sum it up.
New York Yankees catcher and left fielder Yogi Berra has had a life filled with "Yogiisms." While many of the words that came out of his mouth were not controversial by nature, they were irreverent and classic.
Here are just a few that the great Hall of Fame catcher uttered.
"All pitchers are liars or crybabies."
"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."
"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."
"It ain't the heat, it's the humility."
"Ninety percent of this game is half mental."
"So I'm ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.
There may have been no one in baseball quite like the great Casey Stengel.
While Yogi was known for Yogiisms, followers of Casey had to learn Stengelese in order to keep up.
"Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."
"Don't cut my throat, I may want to do that later myself."
"He (Gil Hodges) fields better on one leg than anybody else I got on two."
"I don't know if he throws a spitball but he sure spits on the ball."
"If we're going to win the pennant, we've got to start thinking we're not as good as we think we are."
"It's wonderful to meet so many friends that I didn't used to like."
Mister, that boy couldn't hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane."
"Son, we'd like to keep you around this season but we're going to try and win a pennant."
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.