Most Despised Teammates in Major League Baseball History

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2012

Most Despised Teammates in Major League Baseball History

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    While assembling a group of talented individual players goes a long way towards a team being competitive, how well a team gels and comes together as a group can't be undersold as a reason for success in the MLB.

    Some players hold onto big league jobs long past their prime because they're such an asset in the clubhouse and for team chemistry.

    On the other end of the spectrum, though, there are players with all the talent in the world who for one reason or another can't seem to fit into the confines of the team and its players and hurt the team from a morale standpoint.

    With that in mind, here's a look at the most despised teammates in baseball history, and the reason why they were unpopular with their teammates.

Derek Bell

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    Once a key member of the Astros' "Killer B's," Bell hit free agency at the age of 31 in 2001, and the Mets chose to let him walk as he was clearly on the downside of his career.

    Hoping he still had something left, the Pirates inked the slugger to a two-year, $9.5 million deal. However, after an injury-shortened and highly-ineffective first season, Bell made waves in spring training prior to the 2002 season.

    Upon learning that he would be competing for a starting job, Bell refused to be a part of it, stating that he hadn't competed for a spot since his rookie year and wouldn't do so now, choosing instead to go into "Operation Shutdown" as he called it. By the end of March, he was released, and he would never play in the majors again.

Rogers Hornsby

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    Considered by many to be the greatest second baseman of all time, Hornsby ended his career with a stat line of .358 BA, 301 HR, 1,584 RBI and a pair of MVP awards to his credit.

    He spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Cardinals, but bounced around a bit after that playing for the Giants, Braves, Cubs, Cardinals again and Browns over the final 11 years of his career, despite the fact that he was still among the most productive players in the league.

    His reason for bouncing around was his inability to get along with teammates and management alike, a trend that continued on into his days as a manager, as he was considered by many to be as mean and nasty as Ty Cobb and he seemed to want little to do with his teammates.

Carl Everett

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    Over his 14-year career, Carl Everett put together a line of .271 BA, 202 HR, 792 RBI as he was a two-time All-Star.

    Always outspoken about his beliefs, Everett claimed that there was no such thing as dinosaurs and called fossils man-made fakes. He also claimed the Moon landing was a hoax. Perhaps most controversial, though, were his repeated homophobic remarks.

    While all of those things made him one of the most hated players in the league, it was not until he retired that he took it to the next level. Earlier this year, he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after holding a gun to the head of his wife of 18 years.

Nyjer Morgan

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    Whether he is Nyjer Morgan, or his alter ego Tony Plush, the Brewers center fielder is just all-around annoying no matter how you slice it, and there is no way he does not get on his teammates' nerves.

    When a superstar player has fun with the media by creating a persona, a la Clinton Portis, it is great to watch, but when a part-time outfielder who has been at odds with teammates in the past does it, it somehow doesn't have the same effect. 

Jose Guillen

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    Guillen began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, earning the everyday right field job as a 21-year-old and hitting .267 BA, 14 HR, 70 RBI in his first big league seasons sending expectations for his big league career sky high.

    Always a temperamental player, Guillen found himself at odds with Angels manager Mike Scioscia at the end of the 2003 season, and despite a .294 BA, 27 HR, 107 RBI line he was suspended for the final two weeks of the season and the playoffs.

    He later found himself in the middle of the PED controversy, as he was named on the Mitchell Report and later kept off the Giants postseason roster in 2010 when the DEA intercepted a shipment of HGH headed for Guillen.

Luke Scott

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    Politics and baseball are generally two very different things, and what political affiliation a player has generally has little bearing on their playing career. That is unless their political background is that of a crazy person.

    Scott made waves this past December when he revealed in an interview that he was a "birther" or that he is one of those people who believes that President Obama was not born in this country. It is comments like this that transcend conservative and liberal and simply fall into the category of ignorant.

    The Orioles had to ask Scott to keep discussion of his political views reserved to his personal time, and no one was surprised when the team non-tendered him this offseason as he is now a member of the Rays.

Albert Belle

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    With a career line of .295 BA, 381 HR, 1,239 RBI, Albert Belle put together quite a career in his 12 years in the league. He led the league in HRs once and RBI three times as he was a five-time All-Star.

    However, he made more than a few enemies during his career, as he was unpleasant to everyone around him and had a number of run-ins with players and fans alike.

    He fought a fan in the stands who was heckling him, threw a baseball at and struck another fan who was taunting him, got suspended for using a corked bat and then sent a teammate's through the ceiling to retrieve the bat and knocked down Brewers second baseman Fernando Vina while running the bases.

    Off the field, he chased down a group of kids throwing eggs at his house on Halloween and struck one with his car and was arrested for stalking a women in 2006. Quite a list of indiscretions, and it is not hard to see why Belle was so disliked throughout his career.

Shea Hillenbrand

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    Hillenbrand began his big league career in 2001 when he broke into the league and became the Red Sox starting third baseman. A year later he was an All-Star and seemed destined to be a consistent middle-of-the-order producer.

    He was traded to the Diamondbacks for Byung-Hyun Kim and landed in Toronto heading into the 2005 season. Following another All-Star season in 2005, things went south quickly during the 2006 season.

    On July 19th, 2006, Hillenbrand was unhappy with the organization and teammates for not congratulating him on his adoption of a baby girl and not playing him that night. After refusing to join his teammates in the dugout, he got into an altercation with manager John Gibbons after he wrote on the team bulletin board "This is a sinking ship" and "Play for yourself."

    He was released after that game and out of the league the following season at the age of 31 as he was not longer able to find a starting job.

Dick Allen

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    Dick Allen was a superstar on the field and the first African-American star player to take the field in Philadelphia. He put up terrific numbers over his 15-year career with a line of .292 BA, 351 HR, 1,119 RBI.

    While those numbers are arguably Hall of Fame worthy, he never topped the 20 percent mark in voting because he was regularly known as a clubhouse cancer throughout his career.

    He drank before games, fought with teammates, missed games for ridiculous reasons and just in general put himself before his team and teammates.

Jeff Kent

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    The most prolific power-hitting second baseman in big league history, Jeff Kent broke the record previously held by Ryne Sandberg for career home runs by a second baseman. He also took home the 2000 NL MVP Award and was a consistent 20 HR, 100 RBI producer throughout the second half of his career.

    However, he was also a player who consistently had trouble getting along with both his teammates and the media, with all of that boiling over into a dugout fight with Barry Bonds back in 2002.

    The fact that Kent donated $15,000 to proponents of Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in the state of California has also been a cause for controversy.

Ozzie Guillen

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    Guillen was a solid player during his time in the league and has quickly become a terrific player's manager leading the White Sox to a World Series title in 2005 to boot.

    He is also among the most quotable people in all of sports and someone who is never afraid to speak his mind, no matter how profanity-laced and offensive it may be. However, he took that to another level recently when he made remarks supporting Fidel Castro.

    That earned him a five-game suspension, and was followed by what came across as the most sincere apology of his career. Will we see a new Guillen when he returns to the helm of the Marlins? The smart money is on no, but time will tell.

Carlos Zambrano

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    On the surface, Zambrano enjoyed a terrific 11-year run with the Cubs, going 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA and winning double-digit games seven different times.

    However, despite his talent, Zambrano was a consistent headache for the Cubs as he was never able to control his emotions on the mound and that affected his play time and again.

    It went beyond that though, as a physical confrontation in the dugout with Michael Barrett was an all-too-public altercation and just last season he left a particularly poor outing and cleaned out his locker, claiming he retired and leading him to be suspended from the team.

    When Theo Epstein took over the reins in Chicago, one of his first acts was to find a taker for Big Z, moving him to the Marlins where he is now teamed with fellow hot-head Ozzie Guillen.

Reggie Jackson

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    Reggie Jackson is one of the best sluggers to ever play the game, and his postseason heroics earned him the moniker "Mr. October" as a New York Yankee.

    However, there may have never been an ego as big as Jackson's, as he will forever be linked to the "straw that stirs the drink" quote in SPORT magazine.

    And even though he denies ever speaking poorly of his teammates, it was clear that Reggie came first, and everyone else was just enjoying the show when it came to Jackson's career.

Rube Waddell

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    Waddell, a Hall of Fame pitcher who won 193 games as one of the top pitchers at the turn of the century, would not have been allowed anywhere near a baseball field in today's world.

    He would often leave the dugout and chase firetrucks on their way to fires, and he was easily distracted by fans who would wave shiny objects in the stands. But it goes on from there, as he wrestled alligators in the offseason and reportedly forgot how many times he was married.

    He was an admitted alcoholic, and still, and many now speculate that he had either ADD, autism or some form of mental retardation. While he was one of the best pitchers to ever toe the rubber, he was a loose cannon to say the least and far from an ideal teammate.

Rickey Henderson

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    Unquestionably the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader in stolen bases (1,406) and runs scored (2,295), and was a deserving first ballot Hall of Famer.

    However, he had an ego to match his tremendous ability and there was little question that he put himself and his accolades ahead of his team and teammates.

    Nothing tops his disrespect of Lou Brock when he passed him to become the all-time stolen base leader as he said, "Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time."

    Here is a must-read compilation of some of Rickey's greatest hits.

Cap Anson

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    The first player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits, Cap Anson was one of the first real superstars in the MLB as he finished his career with 3,435 hits and a whopping 2,075 RBI, which is good for third-best all time.

    He was also one of the biggest racists in the history of professional sports as he refused to take the field when opposing teams' rosters featured a black player.

    His racism reached much further than his own convictions, though, as he is credited with playing a major role in the eventual segregation of the MLB. While that did not directly effect any of his white teammates, the sum of his actions earns him a spot on this list.

Barry Bonds

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    Destined to be a Hall of Famer, Barry Bonds instead became the face of the steroid era and sullied some of the most hallowed records in all of sports, making him one of the most hated players in all of sports.

    Bonds always had a huge ego, but the fact that he took down the all-time home run record as a cheater shows that he was willing to put his personal accomplishments ahead of the sport itself. With each passing season, Bonds' head grew—both physically and metaphorically.

    He fought with teammates, hated the media and in the end, was forced out of the league when no one was interested in signing him to take on the baggage that comes along with it.

John Rocker

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    John Rocker climbed up through the Atlanta Braves system after being drafted in the 18th round in 1993 to emerge as the team's closer in 1999. He saved 38 games in his first full season and posted an impressive 12.9 K/9 mark.

    For as much talent as Rocker had though, he had twice as much ignorance, and he quickly grew to be one of the most despised athletes in all of professional sports.

    With his constant racist and homophobic remarks, not to mention his penchant for flipping off fans, Rocker soon found himself in a position where no team was willing to sign him.

Manny Ramirez

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    From his ventures into the Fenway Park scoreboard, to his suspension for using a women's fertility drug, and everything in between, he was always just "Manny Being Manny."

    One of the best pure hitters to ever play the game, Manny was known as much for his fantastic hitting as he was for his over-the-top behavior, as every play in left field was an adventure for him, and he often left fans scratching their heads at his latest blunder.

    All his hot-dogging may have been able to be overlooked, but when he quit on the Red Sox before receiving the trade he desperately wanted he went from comical distraction to terrible teammate.

    It will be interesting to see if he can bring anything to the Athletics when he finishes serving his suspension and makes his return to the MLB.

Phenomenal Smith

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    Smith had an unspectacular career, going 54-74 over eight seasons during the late 1800s. However, he got his nickname during the 1885 season when he claimed to his Brooklyn teammates that he was so phenomenal on the mound, he did not need them.

    Not taking kindly to this, his teammates made 14 "errors" behind him in his one start with the team, losing 18-5 and showing "Phenomenal" that he did in fact need the other eight guys to get a win.

Milton Bradley

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    No doubt a talented hitter, Milton Bradley struggled to stay in one place throughout his career because, to put it bluntly, he is the definition of a clubhouse cancer.

    He spent his 12-year career repeatedly being ejected from games, threw a beer bottle back at a fan who threw one at him, tossed a bucket of balls onto the field after being ejected, was asked to leave the Cubs team a month before the season ended and tore his ACL while on the Padres as his coach tried to hold him back from arguing with an umpire.

    Then this past year, he was arrested when he made threats against his wife while they decided to settle outside of court and she has since filed for divorce. All in all, the definition of a jerk and clearly why he is unable to find a job at this point in his career.

Eddie Cicotte

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    The ring leader for the Black Sox scandal, Cicotte was the ace of the White Sox staff in 1919 which meant he had control over the outcome of at least three games of the series. 

    He was also credited with convincing No. 2 starter Claude Williams to get in on the fix, and while the Black Sox scandal is one of the darkest moments in baseball history Cicotte's involvement was in no way surprising.

    During the 1919 regular season, he won 29 games and posted a 1.82 ERA, but he was benched down the stretch once the White Sox had the pennant locked up. The problem with that was that Cicotte had a clause in his contract that called for a $10,000 bonus (his salary was just $6,000) if he won 30 games.

    While that explains his lack of allegiance to the organization, he still burned the White Sox, their fan base, his teammates and the game of baseball with his key involvement in the scandal.

Ty Cobb

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    With a MLB record .366 career batting average, 11 batting titles and 4,189 hits to his credit, Ty Cobb is certainly in the conversation as the greatest hitter in baseball history.

    However, he is also one of the meanest and dirtiest players to ever play the game. He lived and breathed baseball and was willing to do whatever it took to win a game—but he often took it too far.

    From sharpening his spikes to fighting a heckling fan, Cobb was downright nasty. And while he was one of the best, his win-at-all-cost attitude and prickly personality did little to endear himself to fans and fellow players alike.

Pete Rose

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    Pete Rose is among the most controversial figures in all of sports, as one of the best players in history and the all-time hits leader is excluded from the Hall of Fame and banned from baseball for gambling on his team while manager.

    While he finally admitted to betting on baseball in 2004, he denied the allegations for years in a sad (at best) attempt to clear his name and be allowed back in baseball.

    The fact that he played for years as a player-manager, penciling his name in the lineup despite his declining skills while he added to his record hit total shows how strongly he felt about himself. And whether he was betting on the Reds, the fact that he would bring that controversy to the team certainly makes him a terrible teammate.

Hal Chase

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    Chase enjoyed a 15-year career, spending nine of those seasons with the Yankees, and while he was a very good hitter throughout his career he is largely regarded as one of, if not the greatest defensive first baseman of all time.

    However, his legacy as one of the Yankees first true stars was tainted by gambling allegations and his penchant for throwing games he was playing in.

    He was suspended in 1918 for the season when he paid pitcher Jimmy Ring $50 to throw a game, and a formal charge was made against him for throwing games although not enough evidence was found to ban him.

    He was suspended for the season again in 1919 during the stretch run, and eventually banned from baseball for gambling and throwing games, as well as trying to recruit teammates to do the same.

    It is also widely believed that he was used as the go-between for the Black Sox and gamblers, and while it has never been proven he has admitted to knowing about the scandal ahead of time. All in all, he was just a shady character.


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