Boston Red Sox: The 5 Most Embarrassing Players/Coaches in Franchise History
Like any team with a long and storied history, the Boston Red Sox have had their share of colorful characters and angry misfits, all with embarrassing moments to their name at one point or another in their career.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at the most embarrassing players and coaches that have donned a Red Sox uniform in team history.
In putting together my list, I tried not to limit my selections just to players/coaches that were embarrassing during their time in Boston, but rather to players that were embarrassments as a whole during their career, of which some time was spent with the Red Sox.
The focus is primarily on players in recent Red Sox history, as their embarrassments are fresher and better documented. My selections to the list are in no particular order.
That said, here's my take on a who's who of the worst Red Sox in franchise history. Enjoy!
As one of the best pure hitters in recent history and a tremendous free agent signing by the Red Sox in 2000, my inclusion of Manny Ramirez to this list may seem a bit odd to the average fan, but the reality is that Ramirez was an embarrassment to himself and his team on numerous occasions.
Throughout his tenure in Boston and his career after, Ramirez provided embarrassments on and off the field, most notably in being caught for performance enhancing drug use on two separate occasions.
Both of those incidents came after his time with the Red Sox came to a close, but given his inclusion on the notorious Mitchell Report, it's likely that Ramirez had used PEDs at some point or another when he was playing in Boston.
As a member of the Red Sox, Ramirez never failed to provide an embarrassment or two each season, either in his failure to play even adequate defense in left field at times, or in his antics that inevitably led to the label of "Manny being Manny."
Not known for his speed on the base paths, Ramirez had a penchant for chucking his batting helmet off his head while charging around the bases trying to score, in an futile attempt to run a bit faster.
One of the funniest and most embarrassing moments in Ramirez's time with the Red Sox came in 2004 when he cut off a Johnny Damon throw from center field while diving to the ground, rolling around a bit before trying to make his own throw to the infield, allowing Orioles outfielder David Newhan to speed around the bases for an inside the park home run.
In spite of all the craziness that Ramirez brought to the ballpark every day, his embarrassing moments as a member of the Red Sox were humorous failures on the field more often than not. That lands him a spot on the list, but he's not the worst in that regard by any means.
Easily one of the biggest steroid cheats ever to play the game, Jose Canseco's inclusion on this list almost goes without saying, in spite of him having only spent two seasons in Boston.
Canseco has long been unapologetic with his use of performance enhancing drugs during his career, even going so far as to claim he would have been unable to play baseball professionally without using steroids to enhance his abilities.
Now 48 years old, Canseco is trying to show he's still capable of playing, signing a contract earlier this year with the Worcester Tornadoes and publicly stumping for another shot in Boston while making an appearance at Fenway Park for the team's 100th anniversary celebration.
To his credit, Canseco has never run away from his embarrassments, and even went so far as to publish them in his tell all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.
Spending just one season as the manager in Boston, Valentine elevated himself into the upper echelon of the most embarrassing Red Sox in franchise history this past year with his constant bickering with players and his fellow coaches en route to a 69-93 record.
Never one to shy away from the media, Valentine put his foot in his mouth on numerous occasions throughout the season, publicly criticizing players and alienating almost every coach on his staff in the process.
The beginning of the end came early in the year, with Valentine's comments about Kevin Youkilis' supposed lack of intensity on the field creating a firestorm that never died out, even after the Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox.
The Red Sox players never seemed to warm up to Valentine and even went so far as to voice their displeasure with a players-only meeting with ownership to discuss their anger with the way Valentine was running the team, making the atmosphere in the clubhouse toxic at best.
Thankfully, Valentine's tenure as the Red Sox manager came to a close shortly after the end of the season, putting a cap on the worst year for Boston since 1965.
Crazy might be an understatement when it comes to Julian Tavarez, with too many incidents to his name throughout his career to count.
His time in Boston was short lived, but not uneventful, as he was seemingly best friends with the equally insane Manny Ramirez, and displayed a propensity for doing something stupid more often than not.
One of more ridiculous moments in his Boston tenure came when Tavarez inexplicably thought it would be a good idea to roll the ball to first base after he fielded a grounder back to the mound during a game against Texas in 2007.
Tavarez was notorious for attacking his previous teammates and fans, even going so far as to call Giants fans "a bunch of assholes and faggots" after he was booed in San Francisco as a member of the Chicago Cubs. Tavarez started the bad blood between himself and the Giants with a spring training fight involving Giants third baseman Russ Davis.
His most embarrassing incident though may have come in 2004, when Tavarez picked a fight with a wall in the dugout during his time as a member of the Cardinals bullpen, and lost. Tavarez broke his hand while punching the wall in response to a bad inning on the field in which he threw a pitch over the head of Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell and came close to blows as a result.
As the only current member of the Red Sox to make this list, I saved John Lackey for last, giving him a bit of preferential treatment in the hope that he'll be able to right the ship somewhat next season.
Whether it's his tendency to shout at teammates on the field when they fail to make a tough play or his antics on the mound when the manager comes out to remove him from the game, Lackey has never failed to provide embarrassing moments to his team.
His role in the 2011 disaster cemented his status as an embarrassment to the Red Sox, spending time between innings chowing down on take out fried chicken and guzzling beer in the clubhouse with fellow starting pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, even as Boston was flailing towards a September collapse of epic proportions.
Unlike other embarrassments before him, Lackey has a chance to rectify things with a strong performance in 2013, and in looking back on his overall track record, it would seem that he's due for a solid season on the mound.
That said, there's little doubt that at some point or another, the Lackey we all know and hate will make a return, and it won't be pretty when he does. Once an embarrassment, always an embarrassment.