50 Most Hated Players in Baseball History

Brandon McClintock@@BMcClintock_BSNCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2011

50 Most Hated Players in Baseball History

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    To continue down the same path we touched on a couple weeks ago when we looked at the most disliked player in each franchise's recent memory, now we're going to dip back into the negative and see which players round out the top 50 most hated in baseball history.

    It's worth noting that a player rarely becomes one of the most hated players in any sport without being a fairly accomplished player, typically at the top of the game during their playing time. Having said that, you may not agree with some of my picks if they happened to play for your hometown team.

    Similarly, some of baseball's all-time greatest stars, and most beloved players today, were very hated at the time their playing careers were still ongoing. Sadly, some of these players were hated because they were subjected to bigotry and racism, others because fans simply wanted someone else to break a hallowed record rather than the player accomplishing the feat.

    You may read their names and find yourself taken aback. I don't blame you, as I would too, but try to look at those players in the historical context I am referencing, not in today's light.

    Then, of course, we have our group of players who earned their hate by simply being an intolerable jerk to the fans, media, teammates or opponents. How could I leave them off?

    These are not ranked in order; they are simply placed in alphabetical order by the player's first name. If I missed a player, and I likely did since I only had 50 slides to work with, let me know in the comments who you feel is more deserving of being ranked here.

A.J. Pierzynski

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    Here's the funny thing about A.J. Pierzynski: If he's on your team, you love him (except when he was a San Francisco Giant). It's just everyone else in baseball that hates him.

    Pierzynski is a throwback, get-under-your-skin type of catcher that just seems to rub everyone the wrong way.

    If his trash talking wasn't enough, his arrogance and cockiness certainly help to push it over the top.

    There are plenty of people around baseball, both within the game and in the stands, that would love the opportunity to do exactly what is being shown in the picture.

Albert Belle

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    What makes Albert Belle so hated?

    Let's see...one of baseball's all-time worst tempers, check. Profanity-laced tirades directed at the media and fans, check. Hit a fan in the chest for heckling him, check. Tried to run over trick-or-treaters with his SUV on Halloween, check.

    Let's not forget using a corked bat, also check.

    To make matters even worse, Belle was a very good and feared hitter during his time, making him even more hated by opposing fans.

    I'd certainly say Belle qualifies for this list...

Alex Rodriguez

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    Alex Rodriguez is both one of baseball's all-time greatest talents and all-time most hated players.

    Spurning the team that drafted him for a record $250 million contract probably wasn't the greatest start. Fans don't seem to like when players make absurd amounts of money and then still have the nerve to complain about their situations.

    A-Rod did just that when he practically begged his way out of Texas by offering to restructure his deal to facilitate a trade to Boston.

    Of course, Boston fans hate him for ending up with the Yankees, and a good portion of Yankee fans hate him for choking repeatedly in clutch situations. Opting out of his record deal to sign another record-breaking deal also didn't help.

    Oh, and just for good measure, he's also considered one of the game's biggest phonies, and he is a known steroid cheater.

    If I were ranking these in order of most hated, you could be assured A-Rod would be in the top five.

Armando Benitez

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    Armando Benitez doesn't necessarily deserve to be hated.

    He had the misfortune of being a closer, one of the most thankless jobs in baseball. When you succeed at your job, it is expected; after all, that is your job. When you fail, you let everyone down!

    Benitez's weight factored into some fans' dislike of him, as they saw it as a lack of commitment to his physical-conditioning program and thus a lack of effort for his profession and team.

    Blowing a good portion of his postseason opportunities did not help his case much either—six blown saves over four postseason series.

Babe Ruth

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    Sure, history remembers Babe Ruth fondly, but make no mistake about it: He was equally hated as much as he was loved during his playing days.

    For one thing, as good as he was, he was still sold from the Baltimore Orioles to the Boston Red Sox and then from the Red Sox to the New York Yankees.

    His presence with the Yankees was directly responsible for several missed World Series opportunities for Boston.

    To make matters worse, he was a giant braggart, something opposing fans don't tend to like very much.

    Ruth once famously claimed to have had a better year than President Herbert Hoover. Hoover earned $75,000 as President of the United States, while Ruth earned a then-record $80,000.

    Ruth also claimed he could have hit .600 had he tried for singles rather than home runs.

    Just look at it this way—he was the LeBron James or Kobe Bryant of his day.

Barry Bonds

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    Barry Bonds' hatred spiked as he approached, and eventually took down, the all-time home run record.

    Make no mistake, though—Bonds was disliked long before he hit No. 756.

    He was considered a grumpy player, surly to the fans and media and hard to get along with for his teammates.

    Among the other things about Bonds that fans don't like, he was very aware of his talent, and his arrogance and cockiness showed a little too obviously and frequently.

    Oh yeah, he was also an obvious steroid cheater that thought all fans were too stupid to realize it, and now, in the minds of many fans, the home run record is forever tainted (or at least until a "clean" player reclaims it).

    Basically, baseball wanted anyone but Bonds to break the record, yet he still got it.

Bill Buckner

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    Bill Buckner has been forgiven now, but his error in extra innings of Game 6 in the 1986 World Series earned him plenty of hatred for a long time in Boston.

    So much hatred, in fact, that he earns a place among baseball's all-time most hated despite only offending one fanbase.

Billy Martin

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    Billy Martin is best known as a manager, but he started building his reputation back during his playing days.

    Martin was mostly hated during his time in baseball for being considered an alcoholic brawler, always ready for a fight, argument and confrontation, both on and off the field.

    Unfortunately, at times, these activities were often paired with an unwillingness to accept responsibility or blame for his actions.

    Many of his managerial qualities made him beloved to a lot of people around baseball as well, though. 

    Martin was both a baseball genius and misunderstood, but I bet if he were still alive, he wouldn't care what you thought about him anyway.

Carl Everett

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    Carl Everett is one of those players that sadly never lived up to his full potential.

    There was a time where he was the most dangerous clutch hitter in the game and could have become a multiple MVP winner had he not gotten in his own way.

    He was easy to dislike for stories such as a child custody hearing that had his daughter, Shawna, taken from his custody and placed in the care of her maternal grandmother because of "excessive corporal punishment." To be fair to Everett, he was not the parent accused of inflicting the abuse, but he was accused of not doing anything to prevent it.

    He also confronted fans at times, lectured teammates with ridiculous monologues that caused many of them to simply avoid him and would be rather blunt and to the point about his disdain for opposing players.

    Let's face it—while his teammates respected his talent, they didn't care for him. Opposing players hated him. Fans weren't tolerant of him for very long. Just for good measure, dinosaurs probably hate him as well (he did state that they never existed and their bones were all man-made, after all).

Carl Mays

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    Carl Mays was one of the most unpopular players in baseball during his time, even among his own teammates.

    He was said to have had an abrasive personality that made it very hard for anyone to get along with him.

    He also happened to be a pitcher that was known for headhunting when he pitched.

    Unfortunately, and obviously not intentionally, one of those pitches found the head of Ray Chapman on August 16, 1920, claiming the life of the talented Cleveland Indians shortstop.

    Unpopular before, hated after.

Carlos Zambrano

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    If you're a current baseball fan, you won't need much explanation here.

    Carlos Zambrano was a very good pitcher. Now, he's a very angry and explosive personality who has managed to earn suspensions and has at times walked away from his team.

    He's overpaid, can't be traded without his permission and has the reputation of being a clubhouse cancer.

    He's apparently not all that great to the Chicago media either, so not much chance of hiding any negative portrayals from the public view. We all get to see him for the hated jerk he seems to be.

    Maybe if he could start pitching well again, we'd conveniently forget for a while.

Chuck Knoblauch

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    Chuck Knoblauch earned his hatred for two main reasons:

    1) He demanded a trade out of Minnesota after being the face of their franchise and bashed his former employer and their fans on his way out the door.

    2) He wound up a New York Yankee and went on to win three World Series rings in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

    Fans don't tend to like it when a player offends an entire fanbase and winds up rewarded for such a traitorous act.

    With the Yankees, he forgot how to throw a ball from second base to first base and ultimately found himself moved to the outfield before being released following the 2001 season.

    He played the 2002 season for the Royals—his last before retiring.

Curt Schilling

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    Curt Schilling finds his way onto this list for being an opinionated loudmouth.

    Honestly, I believe had he simply let his pitching do the talking for him, he would not be hated by anyone (outside of Philadelphia, that is).

    He won World Series with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox but just couldn't quit talking...

    Although it didn't personally bother me, the infamous blood-stained sock seems to bother a good percentage of baseball fans as well.

Darryl Strawberry

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    Darryl Strawberry should have been a superstar and potential Hall of Fame-worthy player.

    His problems with drug addiction never allowed him to live up to his potential.

    I'd like to think that baseball fans don't hate Strawberry as a person, but rather, only hate that he failed to overcome his personal demons while occupying a spot on the 25-man roster of their teams.

    He doesn't win back any points for his involvement in certain brawls that occupy his playing résumé either, though.

    He fought Keith Hernandez, who was a teammate at the time, back in 1989 and also sucker-punched Armando Benitez in the back of the head while a member of the Yankees later in his career.

Dave Kingman

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    Dave Kingman seemed to hate everything and everyone, perhaps even baseball itself.

    His persona did not win points with anyone anywhere that he played.

    The guy didn't redeem himself with his on-field production either. The only thing he could do effectively was hit home runs, but not enough of them to win back the fans (who he probably hated right back anyway).

Dick Allen

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    Dick Allen is another player cursed by a surly attitude.

    Although some people say he was just misunderstood, his demeanor and overall persona did not make him a very likable player during his career.

    He's arguably worthy of induction into Cooperstown, but his dealings with the media did not lead to any eligible voters doing him any favors either.

Eddie Cicotte

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    Eddie Cicotte was one of the members of the Black Sox team that threw the World Series.

    Cicotte's involvement apparently was spurned by his anger over being denied an opportunity at a contractual bonus he would have received had he won his 30th game of the season. At least this has been the subject of speculation and debate for years.

    He reached 29 wins, and owner Charles Comiskey ordered he not be used the remainder of the season to prevent him from earning the bonus.

    Regardless, Cicotte was undeniably a member of the fix and responsible for the lost World Series.

    Fixing games (or betting on baseball) is baseball's cardinal sin and the reason Cicotte makes it on this list.

    I realize that he is the only member of the eight that were banned for life that I am including, but this was a list of 50, and quite frankly Joe Jackson is not hated and his involvement is still questioned. The rest of the Black Sox are not really remembered as well as Cicotte or Jackson. 

    Other members of the Black Sox scandal: Chick Gandil, Buck Weaver, Lefty Williams, Oscar Felsch, Fred McMullin and Charles Risberg.

Francisco Rodriguez

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    Once again, arrogance and cockiness are the top reasons for a player being hated.

    In the case of Francisco Rodriguez, these two "qualities," paired with some bad publicity for hitting his father-in-law, have villainized him in baseball.

    Keeping with the theme I established with Armando Benitez, he also has the misfortune, if you will, of being a closer.

    Every time he blows a save, his home fans will hate him. Every time he does his job and completes the save, the opposing team and fans will hate him.

    His celebration following a save doesn't help matters any.

Garry Templeton

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    We can start things off by explaining why Cardinals fans hate Garry Templeton.

    After failing to run out a ground ball in August of 1981, the home fans booed Templeton. His response? The middle finger to the entire stadium.

    He was traded after that, for Ozzie Smith. Guess that one kind of worked out for Cardinal fans, but he still left a lasting impression on St. Louis.

    Actually, this also explains San Diego Padres fans' hatred of Garry Templeton: They lost Ozzie Smith in exchange for him, after all.

Gary Sheffield

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    Gary Sheffield is baseball's ultimate mercenary, and for that, he is hated around baseball—probably no more so than in Milwaukee, though.

    Sheffield has a knack for being a star when he wants to be and dogging it when he wants to force his way out of a situation.

    Sheffield also launched a now infamous rant in which he said baseball liked Hispanic/Latino ballplayers because they were "controllable," while African-American ballplayers were not, insinuating that baseball was purposely forcing African-American players out of the league.

    He accused his manager of racism in New York.

    He was also linked to the BALCO scandal and is linked to the PED problem in baseball.

Hal Chase

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    Hal Chase was widely considered the greatest first baseman of his time. He is also one of the most dishonest and disliked players ever.

    Chase is known as a game-fixer, willing to lie down and lose a game at any time for the right price.

    He was the villain of baseball before the Black Sox scandal.

Hank Aaron

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    This one will be controversial, I know.

    Hank Aaron is one of Major League Baseball's most beloved and celebrated players, today.

    I do not mean to take anything at all from his accomplishments or his great career. He is the man many of us wish still held baseball's all-time home run record.

    That said, as he was chasing down Babe Ruth and ultimately passed him on the all-time list, Hank Aaron was one of the most hated men in America, not just baseball.

    He had to play through extreme racism and bigotry, dealing with death threats along the way.

    His career is reviewed in the proper perspective now, but looking at this strictly in a historical context, during his playing career, he was hated by a large demographic of America while he was still active in the game.

Jackie Robinson

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    Another controversial inclusion, and one that I hope you will again view strictly through a historical context.

    Jackie Robinson was the first player to break the color barrier in baseball. As a result, he had to deal with opposition from fans, opponents and his own teammates.

    As the players on his own team got to know him as a person, their objections subsided.

    Robinson had to deal with many cruelties and even death threats as he played his career.

    Among the white players at the time and the fans, he was public enemy No. 1 for a while.

    Today, his contributions to the game and door he opened for generations of minority players to follow are celebrated in baseball—and rightfully so.

    Much like with Hank Aaron, I hate to include Jackie Robinson on this list, but from a historical perspective only, they both fit.

Jeff Kent

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    Not getting along with Barry Bonds did not make fans hate Jeff Kent; if anything, that should have earned him some points.

    Kent finds his way on this list for never knowing when to shut his mouth.

    The guy called out Vin Scully, for crying out loud, WHILE HE WAS STILL PLAYING FOR THE DODGERS!

    Need I say more?

Jim Rice

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    Jim Rice's surliness and general demeanor towards reporters and fans are considered a major reason that it took him so long to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    I don't agree that writers kept him out of Cooperstown because they didn't like him, but it is certainly fair to assume their descriptions in print helped shape his image.

    Whether fair or not, if you don't treat the media well, their portrayal of you will reflect that. Since fans don't get to personally interact with the team and form their own opinions based on those experiences, media reports play an important part in whether a player is liked or disliked beyond his contributions on the field.

John McGraw

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    John McGraw was one of the dirtiest players baseball has ever known.

    He would routinely trip players rounding third base, spike them, grab their belt loops to hold them back and keep them from tagging up.

    Imagine if he were alive and playing today. How would those replays look on the internet, Facebook, Twitter and, well, Bleacher Report?

    He'd be right up there with A-Rod's yelling and glove-slapping incidents, if he didn't surpass him already.

John Rocker

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    Is an explanation really needed?

    I'll keep it brief. Racist. Bigot. Homophobe. Loudmouth. All-around jerk.

    Does that about sum it up?

    Oh yeah, that pesky closer thing also plays into it. Hated when he blew a save by his home fans, hated when he nailed down a save by the opposing team and fans.

Jose Canseco

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    As Don King said on Jim Rome's radio show in 2005, "Well, Jose Canseco is a practitioner of rat-finkism."

    King may have made up a few words that my editors here are not going to like editing, but he has a point.

    No one likes a rat. Regardless of the fact that Canseco has been proven truthful with just about everything he has stated, he also backstabbed and thrown numerous teammates under the bus to help his book sales.

Jose Guillen

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    I liked this picture; I wanted to include it.

    Okay, that's not the only reason I included Jose Guillen, though.

    Guillen's volatile temper did not win him any points with his teammates, opponents or fans of either side.

    He bounced around baseball for years before ultimately finding his way out of the game last season following being busted for an HGH shipment that was tracked to his new residence in San Francisco.

    The masked picture above almost makes me want to like the guy, though. Almost, but not quite.

Kenny Rogers

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    Have I not already said that being mean to the media is a good way to lose points in the court of public opinion/perception?

    Honestly, were it not for this incident (pictured) between Kenny Rogers and a cameraman while he played for the Texas Rangers, he probably would not find his way onto this list.

    The thing about this incident, though, is Rogers attacked two cameramen. When one of the cameramen got up after being knocked down and resumed filming, Rogers knocked him back down a second time.

Kyle Farnsworth

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    Kyle Farnsworth is one of those players that earns his spot on this list for his shortcomings despite seemingly having all the natural talent in the world.

    Don't get me wrong; he's a good pitcher, but he seems to drive the home fans crazy with disappointing outings based on high expectations.

    Oh yeah, if a player on your home team happens to charge the mound against Farnsworth, you might not like him either.

    Type "Kyle Farnsworth fight" into YouTube and you'll see what I mean. Actually, I did it for you; just click the link.

Lastings Milledge

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    Lastings Milledge doesn't deserve the level of hate that has been directed at him throughout his career, but still, it is definitely there.

    He got off to a bad start by "hot-dogging" some plays in the earliest part of his major-league career with the Mets.

    Showing up your opponents isn't any way to become well liked.

Manny Ramirez

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    1) Manny being Manny.

    2) Manny quitting on team to get a trade.

    3) Women's fertility drugs and a 50-game suspension (cheater).

    4) Bad defense and the appearance of lack of effort (at times).

    5) Second failed drug test and 100-game suspension, dodged for retirement instead (two-time cheater)...

    That about sums it up...

Milton Bradley

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    Milton Bradley has been run out of town by every team he has played for, finally resulting in his exit from baseball this season after the Seattle Mariners released him.

    Bradley was an indisputable talent on the field, but he was derailed by injuries that frustrated his fans and a volatile temper that did not endear him to anyone in either dugout.

    Off-field incidents with police during his time in Cleveland and most recently with a pair of arrests for domestic-violence incidents against his wife while he was with the Mariners have helped secure his image as one of the most hated people in baseball.

Mitch Williams

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    Following in the Bill Buckner mold, Mitch Williams is now forgiven and welcomed, but for a long time, he was hated for his failures and their effect on the Phillies.

    Specifically, it was one failure: the home run he gave up to Joe Carter to end the 1993 World Series.

    Hey, Philly fans booed Santa Claus—did you really think they wouldn't hate their closer despite all his success for that one failure?

    He's loved in Philly now, though, so all is forgiven, it seems.

Nyjer Morgan

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    Nyjer Morgan is loved in Milwaukee but hated pretty much everywhere else.

    Although his Twitter account is rather amusing, as he uses his alter ego, Tony Plush, to interact with fans and tell amusing baseball stories, he has established a reputation as a "thug" that likes to showboat and antagonize opposing players.

    Earlier this year one reporter with NESN asked the question of whether Morgan was becoming the most hated man in baseball after picking an internet fight with Albert Pujols, calling him "Alberta" repeatedly.

Ozzie Guillen

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    Once again, being outspoken and controversial is a good way to get a good portion of the fans to hate you.

    The thing is, Ozzie Guillen wants you to hate him (and his team, for that matter).

    To his credit, Ozzie realizes that people don't tend to hate a player or manager that is not good; it's just not worth the effort.

    His expletive-laced rants, racial comments and gestures (such as the one pictured here) don't tend to win over too many opposing fans, though—or a faction of your own fanbase either.

Pedro Martinez

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    Generally speaking, throwing senior citizens to the ground and seeming very proud of yourself is not a good way to get people to like you.

    Being the most dominant pitcher on the planet for a period of time and mowing down opposing lineups is also not a good way to get opposing fans to like you—although it is a great way to become highly respected and build your legacy among the greatest pitchers in the game.

    Back to the negative though. Pedro Martinez couldn't seem to get out of his own way with what was perceived to be cockiness and an inability to shut his mouth at times.

    If he was on your team, you'd love him, though. Who wouldn't with the "stuff" he could throw?

Pete Rose

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    I don't really know if Pete Rose qualifies as a sympathetic baseball figure or not. The vote seems split on that.

    He's the all-time leader in hits—that's indisputable—but he is also a liar and potentially a cheater.

    He bet on baseball. Then he denied betting on baseball for more than a decade.

    He accepted a lifetime ban from the sport only to then spend the better part of the next decade complaining about how it was an unfair punishment to fit the crime.

    He finally acknowledged betting on baseball, but only when it was financially beneficial to him in a book release.

    He also took out Ray Fosse in an All-Star game and served a 30-day suspension for shoving an umpire. So we can add being a dirty player to the list of betting crimes against the game.

Rafael Palmeiro

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    If it weren't for that finger wag he did in Congress, Rafael Palmeiro probably would not be one of baseball's 50 most hated.

    In the minds of many reading this, he may not be anyway...

    Palmeiro wasted a Hall of Fame-worthy career with a bad decision to take performance-enhancing drugs after testifying to Congress that he had never taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs. Of course, he then wagged his finger at them to solidify his point and added "period" to the end of his statement.

    A few short months later, he became the first player suspended under baseball's new steroid-testing policy. Ironic.

Reggie Jackson

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    Reggie Jackson's arrogance and theatrics just seemed to rub people the wrong way.

    He's a proven winner and one of the most feared power hitters of all time, but there is just something about the guy that many baseball fans just don't like.

    I wish I could put my finger on exactly what it was. Perhaps some of you can offer some insight in the comments below.

Rickey Henderson

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    Rickey Henderson may have been the greatest baseball player of all time. He certainly was the greatest base stealer and leadoff hitter of all time.

    The problem is that Rickey knew it, and Rickey would let you know it too.

    Rickey thought Rickey was so good that Rickey should call himself Rickey also.

    Once again, arrogance and cockiness don't make you beloved.

    I grew up an A's fan, though, so personally, I love Rickey Henderson!

Rob Dibble

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    Rob Dibble's short temper led to hatred during his playing career.

    Thanks to my colleague Robert Knapel here at Bleacher Report, I have the following information to pass on as to why:

    Rob Dibble not only made a name for himself during his major-league career with his talent but also with his temper. He was known for having a very short fuse and was involved in a number of incidents.

    1991 was not a good year for Dibble, as he was involved in a number of controversies. He threw a ball into the stands after a game that hit a woman in the face, and he also threw a ball at Eric Yelding as he was running up the first-base line.

    Dibble also got into two fights that year. One fight was with Doug Dascenzo of the Houston Astros, while the other was a brawl with his own manager, Lou Piniella.

    Of course, Dibble hasn't won many fans back with his broadcasting abilities either. Dibble hasn't quite reached the "firejoemorgan.com" status yet among broadcasters, but he certainly does have a following of fans who love to hate him.

Roberto Alomar

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    Roberto Alomar earns points towards his hatred tally for a disappointing stint with the New York Mets that left an entire fanbase disappointed, but really, it was the incident pictured here that placed him firmly on this list.

    Following an argued call on September 27, 1996, in the top of the first inning, Alomar lost control and spat in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck.

    Rather than being accountable for his actions, Alomar offered the excuse that Hirschbeck uttered a racial slur and then proceeded to say that Hirschbeck had changed his personality and become bitter following the death of his son.

    Supposedly, the two have made peace since that incident, although I have to say Hirschbeck is more forgiving than I would have been.

Roger Clemens

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    Roger Clemens is hated by Boston Red Sox fans for wearing the Yankee uniform.

    He was hated by Yankee fans before joining their team because he played for Boston (forgiven for that transgression when he helped them win a World Series).

    Mike Piazza and Mets fans hate him for throwing a piece of broken bat (pictured here) at the slugger in the World Series.

    And America hates him for being a steroid cheater and denying it.

    Did I miss anything?

Rogers Hornsby

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    During his playing career, Rogers Hornsby was short with his teammates and fans, lacked a sense of humor and was offensively straight to the point and blunt when it came to his dealings with others within the sport (and outside of it).

    His dealings with teammates and coaches resulted in his being traded as a player and ultimately fired as a manager and being out of baseball.

Roger Maris

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    Once again, I must give you the "historical context" disclaimer.

    Roger Maris is a very well-thought-of player today. Many people around baseball still view his 61 homers as the rightful single-season home run record.

    No one in baseball at the time wanted Maris to be the guy to break Babe Ruth's record. Everyone wanted Mickey Mantle to hold the record.

    He was cheered at the time, but it quickly turned to hatred and a resentment that he held the record and not Mantle.

    This piece (click here) in Sports Illustrated by Robert Creamer in May of 1963 explains the situation perfectly, and given that it was written in the midst of the hatred, it is unaffected by history changing our views:

    Well, Maris is disliked because his behavior on the field—and, as the press reports it, off the field—indicates that he is a petulant, self-pitying, constantly irritated man. He shows contempt for the crowds that hoot at him, for the fans and reporters who ask him obvious and tiresome questions, for the celebrity hunters who badger him and pursue him into the crevices of his privacy. Mostly, though, he is disliked because he has proved to be such an unsatisfactory hero.

    When he was just another good ballplayer the crowd did not care—if it knew—that he was a redneck. When he went after Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in one season and broke it, things changed. He was automatically a hero. What the crowd wants first in a hero is a man who can do things, and Maris certainly could do things. What it wants next is a hero with poise and self-assurance, someone it can like as well as admire. Admiration of a hero is essentially admiration of self. When the hero blows his success, when he behaves as stupidly and uncertainly as we might behave ourselves, then self-admiration turns to self-hatred, the harshest form of hate. When Maris, successor to Ruth, showed that he didn't know how to handle the praise and the adulation, he was the personification of the inadequate self, the man who thinks of what he should have said the day after he should have said it. That is how Roger Maris let everyone down—as a hero he was a grievous disappointment—and that is why he is booed.

Sammy Sosa

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    In 1998, we loved Sammy Sosa. Love turned to hate rather quickly, though.

    In the case of Sammy, it's pretty simple.

    He cheated. But he didn't just cheat the game; he cheated all of us out of an accomplishment that was revered in the game and by its fans.

    Yes, Mark McGwire actually set the record, and I may be letting him off the hook. Is it unfair? Yes.

    But Sammy eclipsed the magical mark of 61 more than any person ever in the game, combined.

    He was caught using a corked bat, and he was called in front of Congress under suspicion that he used PEDs.

    While McGwire certainly has his share of hatred among baseball fans and specifically baseball purists, I would argue that Sosa is the bigger violator and villain. McGwire just doesn't quite crack the top 50, although he is close.

    Sosa definitely earned his spot though.

Vince Coleman

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    Basically, Vince Coleman was just a jerk.

    The best example is the incident in which Coleman decided to throw a firecracker into a crowd of autograph seekers outside Dodger Stadium, injuring three children—one a two-year-old girl.

    A few months prior, he hurt Dwight Gooden's arm by swinging a golf club in the clubhouse recklessly (although that incident was an accident, the firecracker was intentional).

Ty Cobb

50 of 50

    Okay, I went slightly outside of my alphabetical order here. I flip-flopped Vince Coleman and Ty Cobb because Cobb absolutely deserves to close out this slideshow.

    He was not only the most hated man in baseball history—he may be the most hated man in sports history, period!

    Cobb was a known racist. He purposely spiked other players and was involved in multiple on-field incidents and brawls.

    He also charged into the stands to beat up a heckler in one incident.

    He fought a black groundskeeper in Georgia one year in spring training and choked the man's wife when she tried to stop him from fighting her husband.

    Ty Cobb was universally hated around baseball, even amongst his own teammates, but he was at the time, and remains, one of the game's all-time greatest talents.