The Biggest Ego in the History of Each MLB Team

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2011

The Biggest Ego in the History of Each MLB Team

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    Athletes are among the most admired and celebrated people in the world, and perpetually surrounded by cheering fans who treat them gods or celebrities, it is understandable that they would get a big head from time to time.

    Baseball players are no different than any other athletes, and with a longer season than any other sport, they spend even more time in the spotlight versus other sports.

    While the admiration is nice, some baseball players can go from confident to cocky when they let their ego get the best of them.

    So here is the biggest ego in the history of each MLB team, some great players and some who simply thought they were great.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Eric Byrnes

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    Every team loves having that scrappy player on their team that can steal a base, put in a tough at-bat in the late innings and just generally get on the nerves of the other team.

    In 2007, Eric Byrnes was that player for the Diamondbacks as he hit .286 BA, 21 HR, 83 RBI, 50 SB and helped the team to the NLCS.

    However, unlike some scrappy players who blend in and do what the team asks, it always seemed like Byrnes was well aware that he was a fan favorite and carried himself in a somewhat cocky manner because of it.

Atlanta Braves: 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.

Baltimore Orioles: Brady Anderson

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    On the field, Brady Anderson was a solid player who is best known for having an out-of-nowhere 1996 season in which he hit 50 home runs, after hitting just 72 home runs in the previous seven seasons.

    Off the field, he made appearances on television and dated celebrities as he was well aware what a good looking guy he was.

    He also did some photo shoots which rival some of the recent spreads Mark Sanchez has been chastised for.

Boston Red Sox: Ted Williams

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    There is no denying that Ted Williams is one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game, and the time he spent serving his country in both World War II and Korean War. during the prime of his career is certainly admirable.

    However, he was constantly at odds with the Boston media whom he felt was far too involved in his personal life. And despite his impressive on-field accomplishments, he never quite fit the bill as franchise and fan favorite.

    His goal during his playing career was for people to point to him and say, "There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived," and only someone with a gigantic ego would say something like that.

Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa

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    Throughout the 1990s, Sammy Sosa put on a show at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field starting with his impressive displays in batting practice and carrying over into being one of the game's premier home run hitter.

    His 1998 home run race with Mark McGwire captivated the nation, and while that summer has since been tainted by the allegations of rampant steroid use, it helped put baseball back in the spotlight after some tough seasons following the the 1994 strike.

    With the numbers that Sosa put up, it is understandable that he was cocky to a point, but he took it to the next level.

    From parading around in cut-off shirts everyday in batting practice, to his infamous home run hop, and even to his blaring of music on his personal boom box in the clubhouse, it was clear that Sosa was at least as concerned with himself as he was the team.

Chicago White Sox: AJ Pierzynski

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    Finding consistent production at the catcher's position is not an easy thing to do, but the White Sox have accomplished that with A.J. Pierzynski as he has averaged a line of .279 BA, 13 HR, 55 RBI in his seven years in a Chisox uniform.

    However, during his career he has regularly been one of the most hated players in all of baseball. While his personality has been embraced with the White Sox, it got him run out of San Francisco after just one season.

    His fight with Cubs catcher Michael Barrett is legendary, as Barrett socking him in the face brought joy to more than a few Cubs and baseball fans.

    Ozzie Guillen put it perfectly when he said, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."

Cincinnati Reds: 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.

Cleveland Indians: Albert Belle

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    The Indians offense of the mid-1990s rivals some of the best of all time, and at the center of it all was Albert Belle who averaged a .300 BA, 39 HR, 118 RBI line in his six full seasons with the team.

    For all his production on the field, he got himself into trouble on more than one occasion as he fought with teammates and opposing players, was caught using a corked bat and jeered fans.

    When he left the Indians for the White Sox, he installed a clause in his then-massive five-year, $55 million contract that allowed him to opt out if he was not the highest paid player in baseball, as he clearly viewed himself as the best in the game.

Colorado Rockies: Larry Walker

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    The Colorado Rockies organization have had a brief history, and while they have never quite had the egomaniac other teams have suffered from, they have had a number of sluggers who put up some fantastic numbers.

    Of that group, 1997 NL MVP Larry Walker seemed to be the most aware of just how good he was, and while he was a fan favorite and did not have a bad personality, the Canadian-great Walker was certainly a confident guy with and the closest thing to a big ego player the Rockies have ever had.

Detroit Tigers: 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.

Florida Marlins: Hanley Ramirez

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    Acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell out of Florida, shortstop Hanley Ramirez has blossomed into one of the most complete offensive players in all of baseball.

    From 2007-2010 Ramirez averaged a line of .319 BA, 27 HR, 82 RBI, 36 SB as he showed a combination of speed and power like few others in the league.

    However, the 27-year-old has had his effort questioned on more than one occasion and it came to a head in 2010 when he feuded with manager Freddi Gonzalez after being pulled from a game.

    His 2011 season then marked the worst of his career, as he hit just .243 BA, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 20 SB over just 92 games.

    The 2012 season could be a make-or-break one for Ramirez, and if he doesn't show a little more desire he could fall from the ranks of the elite.

Houston Astros: Roger Clemens

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    After signing with the Houston Astros prior to the 2004 season, Roger Clemens showed he still had plenty left in the tank as he went a combined 31-12 with a 2.43 ERA in his first two years with the team.

    Then, following the 2005 season Clemens announced his retirement at the age of 42. It didn't last long though, as he rejoined the Astros on a prorated $22,000,022 contract on June 22nd.

    If asking for such an exorbitant amount of money wasn't enough, Clemens also had a clause in his contract that allowed him to stay in Texas on road trips when not scheduled to pitch, as he often did not travel with the team.

    There's nothing like making yourself bigger than the team.

Kansas City Royals: Jose Guillen

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    A true five-tool talent, Jose Guillen made his big league debut with the Pirates in 1997 as their everyday right fielder at the age of 21.

    However, he lasted just two-and-a-half seasons in Pittsburgh before being traded to Tampa Bay and beginning his frequent movement as the definition of journeyman.

    Over his 14-year career he played for 10 different teams and never lasted more than three seasons with any club.

    This is due in large part to his abrasive personality and short temper that not only found him perpetually being shown the door, but also kept him from getting the most out of his tremendous talent.

Los Angeles Angels: Garret Anderson

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    Garret Anderson spent 15 of his 17 years in the big leagues as a member of the Angels and ended his career as the team's all-time leader in hits, runs, RBI and doubles.

    A three-time All-Star and a two-time Sliver Slugger winner, Anderson was the heart of the Angels lineup along with Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus.

    However, often times his motivation was questioned as he didn't always seem to be hustling both on the basepaths and in the outfield. Whether or not that was the case, as many have simply attributed it to his stoic and lethargic demeanor, Anderson was a great player and one of the best in Angels history.

Los Angeles Dodgers: John Francis "Phenomenal" Smith

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    This one is going back a bit to when the Dodgers were the Brooklyn Grays, but it was too good not to include here.

    John Francis, 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.

Milwaukee Brewers: Nyjer Morgan

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    With a .288 career average and only two seasons as a full-time starter under his belt, just by his numbers, Nyjer Morgan would seem like your average speedy center fielder.

    Instead, he has become one of the most colorful characters in baseball with his "Tony Plush" persona in postgame interviews and Twitter.

    However, that has rubbed more than a few people the wrong way as he is more annoying than funny the majority of the time. He even insulted the beloved Albert Pujols, once referring to the Cardinal great as "Alberta" and "she.

    For an example of Morgan's inflated ego, you need look no further than him dropping the "f-bomb" (several times) on national television after the Brewers advanced to the NLCS and then joking about how he's a role model.

Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer

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    Joe Mauer has already established himself as one of the greatest catchers of all time, rewarding the Twins for taking him first overall in the 2001 MLB Draft.

    Recently, he was praised for signing an eight-year, $184 million contract to stay in Minnesota, spurning the big market teams to stay at home.

    He is a great player, but with his numerous marketing campaigns and overall way he carries himself, his personality certainly borders on arrogant as he clearly knows just how good he is.

New York Mets: Darryl Strawberry

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    With 280 home runs under his belt at the age of 29, few players have started their careers with the prolific power numbers that Darryl Strawberry did.

    During the 1988 season he led the NL with 39 home runs and finished second in NL MVP voting to Kirk Gibson. At season's end he was seeking an extension. However, due to that fact that he was what amounts to a clubhouse cancer, the team refused.

    With two years left on his deal, Strawberry flopped to a .225 average the next season and left for Los Angeles when his contract was up, leaving behind a slew of players and coaches who were no doubt happy to see him and his giant head heading to the Left Coast.

New York Yankees: 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.

Oakland Athletics: Rickey Henderson

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    Unquestionably the greatest lead-off 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 it often resulted in him talking about himself in the third person while bragging about his accolades.

    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.

Philadelphia Phillies: 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.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Dave Parker

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    Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell often get the bulk of the attention in Pittsburgh, but Dave Parker was a stellar hitter in his own right. He had a fantastic 11-year run with the Pirates to open his career.

    Before joining the Reds in 1984, Parker compiled a line of .305 BA, 166 HR, 758 RBI as he won a pair of batting titles and the 1978 NL MVP.

    He was well aware of how good he was too once saying, "There's only one thing bigger than me and that's my ego."

San Diego Padres: Dave Winfield

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    Dave Winfield is one of the best athletes of all time as he was drafted in four professional sports out of college.

    Further, he is one of the few who's gone straight to the majors without spending a day in the minors after signing with the Padres.

    With that natural ability and nearly unmatched success comes an expected level of arrogance. And while Winfield was well liked in San Diego, he always played with a swagger that went a bit above other players.

San Francisco Giants: 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.

Seattle Mariners: Milton Bradley

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    There may be no player with a longer laundry list of indiscretions during his playing career than that of Milton Bradley—and he could be the choice for nearly all eight teams he played for.

    He showed what he is capable of in 2008 when he hit .321 BA, 22 HR, 77 RBI in leading the American League with a .436 on-base percentage.

    However, he then signed with the Cubs, where he was suspended, kicked off the team and traded to the Mariners in a bad contract for bad contract deal. He didn't last long though, and was designated for assignment after a total of 101 games and a .209 average.

    That is just a sampling of the reasons he makes this list, and while the term "clubhouse cancer" gets thrown around a lot, Bradley is the very definition.

St. Louis Cardinals: Bob Gibson

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    Bob Gibson is one of the most dominant pitchers to ever take the mound, and his 1968 season in which he went 22-9, 1.12 ERA, 268 Ks is considered one of the greatest seasons in big league history. It is often pointed to as the reason the mound was lowered.

    He was also one of the nastiest pitchers to ever set foot on a mound and used a nasty stare and a blazing fastball to intimidate hitters.

    Gibson toed the line between confident and cocky on the field, but one thing is for sure: he had the ego to match his overwhelming ability.

Tampa Bay Rays: Jose Canseco

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    With Rickey Henderson representing the Athletics, Jose Canseco had to fit in somewhere here, and with a relatively short history, there is little question that despite only spending a year-and-a-half with the team, he has the biggest ego of anyone who has ever suited up in Tampa Bay.

    From his rampant steroid use, to his best-selling book, on to his appearances on reality television, there is no doubt that no one is a bigger fan of Canseco than Jose Canseco himself.

Texas Rangers: Alex Rodriguez

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    Alex Rodriguez is one of the most dynamic players to ever play the game, and he has put up numbers that easily stack up with the all-time greats.

    Off the field, however, his personal life has often been a distraction and he seems to relish being in the eye of the paparazzi when he is dating his celebrity girlfriends.

    Tack on the ridiculous 10-year, $252 million deal that he signed with the Rangers, the fact that the team put up three straight losing records with him on the roster, and his two portraits depicting himself as a centaur (the mythic half-man, half-horse figure), and A-Rod's ego definitely rivals his career numbers.

Toronto Blue Jays: George Bell

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    George Bell played just 12 seasons in the big leagues, but he racked up 265 home runs and 1,002 RBI over that time. He spent nine of his 12 seasons playing for the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The AL MVP in 1987, Bell hit .308 BA, 47 HR, 134 RBI that season and led the league in RBI in what represented the peak of his career.

    While he put up consistent offensive numbers, his defense left a lot to be desired and he was often booed for his poor play in the field.

    Apparently the booing damaged his ego at least on one occasion, telling reporters that the fans could, "kiss my purple butt," as he had what is best described a rocky relationship with the Toronto fans.

Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper

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    Dubbed as the next big thing in baseball while he was still a high schooler, Bryce Harper's career has been as scrutinized as any athlete in recent history.

    He has been fantastic in his first pro season, but from blowing kisses to the opposing pitcher to ejections for one reason or another, it is clear that Harper has an attitude problem.

    Ideally he will grow up and move past it in time, but for now it appears that he will have a personality that get in the way of just how talented he is.

    To put it simply, Harper is someone who knows how good he is, and that could work against him.