All-Time Bad Boys of Baseball: Exposing One Jerk at Every MLB Position

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2011

All-Time Bad Boys of Baseball: Exposing One Jerk at Every MLB Position

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    While every MLB team has players who are popular in their hometown, certain players make a name for themselves beyond just their own city and are known league-wide for one reason or another.

    For the most part this is a good thing, with the player performing well enough to garner the attention and respect of fans even though he is playing for a team they do not root for.

    However, other times a player is well-known simply because he is so widely hated wherever he goes. The simple fact of the matter is that some people are jerks, and baseball players are no different.

    So here is a look at some of the infamous jerks of the MLB, one from each position as this is a team that would be hard-pressed to pack the stands with anyone rooting for them.

Catcher: A.J. 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."

First Base: 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 and a number of incidents stemmed from that racism, as it has successfully overshadowed his impressive career and is often the first thing that people associate with him.

Second Base: 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.

Shortstop: Rey Ordonez

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    One of the better defensive shortstops of the 1990s, winning three straight Gold Glove awards from 1997-1999, Rey Ordonez enjoyed a nine-year career despite a significant lack of offensive ability.

    While he never really made waves on the playing field, it was his actions off the field that earn him a spot on this list.

    A Cuban defector, Ordonez was paying child support to his ex-wife back in Cuba. However, thanks to the ridiculous law system there, he was paying a total of $1.50 a month despite earning over $21 million during his career.

    While he was eventually ordered to pay a more useful rate, the fact that he had to be told that $1.50 didn't cut it certainly qualifies him as a jerk.

Third Base: 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 jerk.

Outfield: Ty Cobb

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    With an 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 arguably 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.

Outfield: 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.

Outfield: 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 in 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.

Designated Hitter: 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.

Starting Pitcher: Roger Clemens

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    Statistically, Roger Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game as he amassed a 354-184 career record while striking out 4,185 batters and capturing seven Cy Young awards.

    However, he would never be mistaken for a nice guy as he had a reputation for throwing inside to hitters during his playing days and famously threw a broken piece of bat at Mike Piazza in the World Series.

    It was in his late career, however, that he transitioned from heated competitor to fully blown jerk as his retirement antics rivaled Brett Favre, and his preferential treatment once, he did sign, made him as bad a teammate as you'll find.

    Throw in his on going legal nonsense and there is no question that Clemens, once viewed as one of the greatest to ever play the game, is little more than a lying jerk.

Relief Pitcher: 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.