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The Readers' list: Least likable ballplayers
From the Page2 mailbag
On Monday, Page 2 ran its list of the least likable baseball players in history. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of despicable choices.
1. Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens is the least likable!
Roger to the 1,000,000th power!
Can I be more emphatic? Reread Bill Simmons' (the Boston Sports Guy) treatise on this topic. Simply put: he (insert scatoligcal slang word here) on the hearts of the most loyal fans in the world. A good for nothing mercenary, a money-grubbing scumbag who saddled his children with obnoxious, fake names that represent his achievemnets. ... I can't even rationally express my hate, except for saying I hope that when he's sitting on his ranch 10 years from now, watching the ovation Pedro gets as he walks off the mound in his final game as the greatest pitcher the Red Sox history, he realizes what he missed out on.
Providence, R.I. Roger Clemens ... The modern day Judas.
Ann Arbor, Mich. The ultimate non-gamer ... absolutely no work ethic. Clemens all but packed up during his career in Boston, then he gets shipped to Toronto, and subsequently to New York. THE YANKEES?!!! People have been deported for less than going from the Sox to the Yankees. Once there, he miraculously realizes that there is more to the offseason than sitting on his butt, so he gets in shape, and, of course, starts to pitch well again. All this, not to mention that when I was 10 years old, the scumbag wanted $20 for an autograph. Given the choice between a Clemens autographed baseball, and a pair of Pump sneakers for my birthday, I wisely chose the Pumps.
Boston He will wear pinstripes into the Hall ... and pinstripes into Hell.
2. John Rocker (86 letters)
Many of the older players on Page 2's list held views that where not extreme for their time, but Rocker's ancient prejudices have surely been eradicated from society and more specifically, the game of baseball long ago. But, even in the 21st century, millions of dollars are still being paid to the favorite passenger of the No. 7 train. He belongs in an asylum ... not the bullpen, folks.
State College, Penn. I'm a Red Sox fan and, as such, like to disparage all things New York. But even I was offended by his racial diatribe against that city. The interview in question is one of the more disturbing artifacts in recent baseball history, both for the lack of class or anything remotely resembling intelligence on Rocker's part, and for the questions it raises about a society that can produce such a vile mind. It's only a matter of time before he directs his wrath toward another minority group and further disgraces the game of baseball. It's time to boot this guy from the great American Pastime.
3. Ty Cobb (78 letters)
He left his spike marks in every second baseman he ever played against, he was an ardent racist, and generally just a mean guy. By all accounts, if good citizenship were a prerequisite for the Hall, he would have had no chance.
4. Rickey Henderson (69 letters)
Rickey Henderson is the poster child for selfishness. I truly believe he has no idea what is going on during plays that do not involve him directly ... and even then he might not care unless he can use it to set a record. It is hard to believe there could be a more self-centered player in baseball than Rickey Henderson. If he does not top this list, he will probably give it just enough effort next time for the win.
Fort Pierce, Fla.
5. Paul O'Neill (57 letters)
For his uncanny ability to argue every strike call against him. He won't be happy 'til a pitcher throws him a pacifier.
Rochester, N.H. The man whines more than a nursery full of newborns. The ultimate indignity ocurred earlier this year when he hit a fly ball to right, screamed an obscenity, threw his bat like a child, and then watched sheepishly as the ball floated over the right-field wall.
6. Barry Bonds (52 letters)
Just a gigantic jerk. Once while in Pittsburgh, he refused to sign a ball to be auctioned off for Children's Hospital. They had to buy one from QVC and get all the other players to sign it! Un-freakin'-believable.
New Kensington, Penn. What's the difference between God and Barry Bonds?
7. Albert Belle (36 letters)
Let's see ... what makes Albert Belle so easy to hate? How about the time he was suspended for hitting a heckler in the chest with a ball? Or the time he chased trick-or-treaters off his property in an SUV? Or how about his profanity-laced tirade at Hannah Storm on live TV? If only he would cork his mouth like he did his bats.
Fort Smith, Ark. In the second game of a double header at Fenway park in the mid-1990s, Albert Belle twice performed the most arrogant and childish acts I've ever seen on a baseball field. After retrieving a foul ball, Belle waved the ball at fans in the left-field grandstands who had been hassling "Joey" all day. He then proceeded to throw the ball over the Green Monster. I found it strange that a player would want to waste any energy in the second leg of a long Sunday doubleheader just to show up a few hecklers. As if that wasn't enough, the next foul ball to come down the line yielded the same exact result. Foul ball, jerk gets ball, jerk waves ball, jerk throws ball over big wall, jerk smiles to himself like an idiot. You could tell even his teammates were thinking "Man is this guy a jerk or what?" I hate him. I even hate him more than Roger Clemens! And that's saying a lot coming from a Sox fan!
The quote is worth remembering.
8. Pete Rose (35 letters)
I can't believe that after all this time there is still a Pete Rose cult of personality. To begin with, he's the most overrated professional athlete of all time. Defensively, he was the Bobby Bonilla of his day. He could play almost any position -- poorly. As far as hitting goes, when he broke Ty Cobb's career hit record, Mickey Mantle reputedly observed, "Weren't most of them singles?" Since Rose was banned from baseball, not one of his former teammates has spoken out in his defense. Not one. Why? He was a selfish, arrogant jerk. Everybody loves to point to his All-Star Game collision with Ray Fosse as an indication of what a "hard-nosed" player he was, but look at it more closely, and you'll see it was an indication of how dirty he was. All he had to do was slide. But he took out Fosse, even though Fosse wasn't obstructing the bag. He ended the man's career for no reason. He stayed on as a player manager so he could insert himself in meaningless games to pad his hits total. When he was trying to break Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak, he would bunt late in games in situation where a bunt was flagrantly inappropriate. He wanted to get a hit -- who cared whether his team won?
9. Roberto Alomar (24 letters)
The spit heard 'round the world.
10. Dave Kingman (20 letters)
I thought for sure he'd be on the list. Even though he played before I started watching, he just seemed to have this disdain for the game, and anyone/anything associated with it, playing with a perpetual sneer on his face just for the paycheck. Maybe this explains why he hit 400 home runs, but is still no where near the Hall.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Dishonorable mention: Reggie Jackson, Vince Coleman, Deion Sanders, Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry.
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