In the past couple of months we’ve endeavored to cover the most despised athletes in the NFL, NBA and NHL.
The Big 4, though, isn’t complete without a compendium of the most reviled characters in major league baseball — and there have been many of them.
The reasons they are hated are myriad. The list goes from, but is not limited to: substance abuse and lying about it; dirty play; being good and letting everyone know about; being greedy; stiffing fans; acting like a prima donna; and being a lazy, shiftless no-account ball player.
The grandfather of all loathed players has to be Ty Cobb. He makes this list easily, based on the fact he was an avowed racist, a “spikes up” runner and a guy who generally hated everyone and got back the same in kind.
Without further ado, here are every major league baseball team’s most hated players (some have multiple), starting with the American League — with a couple of surprises thrown in.
30. Toronto Blue Jays – Jose Bautista, David Wells and Shea Hillenbrand
While Jose Bautista is generally reviled in baseball circles for being a showboat (more on him later), there is precedent in Toronto for hot-headed and hated ball players. David Wells, who pitched for the Jays early in his career, became a detested man in T.O. for not quite living up to his potential by being lazy. That is, he was only so-so in six seasons with the Bluebirds, but went on to pitch very well elsewhere. Shea Hillenbrand, who played a fairly successful season and a half in Toronto (he was an all-star for them in 2005), was considered a “cancer” in every locker room he entered in the big leagues, including Boston, Arizona, San Francisco, the Angels and the Dodgers. He will be forever remembered for a feud he had with the team before they traded him in 2006, when he wrote “Play for yourselves” on the team whiteboard. Bautista is now the Jays most hated player, not by his own fans, but every major league team he has played against. The “bat flip” in the 2015 playoffs sums up his showboat persona — and led to that nasty fight with the Rangers’ Rougned Odor in 2016.
29. New York Yankees – Alex Rodriguez And Reggie Jackson
In the history of baseball, not many have been more loathsome than Alex Rodriguez. Ever the prima donna, the superstar third baseman should have been given Phil Mickelson’s nickname of FIGJAM (F–k I’m Good Just Ask Me). Despite all the home runs (696 of them) the three MVP awards and the monster contract, A-Rod was a cheater, using steroids and then having the temerity to lie about it. Yanks fans have to hold some hate in their heart for A-Fraud, who was suspended for a whole season and part of another before retiring during a sub-par season on 2016. He was also rarely gracious with fans until later in his career and usually surly with the media that didn’t fawn over him, a la Barry Bonds. Before Rodriguez happened on the scene, former slugging legend Reggie Jackson was the object of derision in the Bronx. The man who hit three famous home runs in one World Series game was a noted smack talker and self-aggrandizing showboat who just about everyone inside and out of the Yanks hated.
28. Baltimore Orioles – Rafael Palmeiro
Nothing gets a baseball player more hated than for using PEDs, and then denying it under oath. Palmeiro, who hit 569 career homers (223 of them for the O’s) should be enshrined in Cooperstown. However, this statement to a Congressional panel on March 17, 2005, later proved false because of a failed test for the use of Stanozolol, will pretty much keep him out indefinitely: “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.” And then, after failing the test for the banned substance on Aug. 1, 2005, Palmeiro never did offer up a viable explanation for it. Not only that, but he threw teammate Miguel Tejada under the bus, suggesting his positive test was the result of Tejada providing him an supplement, thought to be Vitamin B12. Palmeiro, who was outed by noted steroid abuser Jose Canseco (he’s here too, spoiler alert) in 2005, was also named in the Mitchell Report in 2007 as one of many PED abusers in major league baseball.
27. Tampa Bay Rays – Carl Crawford
One could say that Crawford was as much hated for leaving the Rays as for his time playing Boston, which he later said was a “mistake.” But first to his playing days at “the Trop.” The speedster led the AL in triples and stolen bases four times each in his nine seasons to start his career with Tampa, also earning serious MVP consideration during his final campaign in 2010. He hit a career high .307 that season, along with an AL leading 13 triples as well as a career high 19 homers and 90 RBI. He was an all-star for the fourth time that year and earned his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. But, he washed away all the good will and good feelings he generated in Tampa by going for the big bucks with Boston (where have we heard that before?), instead of leading a very good, but not quite as rich, Rays team to a potential championship. Of course, many teams hated Crawford for his swagger, including Red Sox Nation, and in 161 games there over two seasons, he stunk the joint out. Crawford’s greed came back to bite him and he was never the same after his outstanding 2010 year.
26. Boston Red Sox – Bill Buckner, Pablo Sandoval, Manny Ramirez And Pedro Martinez
We could write a veritable book on how many Red Sox players have been hated through the years. Not the first to be hated — and certainly not the last — was poor old Bill Buckner. Red Sox Nation eventually forgave him (though it took a World Series championship 18 years later to do it) for his five-hole error in 1986 that paved the way for a Red Sox collapse in the World Series. Pedro Martinez would later be hated, especially in New York, for man-handling senior citizen Don Zimmer in the 2003 ALCS after beaning Yanks outfielder Karim Garcia with high heat. Martinez’ teammate during the glory years was Manny Ramirez, who, when not electrifying the faithful with big hits, infuriated Red Sox Nation by being lazy defensively, failing to run out ground ball outs and just playing up to the schtick of “Manny Being Manny.” These days, the object of scorn is Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval. The Rolly-Polly third sacker never met a buffet table he didn’t like and would eventually play himself off the roster for having a gut that would make Homer Simpson proud.
25. Chicago White Sox – A.J. Pierzynski And Ozzie Guillen
Not two players for any other team actually wanted to be hated like Pierzynski and Guillen. The prickly Pierzysnki gets special mention here, notably for a popular story that circulated about him early in his career. After getting struck in the groin during a spring training game with the San Francisco Giants, he was asked by the White Sox trainer how he felt. Pierzynski, who riled up opponents, his own pitching staff and fans alike by being a constant smack talker, reportedly said, “like this,” and kneed the trainer in the groin. There was no love lost from Chicago Cubs fans either, who engaged in some Schadenfreude after A.J. was clocked by Cubs catcher Michael Barrett after trying to run over Barrett at home plate in an infamous interleague game last decade. Fittingly, Pierzynski’s manager with the White Sox for seven of his eight seasons was none other than former player and motormouth Ozzie Guillen. Guillen actually loved being hated and never quite knew when to shut up, infamously calling Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti by an unprintable homophobic slur.
24. Cleveland Indians – Albert Belle
Other than a severe championship drought, the Cleveland Indians have had to put up with lackadaisical efforts from supposed stars over the years, none more so than Albert “Joey” Belle. Add to that the fact he was universally loathed for being petty with the media and cheating to gain an edge. In 1994, Belle was enjoying a second straight MVP worthy season when it was discovered he was using a corked bat. Not only that, but he enlisted the help of teammate Jason Grimsley to break into a locked umpire’s room to retrieve said corked bat, earning a seven-game suspension. Later in his tenure with the Indians, Belle kept up his bad boy ways, including chasing down and hitting with his car some trick-or-treating vandals who egged his house. Belle also topped giving interviews with reporters before games, including the 1995 World Series. When asked to apologize, he basically told the team to stick it. His reputation as a “surly jerk” as one New York scribe described him, was not unwarranted.
23. Minnesota Twins – Chuck Knoblauch
Former Twins second baseman Chuck put the “knob” in Knoblauch. Chosen in the first round of the 1989 draft by Minnesota, Knoblauch won Rookie of the Year in 1991, as well as a World Series ring. A great contact hitter and deft base stealer, Knoblauch was also an all-star in four of his seven seasons with the Twins. However, he would catch the ire of Minnesota fans by very publicly campaigning for a trade out of the Twin Cities in 1997. Since he was dealt to the hated New York Yankees, Metrodome fans jeered him on every return and even threw hot dogs, beer bottles and golf balls his way during one particular visit in 2001. Twins’ fans would get their revenge later in his career when his arm got a case of the “yips” and his once vaunted bat went stone cold. Post-baseball career, he was also cited for using Human Growth Hormones in the Mitchell Report and in 2014, the Twins cancelled his induction into the team’s Hall of Fame after he was charged with assaulting his ex-wife Cheri.
22. Detroit Tigers – Ty Cobb And Juan Gonzalez
Two very different players in two very different Detroit Tiger eras elicited a whole lot of anger from opponents, teammates and fans alike. The Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb, was never warm and fuzzy like his moniker and is arguably the most hated sports figure of all-time. The future Hall of Famer was an unabashed racist who got along with no one, including his teammates, later dying rich but pretty much friend-less. He played the game hard, too hard most would say, often sliding into bases with his spikes up to injure his foes. He said of himself once, “In legend I am a sadistic, slashing, swashbuckling despot who waged war in the guise of sport.” Some 74 years after Cobb played his last game in the Motor City, two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez played one very forgettable year with the Tigers. Even though the Tigers offered him a rich contract extension during that 2000 season, Gonzalez was mostly lacklustre in 115 games, hitting 37 points below his career best .326 average a year earlier with Texas and playing ineffective defence. Juan Gone is considered by fans to be the most reviled Tiger ever, even more so than Cobb.
21. Kansas City Royals – Neifi Perez and Yordano Ventura
Lying about his age was one thing, but Neifi Perez’s indifferent play during his 194-game stint with Kansas City was entirely another. In terms of playing for the Royals, Perez quickly became detested particularly since he was brought in from the Colorado Rockies at the expense of dealing fan favorite Jermaine Dye. Perez hit well below his career average and made far too may errors in the field to make up for his miserable performance at the dish. And, to compound matters, Neifi lied about his age before his career started, making himself out to be two years younger in order to sign a free agent contract. Ventura, who died tragically in a car accident earlier this year, was hated by other American League ball clubs for inciting bench-clearing incidents during his brief career. In 2015, he was involved in three separate altercations over three consecutive starts. The first time, a stare-down with MVP Mike Trout resulted in some testiness and then on the second occasion, he intentionally hit Oakland A’s 3B Brett Lawrie, earning a fine. On the last occasion, Ventura got a seven-game suspension for a brawl with Chicago.
20. Texas Rangers – Rougned Odor And Kenny Rogers
Toronto Blue Jays fans probably spit in disgust every time they hear the name “Rougned Odor.” The fiery Venezualan took exception to fellow hated player Jose Bautista’s home run and subsequent bat flip that sealed the Rangers’ doom during the 2015 ALDS. So much so that during the Jays first visit to Texas in 2016, Odor ignited a brawl by violently punching Bautista in the face after the Blue Jays’ outfielder slid into him during a double play. Even though he served a seven-game suspension for his actions, Odor is still public enemy no. 1 in Toronto and no doubt despised elsewhere for being a cocky player. Former pitcher Kenny Rogers is probably still hated in media circles in Texas for the shameful display he put on at the formerly named Ameriquest Field in Arlington on June 29, 2005. During the pre-game warm-up, Rogers shoved two cameramen, knocking a camera to the ground. He then shoved one of the cameramen again, hard enough the man had to be taken to the hospital. Rogers was fined $50,000 and suspended 20 games and then later charged with assault.
19. Oakland A’s – Jose Canseco And Rickey Henderson
Before we get to Canseco, Rickey Henderson gets special mention as a reviled player for always speaking about himself and his exploits in the third person. As in, the all-time leader in stolen bases saying “Rickey played a great game today and Rickey feels good about it.” Every sentence uttered by the man who swiped an all-time high 1,406 bases began not with “I”, but “Rickey.” Oh, the hubris. But, Hendo’s bravado paled in comparison to Canseco’s ill-advised outing of any ball player he suspected used PEDs like he did. Canseco’s tell all book, “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits And How Baseball Got Big” earns him the title of the modern game’s most hated man. In it, Canseco said 85 percent of major leaguers abused PEDs (later disputed) and even named former teammates Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro as fellow PED users. Not only did he stain his own legacy with his revelations, but made himself a pariah in just about every big league ballpark. All this on top of being a lout who was arrested numerous times for infractions including cowardly assault of an ex-wife.
18. Seattle Mariners – Chone Figgins
For seven glorious seasons between 2004 and 2009, speedy utility man Chone Figgins put his name into MVP conversation for stealing 265 bases for the Los Angeles Angels, including a league leading 62 in 2005. As with any player convinced of his own greatness like Figgins was, he bolted L.A. for a fat four-year, $36 million deal in December 2009. In 2010, he was converted to second base from his customary third in L.A. and then the wheels fell off. The reliable hitter’s batting average tailed off to .259, which was far below the .298 he put up in his last season with the Angels. He did steal the same number of bases (42) for Seattle as he did in 2009 with L.A., but did not meet expectations in any way. The big money did not do him any favors, as his production continued to spiral downward and his butt more frequently nailed to the bench, to the chagrin of Mariners’ fans, who expected much, much more. He hit just .188 for the M’s in 2011 and sunk to .181 in 2012. He was out of baseball for good in 2014.
17. Houston Astros – Roger Clemens
We had to put Rocket Roger somewhere. And with the dearth of villains over the years in Houston, Clemens is a lock to join our list in an Astros’ uniform. The cocky alleged steroid user (and vindicated Congress liar) and his tarnished reputation were at their worst when he came out of “retirement” to sign with his hometown Astros in 2004. Clemens, who had the famous set-to with the Mets Mike Piazza while with the Yanks, continued to headhunt major leaguer batters he deemed crowding the plate too much. He also retired an un-retired (for the third time) to pitch for the Astros in 2006, for a massive $22 million (to match his uniform number). What chafed fans most about him, including those in Houston, were his sub-par performances in the playoffs. In eight post-season starts with Houston between 2004 and 2005, Clemens sported a 4-2 record and got donged for six homers and 39 hits in 41 innings, as well as issuing 15 walks.
16. Los Angeles Angels – Josh Hamilton
For as much as his recovery from being a drug addict and escaping homelessness was the feel good story 10 years ago, Josh Hamilton has done himself no favors the past few seasons with relapses and a downturn in play. After missing most games between 2003 and 2006 due to severe addiction to drugs, Hamilton was back in baseball triumphantly in 2007 with Cincinnati and after a move to the Texas Rangers, was AL MVP for a monster season in 2010. However, in 2013, he became persona non grata in Texas when he signed with hated division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. It was there that he his play went into the toilet — mainly due to a relapse — leading the Angels to release him after the 2014 season. Thus, he wasn’t just hated in conservative Texas, but also loathed in ultra-liberal La-la Land, which has known its share of drug-addled celebrities in the last century.
15. Philadelphia Phillies – Jonathan Papelbon And Dick Allen
Fitting that one of the most hated players in Philadelphia Phillies history was named Dick. Richard “Dick” Allen was a sullen and hard-drinking utility man known for being short with fans, media and teammates alike. He won Rookie of the Year with the Phillies in 1964 and played all-star caliber ball there until 1969. He also infamously got into a fight with former teammate Frank Thomas, which pretty much cemented his status as most hated in Philly. Baseball writers have long memories and it was probably his contentious relationship with the press that keeps him out of the Hall of Fame. Jonathan Papelbon, who for years was a premier closer in Boston, brought his less-than-stellar reputation for rubbing teammates the wrong way to the City of Brotherly Love. It was there that he continued his dominance in the late innings, until the Phillies sunk to the bottom of the standings in 2015, causing him to pout and ask for trade out of town.
14. Washington Nationals – Bryce Harper
Speaking of Jonathan Papelbon, it was he who tried to choke out the hated Bryce Harper during a game in 2015. Harper, who is hated by other clubs for being an anointed superstar, has a mercurial temper and often complains strike calls with umpires, getting ejected more than once for petulant tantrums. In 2015, Papelbon thought it not too cool that Harper failed to run out a pop out during the eighth inning of a game against Philadelphia. After the two exchanged words, Papelbon wrapped his hands around the soon-to-be MVP’s neck and tried to put him into unconsciousness. Known to be a tad immature, Harper has shown signs he disrespects the game, calling it boring in an offhanded way not that long a go. As well, Harper’s mediocre performance in three playoff appearances (.211 average, 17 strikeouts in 66 plate appearances) can’t be viewed favorably by the Nats’ faithful.
13. New York Mets – Dave Kingman And Vince Coleman
The Mets have had a few unlikable players since joining the league over 50 years ago, with the above-named trio being unique in their detestable ways. Dave “Kong” Kingman has the (in)distinction of being the first player to hit over 400 homers (442 to be exact) and not be eventually voted into the Hall of Fame. Why do we mention this? Well, Kingman was a free swinger who also struck out 1,816 times and was known to hate everything and anyone, which didn’t endear him to HoF voters, no doubt. Coleman, the NL Rookie of the Year in 1985 and quite a jerk, became one of the most detestable players of all-time for a stupid prank he pulled with the Mets in 1993. As he was sitting in a vehicle at Dodger Stadium after a 5-4 loss, Coleman tossed a firecracker into another vehicle, injuring three people, including a toddler.
12. Miami Marlins – Jeffrey Loria
This is the surprise we’re telling you about, since we couldn’t find a Marlins player hated enough to unseat universally reviled owner Jeffrey Loria. The man responsible for ruining the Expos and spiriting them out of Quebec has become just as hated in South Beach as he is north of the border. First, he dismantled the 2003 club after they won the World Series, dooming the team to years of mediocrity. He was also instrumental in the purge of 2012, when after a last-place finish, the team orchestrated a cost-saving trade with Toronto that shipped out most of the team’s stars, despite Loria’s stated intention of building a winner again. These days, the most hated owner in baseball, and quite possibly the most hated in any sport, has been rumored to speaking with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, about selling the team to his family. All this while the Trump administration mulled naming Loria to the ambassadorship in France (which would void the deal).
11. Atlanta Braves – David Justice And John Rocker
The Braves, for a while in the 90s, were the National League’s version of the ‘Evil Empire.’ They won a world Series in 1995 and appeared in four others, losing twice the real ‘Evil Empire’, the New York Yankees. Among the many stars on those teams was David Justice. He was a truly hated man, and not just for allegedly smacking around his ex-wife Halle Berry. The Braves all-star outfielder caused a stir in Hotlanta in 1995 by criticizing fans for their lack of support, before becoming a hero in the Braves ’95 championship. Later, he became a pariah among his peers by denying the use of PEDs, but turning canary on others he suspected of doing so. Then there was loudmouth closer John Rocker. He started his slippery slope to Hateville by making racist, sexist and homophobic remarks about New Yorkers during an interview with Sports Illustrated in 1999. He even called a Curacaoan teammate a “fat monkey.” His mouth, unfortunately, couldn’t cash the bad cheques he wrote on the mound, as his performance on the mound, which went into the toilet fast.
10. St. Louis Cardinals – Rogers Hornsby, Garry Templeton And The Fans
That other surprise we alluded to? Well, that would be St. Louis Cardinals fans — ostensibly the 10th man. Sure, the team has been very good since 2000, but the fans have been revoltingly unctuous in their support. So much so that most polls find them the worst in baseball. This line, from an article written about their fans, says it all, “They fancy themselves the best fans in baseball to such a degree that it’s become a punchline within baseball circles.” In terms of detested players, Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby jumped on the hate wagon 100 years ago. The Cards star infielder was notoriously humorless and was prickly to fans and teammates alike. He was also a rabble rouser when it came to contract negotiations later in his career, earning him a ticket out of the Gateway City in a trade. In the 1970s and early 1980s, shortstop Garry Templeton, a great hitter, didn’t ingratiate himself to Cards fans at all. During a game in August, 1981, he flipped the bird to some heckling fans after he failed to run to first after hitting a ground ball. He was pulled following the incident and traded later that season.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates – Dock Ellis
Pittsburgh Pirates fans loved former all-star hurler Dock Ellis. The rest of major league baseball’s followers, not so much — especially San Diego Padres fans. Why? Well, Ellis threw a no-hitter against their team on June 12, 1970. Now, a no-hitter isn’t all that shocking, but Ellis physical shape that day was. The day prior, Ellis visited a friend in Los Angeles and took some LSD. In his drugged out stupor, he took some more on the day of the game and had to be reminded by his friend’s girlfriend he had to be in San Diego to pitch that night. Ellis, who said he couldn’t even feel the ball or see the catcher clearly, got some great fielding and walked eight batters en route to the unlikely no-no. Here is an excerpt of his take on that wild night: “I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate.” Wow.
8. Chicago Cubs – Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano And Cap Anson
No, Steve Bartman is no longer the most hated man in Cubs Nation. With “the curse” lifted and the Cubs defending champions, we turn our attention to some loathsome fellows through Cubs history. Cap Anson, a Hall of Fame infielder/catcher with the Cubbies in the late 1800s, was probably the first really detested player in the history of the league. Anson was so racially intolerant, he would refuse to take the field if black players were opposing him. And it was his influence as a player that led to the racial segregation in the game that persisted until Jackie Robinson broke the barrer in the late 1940s. In the early part of the last decade, fiery all-star starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano became a detested player around the major leagues and eventually among Cubs teammates and fans. Once, he got into a brouhaha with catcher Michael Barrett (who famously punched out the hated A.J. Pierzynski) after Barrett allowed a passed ball and made an errant throw. That was just the beginning of his contentious relationship with the team. Later, Milton Bradley made a mockery of his playing time in the Windy City after signing a rich three-year contract in 2009. He was once told to leave the dugout by that pillar of restraint, manager Lou Piniella, after attacking a Gatorade cooler. Later that season, Bradley was suspended the remainder of the season for this ill-advised declaration to a reporter, “You understand why they [the Cubs] haven’t won in 100 years here.”
7. Cincinnati Reds – Pete Rose And Rob Dibble
Before he became somewhat of a sympathetic figure for admitting to betting on baseball and accepting his lifetime ban from the game (and non-inclusion in Cooperstown), Pete Rose was a generally disliked man on the field. His most famous transgression was the dirty takeout of catcher Ray Fosse in an all-star game that derailed Fosse’s promising career. Later, Charlie Hustle ignited a bench-clearing brawl during a game in the 1973 NLCS, when he made a hard slide at New York shortstop Bud Harrelson, who took exception and starting fighting with Rose. For sheer bad temper, Rose paled in comparison to closer Rob Dibble. The “Nasty Boy” reliever once pitched an “immaculate inning” for a save, using just nine pitches to strike out the side. However, the 1990 NLCS MVP had a real nasty streak, once igniting a brawl by hitting an opponent squarely in the back with a heater. In 1991, he was so incensed at nearly blowing a save, he threw a ball 400 feet into the centerfield seats, striking a female fan. And, like many a player, he infamously brawled with manager Lou Piniella in the clubhouse after a game in 1992.
6. Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun And Nyjer Morgan
The MVP that Ryan “the Hebrew Hammer” Braun won in 2011 will forever have an asterisk beside it, making him a hated man in baseball circles. The ultra-talented Brewers outfielder was a 30-30 man that year, hitting 41 homers and stealing 30 bases to easily win the NL MVP award. However, he failed a urine test after the season — it tested positive for PEDs — but was exonerated on a technicality when he appealed. Though vindicated, he was implicated in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013 but denied any dealings with Anthony Bosch’s infamous clinic. The league, though, wouldn’t believe his denial and levied a 65-game suspension on him, which he didn’t challenge (knowing he was guilty of using PEDs). Braun’s former teammate, Nyjer Morgan, became hated for other reasons. A two-sport athlete who was also good enough to play junior hockey for the Regina Pats, Morgan was a self-promoting agitator that opposing fans loathed to the max. Adding to his on-field antics, Morgan didn’t help his cause by giving himself the nickname “Tony Plush” and flashing a “T” sign every time he got on base.
5. Colorado Rockies – Mike Hampton
When the Colorado Rockies signed all-star southpaw starter Mike Hampton to a monster eight-year, $121 million contract in 2001 (the biggest ever to that point), it was hoped that he would eventually lead the Rockies to baseball glory. Well, the thin air at Coors Field put a damper on that. Hampton, a great hitting pitcher who won 22 games with Houston in 1999, was the most sought after free agent in late 2001, but didn’t do himself any favors by saying that he chose Colorado because of “the school system.” Incredulous baseball scribes would later mock him at every turn. When it finally got down to fulfilling that fat pact, Hampton was awful, except at the plate. In two seasons, he went 21-28 and had an unGodly ERA of 5.75 and surrendered 55 of his career 200 homers against. He also suffered control issues, but he did win two Silver Sluggers by hitting a collective .315 with 10 homers and 21 RBI. In the end, Rockies fans ended up despising him for lousy performance and the fact that it factored into him being traded after the 2003 season.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers – Chase Utley, John McGraw And Jeff Kent
We’ll start this one chronologically with the late John McGraw. An intemperate player nicknamed “Little Napoleon”, McGraw was a star in the early days of the Brooklyn Dodgers franchise. He, like hated Chicago Cubs player Cap Anson, was a dirty player who bent lax rules to his team’s benefit and his foes’ detriment. Before the use of multiple umpires on the basepaths, he was infamous for blocking runners on the basepaths. Later in the franchise’s history, all-star second baseman Jeff Kent, who feuded openly with widely hated Barry Bonds, became a loathsome character for shooting his mouth off. Dodgers nation was none too happy when Kent called out legendary broadcaster Vin Scully for being too talkative, while in a Dodgers’ uniform, no less. Lastly, Chase Utley takes the cake, even more so than McGraw, for being a dirty player widely despised by opposing fans in baseball. His infamous “rolling block” takeout slide that broke the leg of Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada during the 2015 NLDS led to MLB instituting a new rule banning such practice. Way to go, Chase.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks – Curt Schilling
Schilling has been making enemies inside and out of baseball for a long time now and pretty much destroying all the good feelings he generated with the whole “bloody sock” thing while helping Boston win a long awaited title in 2004. We could have put Curt on a number of teams here, but we picked the D-Backs because they have generally lacked villains. He got the ball rolling on hatred directed at him by arguing a called third strike and then damaging an innocent camera with his bat. Schilling also got into a verbal set-to with then MLB executive Sandy Alderson, who said Schilling was a whiner because he wasn’t getting calls on strikes off the plate while with Arizona (and throughout his career. Instead of taking the high road, though, a petulant Schilling responded that Alderson was “ignorant to the facts and ignorant about what I said.”
2. San Francisco Giants – Barry Bonds
In our estimation, no one is, or was, more reviled in baseball — or sports in general — than the surly Barry Bonds. His exclusion from enshrinement in Cooperstown, despite being baseball’s all-time home run leader, is as much about his alleged use of PEDs and the BALCO scandal as it was about his contentious relationship with the press, who ultimately decide whether he becomes a Hall of Famer. When describing Bonds and his demeanor during his playing days, words like “awesome” and “gracious” are never used. Instead, adjectives like “difficult”, “ungrateful” and “sour” are most often employed. To his credit, he later owned up to being an a-hole, but the stink from the whole steroid scandal and the asterisk beside his considerable home run total (762), still makes the seven-time NL MVP as hated a baseball player as any.
1. San Diego Padres – Jack Clark And Phil Nevin
The San Diego Padres, in general, aren’t at all disliked around the National League, since they rarely win and seldom include bad boys in their line-up. However, no team in baseball is without at least one detestable villain. Former all-star first baseman Phil Nevin, who became a hated man by Padres Nation with his constant complaints about PETCO Park. Specifically, he whined incessantly about the park’s size and its home-run robbing dimensions. In one infamous instance, he hit a double that he thought should have been a homer and when the inning ended he threw his helmet and glared menacingly in the direction of GM Kevin Towers’ box. While Nevin was loathed by Padres’ fans, former all-star first sacker Jack Clark was an aggressive instigator who would eventually be hated by his San Diego teammates — and the fan. His feud with superstar teammate Tony Gwynn was the icing on Clark’s loudmouth cake. Clark had the cajones to call the widely respected Gwynn “selfish” and saying, “No one bothers Tony Gwynn because he wins batting titles, but the Padres finish fourth or fifth every year.” After leaving the team in 1991, Clark couldn’t leave well enough alone, lambasting Gwynn and the fans with this remark, “Tony, he’s perfect for them. He just plays the whole thing up, and the town is so stupid that they can’t see.”