Mention the word "steroid," and baseball fans slam the doors to their glass houses. But, the truth is that America's pastime has long been associated with abominable behavior. Baseball history reads like the script of the greatest reality television show ever produced.
We're not even talking about the usual suspects, either. You know the ones: the 1919 Black Sox fixing the World Series, Pete Rose betting on baseball, Barry Bonds ... being Barry Bonds. No, look farther into the back of major league baseball's deep, dank closet-behind the steroid skeletons, beyond the bench-clearing brawls-that's where the most curious behavior in baseball history resides.
Claim to infamy: Beat up a one-handed heckler in the stands
Story: We've all been there, haven't we? Suffering endless abuse and catcalls from that one-handed coworker, who's constantly criticizing and pointing out our flaws with an accusing finger from his good hand. But out of respect for their one-handedness, we rise above it. Because deep down, we know that fighting a one-hander is pretty much a lose-lose situation. If you win, you're "That Guy Who Beat Up One-Handed Ned From Marketing." And, if you lose, well "¦ have you considered maybe hitting the gym a bit more?
Unlike us mere mortals, though, Ty Cobb took one look at his one-handed heckler and decided to hell with the consequences: Stumpy was going down. On May 15, 1912, Claude Lueker, missing one hand (along with three fingers of the other), heckled Detroit Tigers outfielder Cobb for three entire innings. That's when Cobb leapt into the stands and gave Claude the beating of his two-fingered life. Luckily for Cobb, this was 1912. What we wouldn't give to see the media shitstorm that'd result if a ballplayer beat seven kinds of shit out of a handicapped guy in full view of everyone in the middle of a game, today.
Claim to infamy: Among other things, raised his dukes to one of his baby-mommas
Story: Baseball enthusiasts love to talk statistics, so take a look at Tampa Bay's Elijah Dukes. Since age 13, he's been arrested six times, impregnated a 17-year-old foster child (classy), spawned five children with four different women-one of whom he later threatened to kill-and fought with any manager or teammate he's ever come in contact with.
These would be impressive stats for a lifetime career felon; you really have to applaud in wonder that Dukes managed to accomplish all this before age 23, with a long, doubtlessly embarrassing career ahead of him. Assuming Dukes can stay healthy and isn't forced to seek psychological help at some point for his misanthropic, profoundly unbalanced behavior, we project sportswriters in the year 3007 will still be talking about deviant Dukes as the most notorious athlete of the millennium.