11 Baseball Legends Who Were Legendary Assholes
Baseball is as synonymous with America as mom, apple pie, and morbid obesity, which probably goes hand in hand with the apple pie. We've all heard the names Ruth, DiMaggio, Aaron, these are the legends of the game who inspire us with awe and wonder.
However, with any group there's sure to be a certain number of assholes, and baseball is no different. Maybe a little worse, in fact.
First known as one of the great power hitters of the 80s and 90s, there are some who now call Jose Canseco the "Woodward and Bernstein" of the Steroids Scandal because of his tell-all book Juiced. While he did shed some light on an important issue, there is one distinct difference: Woody and the B-Dog wrote their book because they wanted to bring a corrupt President to justice because they were great journalists. Canseco wanted to make some money ratting out his old buddies because he's a douche.
If, for even a moment, you held on to a shred of possibility it wasn't all about the money, that was blown out of the water when he decided to write a second book which "had stuff" on the likes of A-Rod and Junior Griffey, two players who have never shown up in any steroids investigation. This means one of two things: Canseco was making shit up because he's a dick, or he willingly held out the most surprising allegations from his first book in favor of turning his best friends in first, which makes him an even bigger dick.
"Raise your hand if you're a dick."
It's hard to believe that this is the same guy who once saved a woman and all her appliances from a burning building. Sure, that was an episode of The Simpsons, but it's about the only good thing Canseco has ever done in his life. Canseco's penchant for douchery extends beyond the realms of using steroids to cheat at baseball, connecting other people to steroids so they too could cheat, then turning them all in for a fat paycheck.
Both of his wives have cited him for domestic violence, and both later divorced him. His second marriage was the classic American love story; boy meets girl working at Hooters, boy marries girl, boy hits girl, boy is arrested and put on probation, girl divorces boy, girl poses in Playboy using his last name. If those kids couldn't make it work, what chance do the rest of us have?
There's more to the story, like when he tried to blackmail Magglio Ordonez into giving him money to keep his name out of his second book. We emailed Bob Woodward to see if he ever tried blackmailing Gerald Ford, but he didn't get back to us. The Canseco saga does have a happy ending though. Jose recently lost a "celebrity" boxing match to former NFL player Vai Sikahema in which Canseco was knocked out in the first round. Now if there was only some way we could make that happen seven or eight hundred more times we'd be good.
Comiskey is best known for being the former owner of the Chicago White Sox, and for their field which was named after him, before it was changed to U.S. Cellular Field in honor of Ulysses Stanton Cellular.
However, back in the day, he was best known for being a miserably cheap bastard. It stands to reason that if you own a professional sports team, you have a shitload of money, and if you spend that money to buy a sports team, something that is utterly frivolous, it stands to reason that to cheap out on running that team makes you quite the douchebag. It's just logic.
Charlie Comiskey was one such douchebag, paying his players substandard wages in a time before free agency, when they had no choice but to accept them. He promised one of his pitchers a $10,000 dollar bonus if he won thirty games in a season, but benched him right before he could reach that mark, preferring to save the money at the risk of losing some games. Also he wouldn't pay for his player's laundry. To reiterate, he bought a professional sports team, built them a stadium, then decided he'd rather they look like hobos than pay for laundry.
Of course, his stinginess ended up leading to the Black Sox Scandal, in which his team threw the World Series for cash. Cash, that one can presume went toward not smelling like shit.
John McGraw was a decent player, but as a manager he was a well-known innovator and is credited with inventing the hit and run. He also is credited with being a mean-spirited prick.
Gentlemanly conduct was a foreign concept to McGraw, who as a third baseman was known for his aggressive and undeniably immature ways of stifling opposing runners. Have you ever played with a drunk friend at a softball game who thought it'd be funny to trip people when they were running the bases and tug on people's shirts to keep them from leaving the base? Well that was McGraw, all the time, and there's a very real possibility he wasn't even drunk when he did it.
It's unfortunate that the only available pictures of McGraw show him shaking hands.
As a manager he was just as big of a douche, constantly picking fights with anybody he could, including the fans, who would in turn throw rocks and bottles at the players. The players had to get pelted with dangerous objects just because they played for this guy.
He seemed to embrace being a manager purely because it gave him a chance to wage psychological warfare on the players under him (one coach on the Giants said McGraw "...eats gunpowder every morning for breakfast and washes it down with warm blood.")
See? That doesn't make him look like a dick at all. Clever, McGraw.
McGraw actually held one major league record that stood for 75 years: the most times getting kicked out of a game. Between his time as a player and a manager, an incredible 131 times umpires decided McGraw was just acting like too much of an ass to stay on the field.
John McGraw: great at managing, even better at being a dick.
Remember when Roger Clemens was known for being a great pitcher, perhaps one of the best of all time, and the worst thing anybody had to say against him was that one time he threw a piece of a bat at Mike Piazza? We bet Roger longs for those days.
Some think Clemens' legacy has been tainted by steroids even moreso than Barry Bonds'. First came the adamant denials about steroid use, including such delicious bon mots along the lines of "If I had been using steroids I'd be pulling tractors with my teeth and have a third ear growing out of my forehead" a statement that, while asinine and condescending, also blew our fucking minds with it's utter lack of logic.
Clemens then threw one of his best friends (and steroid supplier) Brian MacNamee under the bus, even taping a conversation with him to save his own ass (it didn't). Oh, also there were all the affairs he's had including one with the wife of professional golfer/beer drinker John Daly and one with country singer Mindy McCready that started when she was fifteen.
We do think Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame, if there is in fact a Hall of Fame for douchebags somewhere.
Yawkey owned the Boston Red Sox from 1933-1976 and the street which Fenway Park resides on is named in his honor, a tribute to a man of fortitude and conviction. Unfortunately, one of those convictions was blind, fervent racism.
Yawkey has the distinction of being the last owner to integrate his ball club, when he reluctantly let Pumpsie Green put on the Red Sox uniform and stroll out onto the field in 1959, which, to be fair to Yawkey, was a mere 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. That's just a smidge over a decade, right?
"Look, Honey, a Negro. Gross, right?"
That's what earns Yawkey the title of one of the biggest assholes in the Baseball Hall of Fame: determination. Ridiculous, sad, racism-fueled determination. For you see, while other teams were integrating and providing themselves with the best collection of athletes possible, Yawkey stuck with the same old white guys that had worked so well at not winning him a single World Series all those years.
They had been at the very least a contender in the salad days of segregation. Once other teams started to incorporate black players in their line up, the Red Sox started a precipitous fall down the standings board. Lesser racists would have seen the writing on the wall, or perhaps mustered up some simple human decency and accepted the fact that these black players were just as good as their white counterparts.
However, good ol' Tommy rose above all that and proceeded to keep his team the way it was, and the Red Sox proceeded to finish 10+ games out of first place from 1950 until 1966. For sticking to his racist guns at the cost of his team's success, truly Tom Yawkey is worthy of the the title "Douchebaggiest Owner in Baseball History".
Today, mustache aficionado Keith Hernandez is probably best known now as a hair dye spokesperson and for the two-part Seinfeld where he almost banged Elaine. However, before that he was a five time all star, 1979 NL co-MVP, and perhaps the best fielding first basemen of all time. Also he loved him some nose candy.
Yes, Mr. Hernandez was known for his use of the cocaine which led to his involvement in the famed Pittsburgh drug trials. Of course his own substance abuse doesn't make him an asshole, but his destructive influence on young Mets teammates Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry sure does. You may remember Gooden and Strawberry as the talented young stars whose bright careers were derailed by drug and alcohol abuse. You know what probably contributed to that? Hernandez telling Strawberry the best way to break out of a slump is to go out and get shitfaced.
Hernandez didn't stop being a dick when his career ended though. In 2006 he was calling a game between the Mets and Padres when he happened to spy Padres team massage therapist Kelly Calabrese in the dugout. Keith's response? "I won't say women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout." It's true Keith doesn't think women belong in the kitchen. He thinks they belong in his bedroom, feeding him slices of papaya, when not servicing him sexually of course.
Needless to say, Hernandez's comment caused a bit of an uproar, but to be fair he apologized. Apologized by saying "You know I am only teasing. I love you gals out there, always have." You stay classy, Keith.
While probably the least well-known person on this list to the casual baseball fan, Urbina was still a solid player, racking up 234 career saves, winning a World Series in 2003, then retiring to his native Venezuela where he sat on a rocking chair on his patio, drinking sweet tea, and committing attempted murder. Yes, attempted murder.
For you see, one day Ugueth had a bit of a scuffle with five farm workers on his property, and well things got a little bit heated. So what was Urbina to do? Why, grab a machete and start chopping some motherfuckers, that's what. While the machete approach proved unfruitful, Urbina was a determined man and he remembered the old adage: If at first you don't succeed (to brutally murder people with a machete) try, try again (by means of attempting to set them on fire).
That's right, the big U (as we imagined he would like to be called) decided to bust out some gasoline and started dousing his enemies. His fleeing, terrified enemies. However, Urbina proved to be better at closing baseball games than murdering people, and the men got away.
"My only regret is that I didn't kill those farm workers."
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending as Urbina is currently serving a 14 year prison sentence, which he clearly deserves.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis:
You would think a man who had Mountain for a middle name would be pretty badass, but you'd be wrong. Oh, he was ornery for sure, but badass, no dice. Unless you just drank a shot of paint thinner, you'll remember the Charlie Comiskey entry. Well, the man who is responsible for the lifetime ban of every member of the 1919 Chicago White Sox? Commissioner Landis, of course. Even when it became obvious that some of the members were innocent of any wrongdoing, Landis refused to reinstate them. And if you thought that was the worst thing he ever did, you haven't heard his motto: Tough on gambling, tougher on black people.
Landis is probably the main reason the color line stayed in baseball for as long as it did. He was baseball's first commissioner, serving from 1920-1944, and he picked up right where he left off as a judge, when he got black boxer Jack Johnson banned from boxing for life for transferring a white woman over state lines.
Many times people petitioned Landis to allow black players in the major leagues, and every time Landis voted it down, then presumably leaned back in his throne of skulls and drank the blood of kittens. Mercifully, his tyrannical reign came to an end in 1944 the way all tyrant reigns end; with his death.
Less than three years later, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and Landis has been spinning in his (hopefully urine-soaked from angry black people pissing all over it) grave ever since. It seems a tragedy for a man with a name so awesome to be such an enormous asshole, but such are the ironies of life.
Schott will live on in baseball infamy because of one phrase, her little pet name for her black players: Million Dollar "N-words". Of course, she didn't have the tact or simple human decency to censor the phrase as such.
Other than on the field however, no black people were allowed to be hired by the organization. Not one. Her racism wasn't saved for just black people, however. She also had it out for the Jews, and she even admitted to owning a Nazi armband, and didn't see a problem with it, and also said she didn't see why the racist slur "Jap" is offensive.
Quick posthumous tip for you, Margie: Want to know why the phrase is offensive? Because Japanese people are offended by it, you horrible, horrible bitch.
Enough offenses for you? No? OK, howsabout this; she wouldn't let her players wear earrings because "only fruits wear earrings." Probably the least egregious thing she ever did in her life was let her St. Bernard, Schotzie, run around on the field all it damn well pleased, which of course led to big steaming piles of dog shit being left on the field.
Seriously, Reds players often complained about having to avoid stepping in dog shit while playing in professional baseball games. When one of the nicer things you ever did in your life was make your players play on a dog shit-laden field, you truly deserve the title of one of the biggest assholes in baseball history.
You knew he'd show up here eventually.
The breaking of an all-time record is usually a joyous thing. It makes grown men cry, women swoon, and dogs hump trees like there is no tomorrow. So what happened when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, perhaps the most hollowed record in ALL of sports, not just baseball? A lot of people got pissed. That's how much Barry Bonds is hated.
There are two universal truths people know about Barry Bonds; One, he is the face of the steroids era and two, he is a huge dick to pretty much everybody. Barry is known to be one of the worst teammates possible and openly hostile with the media. In college, he feuded with teammates and his manager. In Pittsburgh, he feuded with teammates and his manager. In San Francisco he was given essentially half the locker room to himself and big comfy recliner chairs out of the hope he wouldn't bitch.
When Bonds is not enjoying being a totally arrogant dick to teammates and reporters, he likes to spend his down time with his family. Or his mistress, Kimberly Bell, whom he had an affair with from 1994 until 2003, which means it started about the time he divorced his first wife, left him undeterred from getting married in 1998, and kept on keeping on. In Barry's defense though, at least he was nice enough to buy her a house in Arizona. So he had a place to bang her.
Now, you may be asking, "Well this is all fine and dandy, but do you have any crazy anecdotes that make Bonds seem incredibly immature to the point of pyschosis?" To which we retort, do we ever!
In the 2001 off season, Gary Sheffield decided to take up Barry on an offer to work out with him, particularly because Barry told Sheffield he had a regimen that would help save him from injuries. Hard work and vitamins? No you silly goose, he was talking about steroids, giving cute little nick names like "the cream", "the clear", and "red beans".
However, the fun was just beginning. Apparently, Bonds insisted Gary not bring his own car. Then, after he arrived, Bonds would intentionally leave Sheffield stranded at the house. No big deal, right? Probably just a misunderstanding. Gary just rented a car.
Bonds was furious. Why? Don't ask us, we're not fucking crazy. But for whatever reason, Sheffield having gained a means of transportation caused Bonds to flip out, and he locked Sheffield out of the house. We're not completely sure what Bonds was planning for their stay together, but the apparent plot to imprison an all-star baseball player in his home makes us picture something from the movie Misery.
What's there about this man that wasn't detestable? During his career he stole a lot of bases, which is impressive. Of course, the fact that he sharpened his metal cleats and was not shy about gouging them into a man's leg if they got in his way of stealing a base probably helped out a tad on that front.
Then of course, there was the racism, which to be fair was no more virulent than your average southern folk back in the day, and certainly we have let the repulsively racist actions of those in the past slide in favor of other attributes on the occasion in the country (see Jefferson, Thomas). Plus, there is a distinct chance he fixed a game or two in his day.
But what makes this racist douchebag stand out amongst the rest of the racist douchebags who used to plague the sport? How many of them can claim they once violently beat up a man with no hands? None of them, we imagine. That's right, you read that correctly and we'll say it again for emphasis: Ty Cobb once beat up a man with no hands.
Above: The eyes of a madman.
Said man, named Claude Lueker who had lost one hand and three fingers of his other in an industrial accident was giving Cobb a hard time from the stands. If you've ever been to a professional sports event, you have heard some drunk moron yelling things so heinous you begin to wonder if you are even the same species. However, to the players' credit, they manage to keep their cool. Mr. Lueker then accused Mama Cobb of being *gasp* half-black. This was enough to send Cobb into the stands ready to kick some severely handicapped ass.
As onlookers begged him to stop pummeling a man with no hands, Cobb retorted, "I don't care if he has no feet" which proved Cobb had a quick wit to go along with a soul as black as coal. Needless to say, Cobb was suspended by baseball. Inexplicably, his teammates refused to play another game until Cobb was reinstated. We guess it's not too unreasonable. Sure, he was a miserable, racist bastard who had beaten up a man with no hands, but he was their miserable, racist bastard who had beaten up a man with no hands.
For some folks with balls that manage to make Jose Canseco's look even smaller than they probably are, check out The 7 Ballsiest Sports Cheats. Or find out about the sporting event of the century in Dan O'Brien's post: Unknown Blogger To Challenge Google to Death Race.