Team chemistry is essential in Major League clubhouses. The baseball season is a long, tedious journey – players travel all over North America, day-in and day-out for 162 games from February until September. Your teammates become your family and maintaining a healthy relationship with everyone is crucial to staying competitive. Often times however, the long baseball season takes it toll and turns into a soap opera. Teammates and coaches alike will clash over egos, style of play, frustration or salary disputes and develop a heated rivalry with people wearing the same jersey. The rivalry between teammates makes a difficult season ever harder, but let’s be real – it’s pretty entertaining. Let’s take a peak at the 15 pairs of teammates in baseball history who absolutely hated each other.
15 Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper
A team never wants to see teammates scrapping with each other, especially when it’s your franchise player tussling with an over-the-hill reliever. That’s exactly what happened on September 27, 2015 when frustrations boiled over during a tough season for Washington. With the game tied 4-4 versus the Phillies in the bottom of the eighth, Bryce Harper hit a shallow fly ball to left field and lazily jogged to first base. When the ball was easily caught, Harper lugged back to the dugout where Jonathan Papelbon, the Nationals’ reliever at the time, was waiting for him. Papelbon scolded Harper for not “running the ball out” to which you can see Harper mouth; “you’ve got to be kidding me.” Papelbon reacted by choking the All-Star outfielder and the Nationals’ bench mates quickly came to separate the two parties. Papelbon was sent out to pitch the 9th inning, gave up five runs and lost the game. He was subsequently suspended for the rest of the 2015 season and was greeted by nonstop boos and hisses from his National fans the following season. Don’t mess with the best there Jonathan.
14 Evan Longoria and BJ Upton
The Rays were a fantastic ball club when Joe Maddon was at the helm. They won the American League pennant in 2008, finished third a competitive division in 2009 and finished first in 2010. They had an incredible club of young, future MLB All-Stars highlighted by their franchise third basemen Evan Longoria and center fielder B.J. Upton (now known as Melvin Upton). This teammate feud was a case of two very talented young players clashing – Longo and Upton were both drafted in the first round; Evan drafted 3rd overall in 2006 and BJ was second overall in 2002 causing friction among who was the team’s leader. On June 27, 2010, amidst a fantastic season, tensions boiled over when Longoria called out Upton for lazily chasing after a double into the gap that turned into a triple. Upton reacted by exploding in the dugout and teammates had to forcefully separate the two young guns.
13 Brad Penny and Victor Martinez
It’s tough to see teammates scrap each other but it’s even tougher to see teammates scrap each other in the middle of inning, in the middle of the field, in broad daylight and in front of thousands of your home fans. Such was the case with pitcher Brad Penny and Victor Martinez on July 28, 2011. After giving up a single, a double and a triple in the top of the fourth inning against the Angels, catcher Victor Martinez approached the mound to talk to his struggling pitcher. Penny started barking at Martinez to get back behind the plate and V-Mart retaliated by yelling at him to listen to him. A long, awkward argument ensued that had to be broken up by Tigers’ pitching coach and fellow infielders. Penny was released the following season and never returned to his former major league form.
12 Justin Upton and Yonder Alonso
What’s with these Upton brothers? They don’t seem like the friendliest of sorts. Yonder Alonso and Justin Upton already had a history of dislike towards each other and it literally hit critical mass during an awkward confrontation in the dugout in a game on August 15, 2015. After getting tagged out at third following a base-running blunder, Upton returned to the dugout and threw his helmet towards the ground in anger. Instead of throwing his helmet on the ground however, it slipped out of his hand and hit Yonder Alonso in the head. Things got very childish and awkward afterwards and Alonso was removed from the game for concussion precautionary reasons. Upton left for Detroit the following year and Alonso went to Oakland. Kind of odd that a guy who makes his career throwing a baseball from the outfield couldn’t throw a helmet three and a half feet to the ground.
11 Billy Martin and Ed Whitson
Billy Martin always had a reputation of being a scapper. Firstly as a player but mostly as a manager. On September 22, 195 the Yankees returned to their hotel in Baltimore and a few of them lingered around at the lobby bar for some drinks. Yankee manager Billy Martin was there so too was starting pitcher Ed Whitson who Martin had skipped in the pitching rotation two days before. The two already didn’t like each other and alcohol added some fuel to the fire. Toss in the stress of trying to compete in the American League pennant and Martin’s famous temperament and you’ve got yourself a hefty brawl. Whitson kicked Martin in the arm, groin and head and Martin cracked Whitson’s rib and cut open his lip. Martin broke his arm and was subsequently fired at the end of the season.
10 Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson
“You never liked me and I never liked you.” Those aren’t words you want to hear from your star outfielder towards your team’s manager but such was the case for Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in regards to Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin (again). On June 18th in 1977, after failing to hustle after a single that turned into a double, Yankee manager Billy Martin replaced Jackson during a pitching change much to the surprise of Jackson and to the delight of the Fenway crowd. Upon returning to the dugout, Jackson called his manager some unfriendly names and Martin responded by attacking Jackson. Teammates and fellow coaches held back both sides. The scuffle led to Martin’s memorable quote “If a player shows up the club, I show up the player.” The two sides continued at each other’s necks for the remainder of the season but many credit the hatred as the fuel that won the Yankees the World Series that season.
9 Rob Dibble and Lou Piniella
Former manager Lou Piniella had a fiery temper. Former reliever Rob Dibble was known as one of “The Nasty Boys.” Hmm, how about putting them together on the Cincinnati Reds and see if they get along? The two hot-heads were not getting along and clashed over strategies during the season. Tensions boiled over during a game against the Atlanta Braves on September 17, 1992. After he wasn’t used in an important late-game situation during the pennant race, Dibble accused his manager of lying to him about his reasons. Piniella then accused Dibble of lying to him and fists started flying in the clubhouse with the cameras rolling. Who could have seen that one coming?
8 Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford
When Ty Cobb (left) started his illustrious baseball career with the Tigers in 1905, the 18 year-old was mentored by 25-year-old veteran Sam Crawford (right). With Cobb in center and Crawford in right, batting first and second in the lineup respectively, the two were backbones for the Detroit Tigers. As the season went on however, the two began to dislike each other. The rivalry got so intense that one of them would be happy when the other one had a bad game. The pair constantly argued over fly ball priority and Cobb apparently hit foul balls intentionally while Crawford was stealing so as to block him from recording stolen bases. Their hatred towards each other lasted thirteen seasons and spanned into retirement.
7 Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker
Okay, this feud is actually quite impressive. Johnny Evers (middle) was a second baseman for the Chicago Cubs and Joe Tinker (left) was the Cubbies’ shortstop. They are two-thirds of the famous “Tinker to Evers to Chance” double-play combination but their feud is what really surprises baseball fans. Despite their success at turning beautiful double plays, an argument over a taxi fare drove a wedge between the two middle infielders. They got in a fist fight on the field in 1905 as a result of the taxi fare dispute, played alongside each other for seven more years, won two World Series all the while not saying a single word to each other. Their silence would last another 33 years, only opting to speak to each other again once they were both elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Solid silent treatment fellas.
6 Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez
During spring training of 1989, the New York Mets assembled for a team photo shoot. Darryl Strawberry, wearing number 18, was asked to sit next to Keith Hernandez, number 17, responded by saying “I’d rather sit next to my real friend.” Hernandez responded by calling Strawberry a “big baby” and the two came to blows during which Strawberry revealed he’d been tired of Hernandez for years. The two were forcefully broken up and Strawberry shouted at Gary Carter “You’re next.” The combatants met the next day with the team’s psychiatrist and were forced to shake hands but the hatred lasted throughout Straw’s and Keith’s final days as Mets.
5 Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett
Boy, these Cubs teammates sure like to fight each other. Maybe that’s why they went 108 years without winning a championship? Carlos Zambrano was always known for being a hothead during his 12 years pitching in the big leagues. He fought and argued umpires, opposing batters and water coolers but really took things to the next level when he fought his catcher, Michael Barrett on June 1, 2007. In the midst of a terrible losing streak, Zambrano was angry at Barrett for making an error in a rough inning against the Braves. After a heated exchange in the dugout, Zambrano took a swipe at Barrett and had to be separated by teammates before the altercation continued in the clubhouse hallway.
4 Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams
Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams individually had their issues off the field but they also had a long lasting history of hating each other that still persists today. Dykstra has long held the belief that Williams blew the 1993 World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays and Williams isn’t a fan of the theory. In an interview with NBC in 2011, Dykstra talked openly about how much he despised Williams and that he’s kept in touch “with all of my 1993 Phillies teammates … except Mitch.” During the Philly Sports Roast in 2015, a fun, lighthearted affair turned incredibly ugly and awkward as the two went head-to-head on microphones in front of a room full of people during an uncomfortable exchange.
3 Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire
Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were known as the “Bash Brothers” of baseball and combined to hit 451 home runs as teammates for the Oakland Athletics from 1985-1992. The pair dealt with their differences for the most part during their playing days but it’s during their retirement where the rivalry was really exposed. After publishing his book, Juiced in 2005, Canseco admitted that McGwire was using steroids during the “tater years” of baseball and even said he injected Big Mac with steroids countless times during the season. McGwire has since gone on to say he will never made amends with Jose; “it’s too late. I don’t care to ever speak to him again… what he did was wrong.” Canseco has tried to reach out to McGwire through desperate and embarrassing tweets to McGwire to no avail.
2 Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are completely different people and polar opposite athletes. The two used to be friends when they both played shortstop for different teams but started clashing when Rodriguez joined the Yankees and was forced to move to third base. Jeter is humble and one of the most respected players in baseball history and Alex’s huge ego and his style of play often rubbed the captain the wrong way. A-Rod had his issues off the field and was a magnet to New York tabloids. Jeter was the epitome of a superstar athlete which rubbed Rodriguez the wrong way. The Yankees had two superstars on the left side of their infield, one was the perfect son and the other was the overpaid prima donna. Ironic enough considering Rodriguez actually dated Madonna.
1 Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent
The San Francisco Giants were graced with back-to-back MVPs in 2000 and 2001 with the likes of Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds, even though the two hated each other. Kent publicly admitted that the two often had run-ins since they became teammates in 1997, Kent and Bonds are both regarded as two of the best hitters of their generation and they both had egos to match. They both thought they were deserving of being the franchise’s stars and they came to blows during a June 25th game in 2002. Kent ripped into third basemen David Bell for poor play and Bonds came to Bell’s rescue before leading into a shoving match with Kent. The two cemented their cases as the team’s best player by each hitting home runs later in the game. The feud fired up the team as they made it to the World Series that year, losing to the Anaheim Angels.
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