Fans love to hate players. Sometimes these players even play for the team they cheer for. One thing is for sure, Major League Baseball has had its fair share of villains.
A few ground rules for this article should be declared first. The first major rule is that one player cannot be the most hated guy for more than one club. For instance, a certain disliked pitcher may have played for several teams but for the purposes of this article, he can only be declared the most-hated player on one team. That means we have some franchises in this article who have had more hated players than the one listed but those players are more closely associated with other teams.
Players can be hated for numerous reasons. Many players with a history of PED use are included in this article. Some players who managed to earn the hatred from their home fanbase due to poor play are also included. In some cases, the most hated player in franchise history is one who has a lengthy arrest record or someone who embarrassed the game in some way. Here are the most hated players in the history of each MLB franchise.
30 Arizona Diamondbacks - Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling spent 2000 to 2003 with the Diamondbacks. They signed him during the years in which it had already been established the guy was a level one jerk - so they have to bare his burden.
Schilling is one of the least liked pitchers of his era and possibly of all-time. Perhaps the first glimpse we saw of his rather self-centered attitude was during the 1993 World Series. He was heavily criticized by teammates, media, and fans for his treatment of the team's closer, Mitch Williams. The rather eccentric and erratic Williams was sometimes difficult to watch on the mound so Schilling took to hiding his face under a towel every time he pitched.
Schilling has also had altercations with other former teammates, including Manny Ramirez. He was fired from ESPN in 2016 due to his frequent hateful social media posts.
29 Atlanta Braves - John Rocker
Controversial retired MLB pitcher, John Rocker, became a villain overnight after taking part in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 1999. In the interview, Rocker stated he'd rather retire than play for either the Mets or the Yankees as he was not fond of New Yorkers. Rather than leave it at that, however, Rocker continued to describe who he felt were typical New Yorkers and then proceeded to offend pretty much everyone in a paragraph or two.
During a sit-down interview with Sports Illustrated Rocker used racist, homophobic, and pretty much every type of hateful speech you can think of. Imagine how this guy would have done if athletes had Twitter back in his day? He wrote an autobiography in 2011. Rocker probably said some offensive stuff in that too but it's not clear if anybody has actually read the book or not...
28 Baltimore Orioles - Rafael Palmeiro
Palmeiro only spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the Orioles but it was while there when his career and reputation came spiraling down.
In 2005, Jose Canseco's book came out and stated that Palmeiro was a steroid user. In March of 2005, Palmeiro stated while under oath at a Congressional hearing that he had never used steroids. Later that year he tested positive for steroids and was suspended. He later clarified his statement to say he never knowingly took steroids. He even passed a polygraph test regarding the issue. Then in 2007, Palmeiro was named in the Mitchell Report which pretty much confirmed he had lied to Congress, media, and baseball fans everywhere.
The Orioles recently decided they couldn't blame Palmeiro's son for Palmeiro's crimes, as they drafted Preston Palmeiro in 2016. The 53-year-old Palmeiro has recently stated he would like to get back into baseball.
27 Boston Red Sox - Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens will be going into this "Hall of Hate" as a Boston Red Sox. Despite the belief that Clemens didn't begin his PED use until after he left Boston, he was still a genuinely detestable person for the 12 years he was in the city.
After swearing under oath to the United States Congress that he did not use steroids, the Justice Department indicted him on suspicion of perjury. He would later be found not guilty on all charges but people hate him just the same.
He was officially named to Major League Baseball's All-Century Team in 1999. It's just not overly clear what the honor even means anymore. Like Barry Bonds and others, Clemens' use of performance-enhancing drugs will forever taint his many accomplishments to the game of baseball.
26 Chicago Cubs - Sammy Sosa
At the time, everyone loved Sammy Sosa. Here was this friendly guy, always smiling, and looking as though he was having a great time as he smoked home run after home run. What we didn't know then is that Sammy was juiced to the gills.
On three occasions, Sosa hit over 60 home runs in a season. Now, that magical 60 home run mark has been re-established as the goal to hit for non-juiced up players. In a sense, what history says of Sammy Sosa's statistics in the late-90s and early 2000s is that they don't matter. What seemed like a magical season in 1998 wasn't magical at all but rather, like so many other magic tricks, it was all an allusion.
25 Chicago White Sox - Chick Gandil
As much as we want to include Ozzie Guillen or AJ Pierzynski on this list, we just couldn't. Not when the franchise he played for includes the 1919 team which threw the World Series. While the previous two mentioned players are not well-liked, it's nothing compared to what Gandil would have faced.
The reason why Gandil is getting picked above the rest of the "8 Men Out" is he is confessed to having played the most significant role of any of the players. He was first approached along with one other teammate but it was Gandil who lobbied for the idea. In an interview with Sports Illustrated in 1956, he claimed every player on the team was still trying to win those games but perhaps played poorly because of the pressure they were under from both the gamblers and those who suspected the games were fixed.
24 Cincinnati Reds - Pete Rose
We looked at ways to not include Pete Rose in this article but there is no other way around it. You can't get banned from baseball for life, repeatedly get caught in lies and generally embarrass the game like Pete Rose has and not end up here. On the other hand, however, it's hard not to notice Rose has not embarrassed the game nearly as bad as some and yet his punishment has been so much worse.
Does anyone really believe Rose would have thrown a game in order to win some bets? He wasn't that type of athlete. Rose was the kind of guy who would crash into a catcher so hard during the All-Star game it would forever impact the player for the rest of his career. Those players don't throw games. Still, Rose is banned and many feel that is the appropriate penalty.
23 Cleveland Indians - Albert Belle
While we were hoping to put controversial (and fictional) former Cleveland third baseman, Roger Dorn, in this spot, there is no denying Albert Belle has earned it.
Belle is a five-time All Star, five-time Silver Slugger, led the AL in home runs in '95, and led the AL in RBIs in '93, '95, and '96. He was also not the friendliest guy around. According to Buster Olney, Cleveland would fine him $10K a year for damage he would do the clubhouse. He is even reported to have bashed Kenny Lofton's radio with his bat once. Speaking of Belle and bats, he was found to be using a corked one in 1994.
Belle and his former team don't get along very well. He refused to attend a ceremony for the 1995 team and declined to attend another ceremony to honor him in the team's Hall of Fame.
22 Colorado Rockies - Denny Neagle
The Colorado Rockies thought they had signed a winner in 2000 when they picked up left-handed pitcher Denny Neagle. They were wrong, they were very wrong. Five years and $51 million the Rockies agreed to pay him, though they wouldn't end up giving him that much.
His ERA was well over five his first two seasons with the club and then he missed nearly all of 2003, not to mention the entire 2004 season as well. That's when things got a little weird. Neagle was arrested for soliciting a street walker in late 2004. While the police fined Neagle, the Rockies successfully contended he had violated the morals clause in his contract. They're believed to have avoided paying him up to $19 million. Neagle's wife also left him as a result. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 but never played due to injuries.
21 Detroit Tigers - Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb has a reputation for a lot of things. A guy who hustled, who gave everything he had to the game, and as someone future big leaguers would try to emulate for years to come. Unfortunately, he also had a reputation for being a giant racist, though there is much debate over whether or not this was true.
One thing which is on the record in regards to Cobb, is that he openly supported Jackie Robinson and the breaking of the color-barrier.
Cobb certainly took a beating in the popular Ken Burns documentary Baseball, however. The film basically colored Cobb as a violent, racist, ego-maniac. There have been tales of Cobb stabbing a black waiter, or sometimes it's a security guard. In researching Ty Cobb, one thing which becomes clear is different folks have different stories. His reputation is that of a surly violent racist, however, and even if it's not an accurate representation it still shows how people see him.
20 Houston Astros - Yuli Gurriel
There are more hated baseball players to have worn a Houston Astros jersey than Yuli Gurriel. Those players are all more associated with other teams than the Astros, however. Gurriel gets the nod for this spot as a result of a possible racist gesture he may have made during the World Series last year.
After hitting a home run off Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in the World Series, Gurriel made a facial gesture believed to be making fun of Darvish's ethnicity. How in 2017, Gurriel felt this would not be poorly received is anyone's guess.
The Astros would go on to win the World Series. With his ring, however, Gurriel knows he embarrassed his team and sport on the biggest stage there is.
19 Kansas City Royals - Jose Guillen
Jose Guillen gets the nod as the most hated Kansas City Royal of all-time. Another player mentioned in the Mitchell Report, Guillen was more dishonest than most. He claimed that while he was friends with Angel Presinal, a trainer now banned from MLB due to his links to PEDs, he's never used or been offered banned substances. His statements about never knowingly taking steroids came under further scrutiny in 2010 when the DEA confiscated a package containing HGH that was addressed to Guillen's home.
Things might have been worse on the field as in 2008, Guillen also decided to try and fight a Royals fan who had been on his case about not hustling. Teammates had to restrain him from going after the fan. The Royals traded him to the Giants in 2010 but as soon as they did so, MLB informed the team he was being investigated for receiving HGH shipments. The club left him off their post-season roster.
18 Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim - Reggie Jackson
While Reggie Jackson might be more closely associated with the New York Yankees, he committed one of his most heinous and loathed actions while a member of the then-California Angels.
30 years ago, Reggie Jackson attempted to assassinate the Queen. It turned out he had been a sleeper agent and programmed to assassinate. He was foiled in the end, however. The events were documented in the 1988 film, The Naked Gun. For those reasons, Reggie Jackson lands on this list as an Angel.
Perhaps the biggest gauge of the level of hate Reggie Jackson receives from those who followed his career, is the fact that the NBA's Reggie Jackson says he gets hate-tweets meant for him. People still hate Reggie Jackson so much today that they are venting about it on social media? The guy hasn't played a game in 30 years!
17 Los Angeles Dodgers - Yasiel Puig
The hate Yasiel Puig generates comes from a different place than many others on this article. While plenty of players appear for taking steroids, lengthy arrest records, or otherwise embarrassing the game of baseball - Puig lands on this list for a long string of minor offenses and for just generally not being a well-liked guy.
What Puig is guilty of more than anything else is not hustling, being a bad teammate, and arguably not playing up to his potential even if he that still means he plays better than most.
Puig is said to create a lot of tension in the LA clubhouse. There were even rumors that Clayton Kershaw asked for him to be traded, though Kershaw denies this. An anonymous clubhouse source for the Dodgers told the media in 2015 that Puig was "the worst person ever seen in baseball", yikes!
16 Miami Marlins - Gary Sheffield
The Marlins employed Gary Sheffield for more years than any other baseball team, so they have to take responsibility for his actions in this article. Gary Sheffield had a simple reason for not wanting to play in the inaugural World Series Classic, it didn't pay anything. He also accused anyone and everyone of racism every second he could. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Sheffield said the reason there were so many Latinos in baseball is because they are "easy to control".
Sheffield accused New York Yankee manager, Joe Torre, of treating black players differently. He further stated that this did not include Derek Jeter because he is, as Sheffield put it, not "all the way black". Then in 2007, Sheffield was named in the Mitchell Report.
15 Milwaukee Brewers - Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun came into 2007 like a house of fire and promptly became the best player in the league. He won rookie of the year his first season and then took home the NL MVP, home run champ, and pretty much every accolade a top hitter could win in successive seasons.
Then in 2011, it was revealed Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Sources claim the levels found in his urine were possibly the highest ever discovered. Braun's legal team was able to create doubt about how the urine collector did his job, however, and the results were thrown out.
Then in 2013, Braun was featured prominently in the Biogenesis clinic scandal. It was also reported Braun owed the clinic tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees. MLB suspended Braun for the remainder of the 2013 season.
14 Minnesota Twins - Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck Knoblauch let it be known he wanted a trade out of Minnesota. He made his wish so well-known in Minnesota that the once popular player became one of the most-hated in franchise history.
Still, in 2014 there were plans to honor Knoblauch into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for everyone involved, those plans were shelved when Knoblauch was charged with domestic assault for an incident involving his ex-wife. The Twins organization ended up deciding Knoblauch would no longer be going into their Hall of Fame.
Knoblauch was also named in the Mitchell Report and would later admit to using Human Growth Hormone. He stated the drugs did nothing for him, however, and that he had one of his worst batting years the season he took HGH.
13 New York Mets - Darryl Strawberry
Aside from an epic performance on an episode of The Simpsons, Darryl Strawberry's career wasn't as successful as it could have been.
Granted, the guy won the World Series with the Mets in 1986 and then again with the Yankees in '96, '98, and '99. Had Strawberry lived a less controversial life, his career would be far more celebrated than it is. Strawberry was charged for failing to pay child support in 1995, not something the public will be too forgiving for. Later, the lawyer who represented him during the before mentioned charges, Robert Shapiro, sued Strawberry for $100,000 in unpaid fees.
In 1999, he was arrested for soliciting a street walker and was also found to have cocaine on him. He would go in and out of house arrest, jail, and drug treatment centers the years following. He released his book Don't Give Up On Me last year.
12 New York Yankees - Alex Rodriguez
It was a tossup, though A-Rod takes the honors. Alex Rodriguez's three-time AL MVP awards, 14 All Star game selections, four Hank Aaron awards, and even his World Series ring are tainted in the eyes of many due to his history with performance-enhancing drugs. Not only did A-Rod miss the entire 2014 season as a result of his PED use, his accomplishments will forever have an aura of cheater to them.
A-Rod will go down as one of many ballplayers during this era to have accomplished a tremendous amount in baseball but left fans wondering how he would have done if he didn't cheat. Unfortunately, we'll never know to what degree A-Rod's extra-supplementation impacted his ability on the field.
11 Oakland Athletics - Jose Canseco
The Oakland Athletic teams of the late 80s and early 90s were scary good. They were also literally scary. As in, they were scary looking people. Images of Dennis Eckersley would haunt the dreams of children at night. There has never been a glare as frightening as the one given by Dave Stewart on the mound. Finally, there was Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire who were crushing balls farther than any ball players ever before them. They were juiced to the gills, of course, but that goes without saying.
Canseco in his post-career was generally thought of as an opportunist. His book Juiced arguably blew the lid of baseball's steroid scandal, or at least it would have had people taken him seriously. Still, while his post-retirement career is not well-regarded, Canseco was a beast to watch back in his day.
10 Philadelphia Phillies - Billy Wagner
In fairness to Wagner, he might not be the most hated Philly player. Wagner, however, is a particularly despised guy in Philadelphia. He played two seasons with the team but took the first chance he got to sign with the team's divisional rival, the New York Mets. Not only that, he chose to bad mouth both his former team and their fans after leaving town. He said Philadelphia was a tough environment to play in and this had everything to do with the fans. Wagner said the fans in Philadelphia will get on you even if you were playing well and that the biggest challenge to the Philadelphia Phillies was having to play at home.
He would also say his former teammates didn't have enough intensity and his former coaching staff didn't do enough to support him.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates - Dock Ellis
You've probably heard the story of Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter in 1970 while on LSD. Ellis claims he didn't think he was supposed to pitch that day and so he partook in a little recreational drug-use before the game. Turns out he was on the mound for the first game of a double-header.
Unfortunately, Ellis had a bit of a reputation for being a jerk on the mound. During one game in 1974, Ellis admitted to attempting to hit each member of the Cincinnati Reds with a pitch during a game. He felt his team was too intimidated by the Reds at the time, so that was his motivation. He beaned the first three, threw at Johnny Bench's head and then was removed from the game.
8 San Diego Padres - Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley played one season for the Padres but that's how most of his time in MLB was spent. He'd spend a year, maybe two in a city and then it was off to the next town. The only city he was in longer than two years was Cleveland.
Bradley had notorious temper issues which resulted in altercations with media, fans, teammates, umpires and coaches. His time in San Diego ended due to one such incident. Bradley got into an argument with a first base umpire in late September in 2007. During the course of the argument, he somehow managed to strain his ACL and had to be helped off the field. He missed the rest of the season including San Diego's loss to the Rockies in the wild-card playoff game. With a name so closely associated with board games, you would think Milton Bradley would have been more of a fun-loving guy!
7 San Francisco Giants - Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds has hit more home runs in MLB than anyone else in history. Yet, his statistics aren't the ones players of tomorrow will be chasing. They will be chasing the numbers which don't have an asterisk next to them.
When Bonds was coming close to breaking Hank Aaron's record of 755 career home-runs, instead of there being a tour in celebration of the lofty achievement, what followed Bonds on the journey was accusations that none of his statistics should count.
Nobody has done more damage to the MLB history books than Barry Bonds. Thanks to him and the fine folks at BALCO, nobody knows who the true home run king really is. It's amazing to think that someone who accomplished so much could be so poorly respected in his own field but that is the fate for Bonds.
6 Seattle Mariners - Chone Figgins
Seattle Mariner fans do not like Chone Figgins. Not even one bit. That tends to be what happens when you sign a $36 million contract with a club and then proceed to be so bad the team regularly pinch hits for you.
In fact, Figgins remembers being pinch-hit for in just his fourth game with the club. He would later say the sting of disrespect he felt that day changed his time in Seattle. Disrespect is what he would continue to get from Seattle fans as his batting average hovered around the Mendoza line.
In 2012, the year the team would finally get rid of him, it seemed as though some fans were counting down the days until he was gone. Seattle baseball blogs were holding countdowns as if the addition by subtraction from the team would receive a boost leading them to the playoffs or something.
5 St. Louis Cardinal - Garry Templeton
This could have easily been Mark McGwire. Perhaps we're wrong but McGwire seems to be slowly shaking off a lot of hate, especially in St. Louis. So since nobody likes Garry Templeton, he's given the nod here.
Templeton flipped off the entire city of St. Louis during a game, or at least that was how his action were perceived. The cameras twice captured Templeton making obscene gestures to fans in his home ballpark. His manager at the time, Whitey Herzog, called it the most disgraceful thing he has ever seen in baseball. The manager and player got into it and had to be pulled apart.
In Templeton's defense, he says the fans were making racially charged comments towards him and also throwing objects.
4 Tampa Bay Rays - Carl Crawford
Carl Crawford has garnered more hate in his time than any other player associated with the Tampa Bay Rays. That includes the entire inaugural 1998 team which only won 63 games.
The reason for this isn't because of anything he did in Tampa Bay but rather for what happened right after he left. Crawford signed a contract worth $142 million to play for the Boston Red Sox. Only Crawford didn't exactly put his heart into playing in Boston. His stats were literally just fractions of what they had been in Tampa Bay. Then after the club traded him to Los Angeles, he went off on the Red Sox. He called the environment toxic and even said he hated the city. The hate from Boston's passionate fanbase towards Crawford was immense.
Last September, Crawford said he no longer has hate for the city, stating he is "over that".
3 Texas Rangers - Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers is not a well-liked guy. This is especially the case within the cameramen. In 2005, two camera operators were filming Rogers going through a few stretches. Evidently, Rogers was unaware that professional baseball and baseball players are often filmed and put on television. For reasons clear to absolutely nobody, Rogers attacked the camera operators for filming him stretch. One camera operator ended up going to the hospital and Rogers was charged with assault.
The Rangers GM referred to Rogers' anger issues as "unusual". Despite his temper, however, Rogers pitched a 20-year career and won numerous accolades.
Rogers has also been accused of smearing substances on a ball while pitching. Cameras caught Rogers appearing to smear the ball in the 2006 World Series, though the substance just turned out to be dirt.
2 Toronto Blue Jays - Jose Bautista
Toronto Blue Jays fans don't mind José Bautista, the rest of the league feels differently, however. Bautista helped the Blue Jays end the longest postseason drought in the league in 2015. Then in the playoffs, his important three-run blast in Game 5's bottom of the seventh may have ripped a hole through the space-time continuum. It's not altogether clear if his bat ever did hit the ground again after having been flipped in the air so high it would have failed a drug test...
Bautista has carved out a nasty reputation throughout the league, so much so that Rougned Odour had to stick up for his Ranger teammates by punching Jose in the face during the 2016 regular season. The Jays then swept the Rangers that post-season. As of this writing, Bautista is still looking for a team to play for in 2018.
1 Washington Nationals - Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper might not have committed any egregious criminal act or cheated the game of baseball itself. Despite this, he garners a level of hate players who get caught using performance-enhancing drugs don't even get. Granted, the guy does have a knack for rubbing people the wrong way.
It's more a collection of little things that gets people hating Harper so much. He has been benched for not running out balls, he blew a kiss to a pitcher in the minor leagues, and he drives a decked-out fancy Mercedes, the kind only driven by heavily resented people.
He got into a choking contest with Jonathan Papelbon once and in 2015, his fellow players voted him the most overrated player in an ESPN poll. Quite a detestable resume the youngster is building.