There are ballplayers like Babe Ruth who will always be remembered as one of the best in the sport. Forerunners who rise above to set the bar for all other players. Those legends and rising stars making news reels and fans alike explode with excitement and patriotic pride. They are forever remembered for their athletic ability and the prowess of their trade. Remembered for their record-breaking moments of defying all odds and inspiring the masses to pick up a bat and crack a few out of the park.
Who could forget the legendary game-winning home run that Blue Jays right-fielder Joe Carter hit to bring another baseball championship title to Canada? What about the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" when New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson lead his team to a spot in the 1951 World Series with one swing of the bat? How about Jackie Robinson permanently breaking the color barrier and inspiring a whole race of Americans to fall in love with the beautiful game of baseball? Don't forget about all of those fielders who have made incredible plays in order to save their teams from getting too deep in the hole.
The history of baseball is rich with these godlike players and icons shattering the glass and creating a mythos for future generations to look back to. These players will always be remembered as heroes, legends and idols for all fans of sport around the world.
You have your heroes who define the game, and then you have these guys.
15 15. Pete Rose Jr.
Pete Rose was one of those guys that made a major splash in Major League Baseball. Not only does Rose hold the all-time hits record in the league, but he also exited the Majors with enough drama to keep his name alive. When his son announced that he would join the majors, the world rejoiced for another generation of the Rose dynasty to take the diamond by force.
It didn't happen.
Pete Rose Jr. is what baseball analysts call a "professional minor leaguer". Playing 1,918 games in the minors and putting up 1,877 hits is nothing to sneeze at, however, compared to a short lived major league career of 11 games and only hitting .143, he was no major leaguer.
14 Ruben Rivera
According to Giants broadcaster Jon Miller, Ruben Rivera is remembered as the player who committed "the worst base-running in the history of the game". Rivera represented the winning run in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he choked on his ability to run and simply forgot that he was playing baseball. Running from first to second, he would pause to check where the ball had landed in the outfield. From there, noticing that he had time, he stepped off-base, only to return and not touch second base again. He would then attempt to run to third, not realizing that he never touched second to begin with. Rivera was called out and was released from the franchise only a week later.
13 Marv Throneberry
Marv Throneberry has the privilege 0f saying that he was the worst player on the worst Major League team of all time. The 1962 Mets had a lopsided record that read 40-120. During his time with the Mets, Throneberry was able to achieve a feat many thought to be impossible, becoming the lowest-rated first baseman ever. To top it all off, "Marvelous Marv" would blow his only career triple by completely missing first and second base while making his way to third. Hats off to you, pal.
12 Charlie Comiskey
Charlie Comiskey is a strange story. He was known as the worst manager, the worst owner and the worst player of all time. The strange thing about this: Comiskey was his own manager. Insisting that he always play first base, Comiskey would insert himself into the lineup even though he couldn't swing the bat to save his life. Playing a whopping 13 seasons during the dark ages of baseball, he will be remembered as the pioneer for everybody on this list.
11 Curt Blefary
There are some players who train their whole life to play a certain position on the field, and then there is Curt Blefary. Trying almost every position imaginable (except for batboy), Blefary would ultimately fail as a fielder in the sport. Although his bat was admirable and his rookie-season memorable, Blefary is only remembered as a colossal failure in the world of baseball history.
10 Smead Jolley
Pairing Smead Jolley with Curt Blefary is a match made in heaven. Much like Blefary, Jolley was known for his bat and not his glove. Legend has it that Jolley is the only player in Major League history to commit three errors during one play. After allowing a ball to get past him in the outfield, he would watch the ball bounce off the wall and roll through his legs behind him. Finally getting a grip on the ball, he would throw the long bomb to third, or, rather past third into the stands. Keep that one as a souvenir, folks.
9 Bob Kammeyer
Bob Kammeyer's MLB career was very short-lived and for very good reason. Playing for the New York Yankees from 1978-1979 marked his whole big league life. Kammeyer only allowed eight runs during the span of his career, which would be respectable if his career was longer than two seasons. Unfortunately, he was never able to record an out. This made his ERA go off the charts. But hey, it's only a little bit worse than his 1978 ERA of 5.82.
8 Larry Littleton
Hitting a baseball is hard. Hitting one off a Major League pitcher is harder. Never hitting a baseball in your career: impossible. Or so the world thought until Larry Littleton came into the light. During Littleton's 23 at-bats, he put up the infamous .000 batting average, a feat only to be matched by the next entrant. At least Littleton has three walks to his name. Every kid dreams of a big hit in the majors, but Littleton fell short of that dream.
7 Mike Potter
The power duo of Mike Potter and Larry Littleton is unheard of in baseball. Trying to imagine a player who was never able to hit a pitch is just outrageous. Imagine it happening two years in a row. In both 1976 and 1977, Potter managed a .000 batting average with one walk to his name. The most ironic part of Potter's average? He was often used as a pinch-hitter. Good choice. If the argument was playing percentages of righty versus lefty, perhaps the lack of batting percentages should have been the deciding factor.
6 Vin Mazzaro
The spot for most recent player on the list goes to Kansas City Royal Vin Mazzaro. To be fair, the event that earns him a spot was just as much a management error as it was his own, however, the damage was done. In a single two-inning appearance against the Indians, Mazzaro allowed 14 runs which boosted his already disappointing ERA from 4.50 to an outrageous 22.74. Yeowch.
5 Herm Wehmeier
Herm Wehmeier is the definition of a bad pitcher. Although he lasted eight seasons in the big leagues, Wehmeier managed to lead the league in walks (three times), in wild pitches (two times), and batters hit (one time). On top of this, ol' Hermy walked more batters than he struck out. He's a keeper. If only Bob Uecher's character from Major League could have called Wehmeier's games.
4 John Van Benschoten
Hey ball clubs, keep in mind that this man is a free agent! John Van Benschoten's career ERA is a whopping 9.20 with 90 innings pitched over three seasons. Adding to those numbers, he has walked 68 batters while only striking out 65 in a span of 19 starts! With numbers like those, how can you resist giving him a call?!
Players like Van Benschoten epitomize what things were like for the Pittsburgh Pirates for the better part of the last 25 years.
3 Michael Jordan
At his peak, Michael Jordan could do it all. A force on the court, a smile worth a million bucks, a film with the Looney Tunes and a multibillion-dollar company would skyrocket his fame to make him a household name. Jordan couldn't do much wrong - except play baseball. During his short-lived retirement from the NBA in 1993, Michael Jordan decided to give America's pastime a go.
Although he would never officially reach the Major Leagues, Jordan was signed with the Birmingham Barons, affiliates to the Chicago White Sox. Batting an abysmal .202 with only 3 home runs and 51 RBIs, Michael Jordan would quickly realize that he didn't belong on a field, but on a court.
2 Bill Bergen
To get this out of the way, Bill Bergen was a great catcher. He threw out 47% of runners, which at the time was outstanding as the league average was 45%. Unfortunately, Bergen would not be remembered for his defensive prowess. Bill Bergen is often referred to as the worst hitter in baseball history. He has the lowest career batting average of any any player with 2,500 at bats. Hitting a measly .170 with only two career home runs, Bergen strikes his way into this list.
1 Mario Mendoza
Not many players are immortalized in their sport by having their name turned into a definition for playing poorly. "The Mendoza Line" is an expression used in baseball to define players who are struggling at bat, usually those who find themselves sitting around a .200 batting average. Mario Mendoza had a less-than-stellar career during his time in the MLB, and this expression should be enough proof for any naysayers. Although Mendoza would finish his career with a .215 average, his name would forever echo mediocrity among ballplayers across the league.
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