There are various definitions of the word “goon” as you could mean it as someone intimidating or just a little off the normal path. Baseball has had its own odd cast of characters over the history of the sport and today is the chance we have to talk about them. From fighting with teammates, to intimidating the opponent, to being just a different cat.
There are a lot of players that could be considered. Here are the 10 biggest goons in the history of Major League Baseball.
10. Manny Ramirez
Just Manny being Manny was something the world was used to during the early 2000s. He was one of the best hitters for a brief period of time but his antics on the field made his personality shine. In a game where personality was pushed to the wayside for a while, Ramirez was incredible at branding his game into superstar territory.
9. Ozzie Guillen
One of the most colorful managers the game of baseball has ever seen was Ozzie Guillen. He has done well getting the most out of his teams in the past but the colorful language and intimidation he had on the umpires was second to none. The sport was a lot more entertaining with Guillen in the dugout and ready to burst at any moment.
8. Yogi Berra
There is no bigger goon than Yogi Berra. If you don’t believe me, try to understand half of his famous quotes. His play was incredible and one of the best catchers in the history of baseball. He was just out there until the day he passed away with his Yogi-isms and everything part of his Hall of Fame baseball career.
7. Nick Swisher
There is a lot of personality that exudes from former New York Yankee Nick Swisher. He was easy to root for with his antics in the clubhouse and goofiness on the field. It just seemed like he was having the time of his life every time he stepped on the field. His eccentric personality made people a fan of his and he still is involved in baseball, influencing the next generation of players.
6. Dock Ellis
The famous Dock Ellis story of his no-hitter just shows why he deserves to be on this list. It is incredibly difficult to throw a no-hitter in baseball. 27 outs without recording a hit is remarkable and deserves to be celebrated. However, his is the most notable as he was on LSD while pitching. Ellis admitted to having difficult seeing the hitter and catcher during the game and he did walk eight hitters but that is some serious goon stuff to even attempt, let alone dominate.
5. Reggie Jackson
There are egos in the sport of baseball and then there is Reggie Jackson. As part of the Bronx Zoo with the Yankees, it was clear there was some issues in the club house. Manager Billy Martin once pulled him from a game for a lack of hustle and caused a fight in the dugout! Those Reggie Bars must’ve been good because he had his own biggest fan: himself.
4. Tim Linececum
Tim Lincecum’s brief prime was one of the best. He was crazy with the long hair and the unforgettable windup. Baseball would dub him as the league’s biggest pothead and definitely added to the mystique of this small statured pitcher dominating. It was a marvel to watch for a few years as the best pitcher on the planet.
3. Al Hrabosky
Some players are just a little different and former closer Al Hrabosky was no different. To put it in perspective, his nickname was the “Mad Hungarian”. He would use the art of intimidation to get in the hitter’s heads as he would take a few steps towards the second base bag, mediate and slam the ball into his glove before stomping back to the mound. Hitters must have thought he was nuts!
2. Turk Wendell
To be considered a goon, you need to be able to intimidate others: look no further than reliever Turk Wendell. When going to the mound he would wave to the center fielder, spike the rosin bag like Rob Gronkowski and hurdle over the foul line like a kangaroo. He was a strange fellow on the diamond but the intimidation factor put in the hitters of what the hell he would do next puts him on this list.
1. Babe Ruth
Well it is difficult to imagine a bigger personality than George Herman “Babe” Ruth. The man was just leagues better than anyone else in the sport, hitting home runs more than some teams would do. Ruth would eat hot dogs, crack open some cold beers and hit the ball further than anyone else can. He was a showman and definitely had no issue getting the attention on him.
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