Though it has dwindled in popularity in recent years, baseball is still America’s pastime. MLB’s history in this country dates all the way back to the 1800s and unsurprisingly, in the time since, we have seen some crazy characters make names for themselves in the sport.
It is unclear whether the crazies are inherently drawn to the game or if it is the labors of a 162-game season that brings it out of people, but man, have we seen some interesting players step foot on the diamond over the years – let’s try and pinpoint the 10 craziest.
Turk Wendell had a relatively brief career, so he might be unfamiliar to younger fans, but how could we not mention a guy who used to brush his teeth between innings and wear necklaces featuring the teeth of animals he hunted.
A little bit of crazy can lead to success, but there is undeniably a point of diminishing return, which is exactly what happened to Mark Fidrych, the 1976, American League Rookie of the Year.
Fidrych, who finished second in Cy Young voting as a rookie and went 19 and nine with a 2.34 ERA, had a big personality—to put it lightly. He was known for talking to himself, the ball, and really anyone or anything that would listen.
The voices, however, seemed to get the best of him. Fidrych hit a sophomore slump that he never recovered from. In fact, he was out of the league by 1980, having won just 10 more games after his dominant rookie season.
At this point, most everyone knows Dock Ellis for throwing a no-hitter for the Pirates, while on LSD, but there was way more to Ellis’ story than just that one isolated incident.
He was one of the hardest partiers in MLB during his career, which was an era in baseball marred by recreational substance abuse. This might explain why he ran into some issues, like during his minor league days, when he chased a heckler with a bat—or as a Pirate when he got maced by security at a bar.
Bill “Spaceman” Lee
One does not end up with the “Spaceman” moniker without being a rather “out there” character. And that—in addition to being a really solid pitcher—is exactly what Bill Lee was.
Check out this quote he gave the LA Times in 1977, it really encapsulates Lee’s entire persona: “I would change policy, bring back natural grass and nickel beer. Baseball is the belly-button of our society. Straighten out baseball, and you straighten out the rest of the world.”
Tack the fact he threw on an eephus onto that mindset and he’s a no-doubter for this list.
Brian Wilson is perhaps best known for his massive black beard that he started growing back during the 2010 pennant race, but it goes beyond that. Wilson was definitely one of the more eccentric personalities in recent MLB history. He had the gnarly mohawk, the bright orange cleats he tried to sneak by the MLB fun regulators, and more than his fair share of crazy comments.
MadBum was one of the best pitchers of his generation. Also, he was one of the craziest. I mean, this is a guy who once dated a woman also named Madison Bumgarner.
Then, of course, there was the fiery antics on the field, the offseason farming, and the neurotic ritualism.
If anyone tries to tell you that baseball is boring, immediately direct them to highlights of Adrian Beltre. Not only did he absolutely mash the ball, but he was well known for his quirky antics and his animated reaction.
Having an entire alter ego, particularly one named Tony Plush, has to be grounds for admission to this crop of characters.
Beyond his borderline unhinged online behavior, Morgan has also drawn attention for his antics during postgame interviews, by jumping in on teammates’ conversations.
This has backfired at times, as his antics proved to be a distraction and his immaturity led to a lot of blunders on the field.
Manny Ramirez really marched to the beat of his own drum… Hence the whole “Manny being Manny” mantra.
This basically meant that he did whatever he wanted to do, whenever he wanted to do it. Regardless of how crazy it was. Guess it pays to be one of the best right-handed hitters of all-time.
Wade Boggs is known for having drank of 60 beers on a cross-country flight—and he was one of the most superstitious players ever. 150 ground balls before every game, the same pregame meal—chicken.
There’s no denying that while Boggs was a prolific hitter—he was also certifiably insane.
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