Baseball is unique in that the sport lends itself to players having lengthy careers, which in conjunction with the 162-game season, allows for fans to really get to know the men on the diamond. Through the years we have seen plenty of characters come and go. Some beloved—and some despised!
Let’s take a look back at the five most hateable MLB players of all time and conversely, the five most lovable!
Pete Rose – Hateable
Hard to be much more hateable than the guy who quite literally managed to get himself banned from Major League Baseball for life! The “death penalty” is as bad is gets—and that’s exactly what was doled out to Pete Rose.
]It is a shame that the all-time hits leader will never be enshrined in Cooperstown, but I guess that’s the price to pay when you are allegedly betting on your own games.
Roberto Clemente – Lovable
Roberto Clemente was an MLB legend for his exploits both on and off the field. He was one of the best pure hitters the game has ever seen, posting a career average of .317, but somehow that, along with his 3000 career hits was dwarfed by the work he did off the field.
Prior to his tragic, shocking, and premature death, Clemente was a true humanitarian and dedicated himself to supporting causes for his homeland of Puerto Rico.
Alex Rodriguez – Hateable
A-Rod found no shortage of ways to perturb fans over the years. Whether it was his equally bizarre and shocking displays of egomania, a la the now infamous picture of him kissing himself in the mirror or the surly demeanor he developed, Rodriguez was always a safe bet to be rubbing someone the wrong way.
When you tack on his seemingly endless PED saga with MLB, there is no doubt about it, the man was hateable as it gets.
Ichiro Suzuki – Lovable
Ichiro Suzuki may have had the largest impact on the game of baseball in the last 50 years, thankfully, he was a positive influence!
The Japanese-born right fielder was a top-notch player on the diamond from the jump, winning MVP and Rookie of the Year in his first season in the big leagues. His immediate success made him a global superstar and brought a ton of attention to baseball.
Jose Canseco – Hateable
While many of the early 2000’s sluggers have been forgiven for their involvement, Jose Canseco is not one of them. The former A’s 40/40 man has seemingly made it his mission to make sure that he is as reviled as it gets until the end of time, as evidenced by his exhausting publicity stunts and nasty behavior.
This shouldn’t be a shocker. Even when he was on the top of his game, he always had a reputation for being a bad guy.
Ken Griffey Jr. – Lovable
Ken Griffey Jr. is easily one of the most beloved figures baseball has seen. Not only did he have the awesome storyline of growing up as the son of a Major Leaguer, then getting to play his first couple of seasons with his pops, but he also played the game with a suave grace that was one-of-a-kind.
Between his superstar talent and that million-dollar smile, Griffey had no problem becoming a fan favorite to nearly all baseball fans regardless of what team people rooted for.
Barry Bonds – Hateable
With Barry Bonds, it wasn’t just the ceaseless PED rumors that made him so hated, but rather, the way he carried himself—even before the allegations started. Fans, coaches, and even his fellow players all thought him to be extremely arrogant and a generally unpleasant person.
Joe DiMaggio – Lovable
Modern fans know Joe DiMaggio for his legendary 56-game hitting streak, but he was popular amongst fans for more than just his topline talent. The three-time league MVP missed three years of the prime of his career so he could serve his country in World War II.
Talk about being built difference!
A.J. Pierzynski – Hateable
Across his 19-year MLB career, A.J. Pierzynski built a reputations for himself for being one of the despised players in the game.
The crazy thing is, it wasn’t just opponents or fans that grew tired of him. Pierzynski couldn’t even get along with his own teammates! All things considered, it is honestly kind of surprising that he was able to stay in baseball as long as he did.
Ernie Banks – Lovable
Ernie Banks was perhaps the most lovable player in the history of the Chicago Cubs, MLB’s most lovable franchise! The 14-time All Star delivered all sorts of firsts for the Cubs over the years, including being the franchise’s first black player, the first Cub to win back-to-back MVPs, and the first player to have his number retired in team history.
No wonder everyone loved him so much!
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