The 100 Worst Baseball Players Of All Time: A Celebration
The 100 Worst Baseball Players Of All Time: A Celebration (Part 1)
Eric Nusbaum —This is a celebration. I realize that sounds strange—compiling a list of the worst of something doesn't seem like a joyous occasion. But by worst 100 baseball players I don't just mean the objective worst, the statistical worst, the most physically discomforting to watch. I mean the players whose failure was enduring, endearing, perplexing,and spectacular. It's easy to identify bad players—sabermetrics has made a truly effective science of it—and it's easy to name cup-of-coffee guys who never had the ability, physical or mental, to stick in the major leagues. But a list like that might mean leaving out guys like Jose Lima, Ray Oyler, or the Rev. Aloysius Stanislaus Travers. In other words, while Rafael Belliard does appear below, nobody wants to read about 100 versions of him.
1. Mario Mendoza, 1974-1982 (Pirates/Mariners/Rangers)
Mario Mendoza is the bad player all other bad players are measured by. The Mendoza Line, a .200 average, has been the benchmark of failure for the legions of weak-hitting infielders who came after him. His career average was .215—making him the rare player for whom "lifetime .215 hitter" means he was better than you thought.
2. Bob Uecker, 1962-1967 (Braves/Phillies/Cardinals)
In a just world, the Mendoza Line would be the Bob Uecker Line, for the catcher who did manage a clean, round .200 career average, bouncing among four teams in his six seasons. It's surprising Uecker hasn't claimed it, given his skill at leveraging failure into fame—as the voice of the Milwaukee Brewers, a Miller Lite pitchman, drunken announcer Harry Doyle in Major League, and the star of "Mr. Belvedere." He is the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball: "People don't know this but I helped the Cardinals win the pennant. I came down with hepatitis. The trainer injected me with it."
3. Fred Merkle, 1907-1926 (Giants/Cubs/Brooklyn Robins/Yankees)
In his first career start, 19-year-old first baseman Fred Merkle cost the New York Giants the 1908 National League pennant. With two outs in the ninth inning of the season's final game, with the Giants and Cubs deadlocked at 98 wins and the score tied 1-1, Merkle singled to put runners on first and third. Shortstop Al Bridwell followed Merkle's base hit with a single to center. The lead runner scored. The crowd rushed the field to celebrate the Giants' pennant. But Cubs players determined that Merkle never touched second base—he simply ran off the field. A ball—possibly the same ball struck by Bridwell, but maybe not—was retrieved and thrown to second, where the umpires ruled Merkle out. After an appeals process, the game was replayed, and the Giants lost. The Cubs went on to win the World Series, their last one to date. Merkle would last 16 years and hit .273, but he identity was bound up in one mistake, the play known as Merkle's Boner.
4. Marv Throneberry, 1955-1963 (Athletics/Yankees/Mets/Orioles)
"Marvelous Marv" was the worst player on the worst team of all time. Playing for the 120-loss 1962 Mets, Throneberry set a record for lowest fielding percentage by a first baseman. He once hit a triple, but was called out after missing both first and second base while on his way to third. Like Uecker, Throneberry turned his ineptitude into glory, with the help of Miller Lite commercials. "If I do for Lite what I did for baseball," he said. "I'm afraid their sales will go down." Jimmy Breslin agreed. He once wrote that "Having Marv Throneberry play for your team is like having Willie Sutton work for your bank."
Have You Considered Another Line of Work?
5. Tommy Lasorda, 1954-1956 (Athletics/Dodgers)
Behind the manager and spaghetti hound, the awesome and profane tirades, and the flailing, falling appearance at the 2001 All-Star Game, there stands a pitcher. A pitcher who posted a 6.48 ERA in 26 games over three seasons. And a pitcher who made the most of his brief career by, in 1956, sparking a brawl between his Kansas City A's and the Yankees by volunteering—yes, volunteering—to go throw at the heads of the Yankee hitters.
6. Michael Jordan, 1994 (Birmingham Barons)
Some people might think walking into a AA ballpark at the age of 30, after not having played competitive baseball for a decade, and hitting .202 with 30 stolen bases is impressive. Not on a per-dollar basis: During Michael Jordan's baseball stint, Bulls/White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf continued to pay his basketball salary. That, along with the absurd standards Jordan set for himself in the NBA and the Veeckian nature of his endeavor, are enough to land His Airness on this list.
7. Danny Ainge, 1979-1981 (Blue Jays)
Was Danny Ainge a better all-around athlete than Michael Jordan? Both were NBA championship shooting guards. Unlike Jordan, Ainge made it onto a Major League Baseball team, as a tall second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays. He played some third, too. Playing as a reserve between 1979 and '81, Ainge was consistently a negative WAR player—less productive than a hypothetical 25th-man pickup. He didn't defend especially well, didn't hit for average or power, and wasn't particularly effective on the base paths. His .533 career OPS isn't far from his .469 NBA field-goal percentage. But he did wear a big-league uniform.
8. Billy Martin, 1950-1961 (Yankees/Tigers/Twins/Reds/Indians/Athletics/Braves)
If it weren't for his managerial career, which led him to leave baseball remembered as mostly an asshole, Billy Martin's primary legacy would be something like "Mickey Mantle's tipsy friend who couldn't hit a lick." Martin the player won five World Series' on Mantle's coattails and enjoyed his "best" seasons with the Yankees, getting on base at what was for him a sprightly rate of .313. In 1957, Martin was dumped off on the Kansas City Athletics for being a bad influence on teammates Mantle and Whitey Ford— i.e. keeping them out too late. The best players make those around them better, the cliché goes. Billy Martin just made them drunk.
9. Ozzie Guillen, 1985-2000 (White Sox/Braves/Rays/Orioles)
Ozzie Guillen, like many managers, was a bad baseball player. His on base percentage in 15 seasons was .286. His slugging percentage was .238. But he won a Gold Glove, you say. And a Rookie of the Year award! He was a three-time All Star! And he stole a lot of bases! Actually, Guillen was caught on almost 40 percent of his attempts. And after his last All Star appearance at age 27 (for a season in which he had a .284 on-base percentage) he hung around for nine more years, doing nothing in particular with his glove and less with with his bat.
10. Charlie Comiskey, 1882-1894 (St. Louis Browns/Reds/Chicago Pirates)
Charlie Comiskey was hated as an owner, as a manager, and as a player. The last two things become complicated because Comiskey was his own manager. As such, he insisted on inserting himself in the lineup at first base despite being a worthless hitter. Comiskey the player demonstrated no particular prowess at anything, yet he played thirteen seasons. The fact that many people blame his cruelly cheap ownership practices for the 1919 Black Sox scandal only cements his legacy.
11. Billy Beane, 1984-1989 (Twins/Athletics/Mets/Tigers)
The first chapter of the most important baseball book of the century is dedicated to the travails of one terrible player: Billy Beane. If you believe Michael Lewis in "Moneyball", Beane's complete inability to hit at the minor or major league level sparked his attraction to statistics and eventually, a revolution. Beane, despite having all tools, the size, and even "the good face," did absolutely nothing with his 301 major league at bats. He left baseball a frustrated hitter with a .246 career on-base percentage—the kind of mark that made Beane the executive shudder.
12. Pete Rose Jr., 1997 (Reds)
Pete Rose gave us two decades of historic, compelling baseball. He has given us countless hours of meaningless debate about moral relativism and the Hall of Fame. He has given us confounding pictures in funny jackets and badly tinted sunglasses. But nothing Pete Rose has given us is more stunning or hilarious than the 16 plate appearances his son made for the Reds in 1997. Junior crouched down in homage to his father during his first at-bat, then proceeded to prove that hitting—like hustle—is not necessarily passed down genetically. Still, the Roses have a combined 4,258 hits. And Pete Rose Jr. will always be able to say "Hey, at least my dad isn't Lenny Dykstra."
13. Ozzie Canseco, 1990-1993 (Cardinals/Athletics)
Ozzie Canseco's recent attempt to pose as his twin brother, Jose, in a celebrity boxing tournament suggests that he hasn't come to terms with his own identity. But maybe he's better off as a fake celebrity than as a would-be baseball player. In 74 major-league at-bats in 1990, 1992, and 1993, the lesser (and, for whatever mysterious reason, less muscled) Canseco was all brother, no bash, batting just .200. He didn't homer and didn't steal a base. Welcome to the zero-zero club.
One- (At Most) Dimensional Specialists
14. Eddie Gaedel, 1951 (St. Louis Browns)
If every player who ever appeared in a major-league baseball game were lined up on the playground for a recess-style, time-and-space-defying draft, Eddie Gaedel would be picked last. The star of Bill Veeck's ultimate publicity stunt stood only three feet, seven inches tall in his St. Louis Browns uniform. But he was an unstoppable offensive force: in his lone at-bat, in 1951, he took four balls, went to first base, and was replaced by a pinch runner. The commissioner intervened, and Gaedel was forced to retire with an on-base percentage of 1.000.
15. Curt Blefary, 1965-1972 (Orioles/Astros/Yankees/Padres/Athletics)
Curt Blefary was so bad defensively that his teammate Frank Robinson called him "Clank." (Robinson was a master at nicknames: he also christened the large Southerner Boog Powell "Crisco.") Blefary attempted first base, third base, catcher and the outfield—all to equally comic failure. He blamed the frequent position changes—attempts by managers to keep Blefary's bat in the lineup—for the offensive woes that descended upon him after a stellar rookie season.
16. Smead Jolley, 1930-1933 (Red Sox/White Sox)
Smead Jolley was a talented hitter, better than average every year but his last. He was the opposite as a fielder. Legend has it—the Society for American Baseball Research is officially skeptical of this story—that Jolley once committed three errors on a single play. First he let a ball roll through his legs in the outfield. After allowing it to carom off the wall, Jolley saw the ball roll back between his legs in the opposite direction. When he finally recoverd the ball, Jolley heaved it over the third baseman's head and into the stands.
17. Herb Washington, 1974-1975 (Athletics)
Herb Washington never had a major-league plate appearance. He never played in the field, either. But as baseball's only ever "designated runner," he scored 33 runs over bits of 1973 and 1974. Washington, a champion sprinter, was brought to the Oakland A's by eccentric owner Charlie Finley for his speed. Josh Wilker, author of Cardboard Gods and de facto expert on 1970s baseball oddities, called Washington "the most superfluous (hence greatest) hood ornament on the biggest, baddest, Blue Moon Odomest Cadillac in the league." Superfluous might have been putting it kindly: Washington stole successfully on just 31 of 48 attempts. He was picked off in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the 1974 World Series, killing an Oakland rally and handing the Dodgers a victory.
18. J.R. Phillips, 1993-1999 (Giants/Astros/Phillies/Rockies)
In the boom-boom 1990s, it seemed that any corner infielder or corner outfielder could hit 20 home runs in a given season. J.R. Phillips had 545 at-bats between 1993 and 1999, about a regular season's worth. In that time he proved no exception, popping 23 home runs as a backup first baseman for the Giants, Astros, and Rockies. The thing is, while anybody could hit 20 home runs in the '90s, not just anybody could do it as atrociously as J.R. Phillips. Phillips batted .188, striking out 180 times. That's a strikeout percentage of 35.6 percent—higher than strikeout luminaries like Adam Dunn and Dave Kingman, and within a percentage point of Rob Deer.
19. Dick Stuart, 1958-1969 (Pirates/Red Sox/Phillies/Dodgers/Mets/Angels)
Dick Stuart was a great home run hitter but a worse defender. The inspiring thing about him is that Stuart acquired his reputation for clumsy feet and leaden hands—and his nickname "Dr. Strangeglove"—at baseball's equivalent of remedial kindergarten, playing first base. Stuart once owned a car with the license plate "E3." His 29 errors at first base in 1963 remain the major-league record for errors in a season at the position.
20. Butch Hobson, 1975-1982 (Red Sox/Angels/Yankees)
Butch Hobson was the Dante Bichette of his time. Playing for Boston in the late 1970s, Hobson hit for power but often more than negated the home runs with terrible defense. In 1978, he committed 43 errors at third base, making him the first player in over half a century to post a fielding percentage —.899—below .900. And yet somehow, according to advanced statistics, that wasn't even Hobson's worst defensive year. In 1981, his only season with the Angels, Hobson committed 17 errors in 83 games and demonstrated what might be described as negative range. Later, Hobson contributed a gem to the genre of minor league manager ejection videos. As manager of the Nashua Sounds, he pulled out the first base bag, carried it into the stands, and handed it to a little boy.
21. Steve Balboni, 1981-1993 (Royals/Yankees/Mariners/Rangers)
Steve Balboni hit home runs; that was a hard thing to do in the 1980s. But Balboni hit them at the expense of literally everything else: singles, doubles, triples, walks, sacrifice flies, sacrifice bunts, everything. Balboni, who split time between designated hitter and first base, batted .229 in a career that spanned the 1980s. "I think I've hit a few that I've never seen anybody else hit as far," said Balboni twice in a 1980 profile from his days on the Nashville Sounds. Balboni also noted that his nickname "Bye Bye" described his copious strikeouts as effectively as it did his home runs.
22. Brian L. Hunter, 1994-2003 (Astros/Tigers/Mariners/Phillies/Rockies/Reds)
John Kruk once said: "I ain't an athlete, lady. I'm a baseball player." Brian L. Hunter was a great athlete. He just wasn't much of a baseball player. Hunter stole 74 bases 1998. He stole 260 in his career. And had he been able to get on base more than 31 percent of the time, he would have stolen a lot more.
But They Had Good Points
23. Dal Maxvill, 1962-1975 (Cardinals/Athletics/Pirates)
In 1970, Dal Maxvill batted .202 with a slugging percentage of .233. In 150 games, he amassed just 89 total bases. Maxvill's prolonged awfulness—batting .217 and slugging .259 in a 14-year career—would be offset by the fact that he four World Series rings in a seven year stretch with the St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland A's, but Maxvill was not exactly a mustachioed baseball version of Robert Horry. He batted just .115 in 67 World Series at-bats. His coup de grace was a helpless 0-22 performance in 1968.
24. Johnnie LeMaster, 1975-1987 (Giants/Pirates/Athletics/Indians)
In a universe occupied by men who not only think but know that they're the best in the world at what they do, self-awareness is a precious commodity. Johnnie LeMaster had almost enough to make up for his career as a .222 hitter. In 1979, after years of having jeers rained down upon him by his home Giants fans, LeMaster emerged for a game with the word "boo" stitched onto his jersey in place of his name.
25. Razor Shines, 1983-1987 (Expos)
Razor Shines is a Rorschach test for your attitude about baseball. If you see an ineffective player who by the sheer force of charm and good luck enjoyed 88 plate appearances over four seasons, despite playing an offensively demanding position and demonstrating no ability to hit whatsoever—and then turned those flails at a major league legacy into a two-decade coaching career that includes, of all things, an endorsement from Aquafina—then you are an optimist. If you see a career OPS of .586, then you are a sabermetrician.
26. Tsuyoshi Shinjo, 2001-2003 (Mets/Giants)
He was lowered from the rafters of a dome into a Japanese baseball game. He won the top prize of ten million yen on Japan's version of "Who Wants to be a Millionare." He has his own clothing line. It probably doesn't bother Tsuyoshi Shinjo that his major league career was a failure; that given more than ample time to figure out National League pitching, he never found his rhythm at the plate; that he's remembered more in the States as a flashy, dyed-hair, wristband-wearing disappointment than a ballplayer of substance. Shinjo had enough style to make us forget his .245 average. And for some ballplayers, style —even when that involves wearing LED-scrolling message belts during ballgames—is enough.
27. Doug Strange, 1989-1998 (Rangers/Mariners/Expos/Pirates/Tigers/Cubs)
In Seattle, Doug Strange is a hero. The highlight of his career—the best thing he ever did on a baseball field—was drawing a game-tying, bases-loaded, full-count walk off David Cone in Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series. The walk set up the tie that set up The Double, by Edgar Martinez and scoring Ken Griffey Jr., which decided the series. Then there was every other at-bat of Strange's career. He was a .233 hitter, he demonstrated no power, and he only played one forgettable season as a regular. "I still can't believe I didn't swing at that pitch," Strange said years later. It takes a bad hitter to look back on his own career and say that he's glad he didn't ruin everything by trying to hit.
28. Jose Lind, 1987-1995 (Pirates/Royals/Angels)
Jose "Chico" Lind was a second baseman capable of jumping over the heads of his teammates. On the back of an Upper Deck card, he can be seen jumping over catcher Mike Lavalliere. Lind kept a collection of large knives in the clubhouse and sometimes pretended to stab teammates with them. He played great defense at second base. But he was a lousy, lousy hitter: he batted just .254 for his career, with a .295 on base percentage and .316 slugging percentage. Lind left baseball in 1995. In 1997 he was arrested for driving his car drunk and naked from the waist down with seven cans of beer and a gram of coke as passengers. A year in prison and a new outlook on life later, Lind became—what else?—a minor league manager.
29. Todd Benzinger, 1987-1995 (Reds/Giants/Red Sox/Dodgers/Royals)
Todd Benzinger was World Series champion with the 1990 Reds. The year before, he led the National League in at bats with 628. And that sums up Benzinger's career highlights. A light-hitting, switch-hitting, first baseman, Benzinger was consistently uninteresting. He was equally futile from the left and right sides of the plate: 693 OPS as a righty and .678 as a lefty. He played poor defense. After retiring from baseball, he was a successful high school girls basketball coach and less successful minor league baseball manager.
30. Rafael Santana, 1983-1990 (Mets/Yankees/Cardinals/Indians)
Santana was the shortstop on the 1986 Mets. On a team full of superstar drug addicts and skirt-chasers, Santana carved out a reputation for having no reputation. His "good behavior" was even the topic of a New York Daily News profile in 2009. It's true, Santana never got arrested. He also hit just .218 that year, and was a below-replacement-level fielder and hitter throughout his career.
31. Jose Lima, 1994-2006 (Astros/Tigers/Royals/Dodgers/Mets)
There is no player more deserving of celebration than Jose Lima. He made failure a jubilant spectacle and success a hyperbolic joy. Lima was responsible for some of the worst-pitched seasons in baseball history—in 2000 he went 7-16, 6.65 and in 2005 he went 5-16, 6.99—and his durability as a starter was a reflection more on the addictive nature of Lima Time than his actual effectiveness as a pitcher. He sang. He danced. He pitched a miracle shutout in the 2004 playoffs to give the Dodgers' their first postseason victory since 1988. He also usually stunk; it was part of his mystique. Jose Lima is tragically dead. Long live Jose Lima.
Small Sample Sizes
32. Bob Kammeyer, 1978-1979 (Yankees)
Bob Kammeyer gave up only eight runs pitching for the Yankees in 1979. Unfortunately, he never recorded an out, and ended the season with an earned run average of infinity. Infinity is only slightly worse than his 1978 ERA of 5.82.
33 & 34. Larry Littleton, 1981 (Indians); Mike Potter, 1976-1977 (Cardinals)
Larry Littleton and Mike Potter share the dubious honor of having the most major league at bats by a non-pitcher without a hit. Both are career .000 hitters in 23 at-bats. Credit to Littleton, though, for drawing three walks in his big league career to Potter's one.
35. The Reverend Aloysius Stanislaus Travers, 1912 (Tigers)
In May of 1912, a man named Claude Lueker, who had no hands, heckled Ty Cobb by calling the Georgia Peach—himself a renowned bigot—"half a ******." Cobb entered the stands and slugged Lueker repeatedly, ignoring the pleas of fans for him to stop beating up a man with no hands. When Cobb was suspended indefinitely for the assault, his Tigers teammates went on strike until Cobb was reinstated. To avoid paying hefty fines and forfeiting the next game, the Tigers had to find replacement players. Aloysius Travers was one of those replacements: a violist and college student, the not-yet priest was assistant manager of the St. Joseph's College baseball team. In his one major league appearance, Travers pitched a complete game, allowing 26 hits and 24 runs (only 14 earned).
36. Dave Rowe, 1877-1888 (Kansas City Cowboys/St. Louis Maroons/Orioles/Cleveland Blues/Chicago White Stockings)
Travers's 24-run pitching performance is only the second-most-disastrous one in history. In 1882, Dave Rowe, usually an outfielder, took the mound for the Cleveland Blues of the National League. He allowed 29 hits and seven walks in nine innings of work. Rowe, who pitched three other times in his career, retired with an earned run average of 9.78, despite the fact that his final start was a complete game, two-run performance. Rowe also compiled a career record of 44-127 as manager of the Kansas City Cowboys.
37. Vin Mazzaro, 2009-2011 (Athletics/Royals)
Vin Mazzaro is the lone player to earn his way onto this list during the 2011 season. In a single two-inning appearance against Cleveland, Mazzaro allowed fourteen runs. His earned run average ballooned from 4.50 to 22.74. Was Mazzaro screwed by his Kansas City handlers? Certainly. Is one outing too little to judge a pitcher on? Absolutely not. Throw in the drama, the spectacular nature of Mazzaro's failure, the excruciating delay before he was finally freed from his hellish outing, and the small sample size becomes plenty sufficient.
38. Steve Bilko, 1949-1962 (Cardinals/Angels/Tigers/Dodgers/Cubs/Reds)
Steve Biko was a leading anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1970s. Steve Bilko was one of the greatest minor league hitters of all time. Steve Biko was murdered by South African police. Steve Bilko was forced to retire after a long career because of a nagging leg injury. Steve Biko is the namesake of a song by A Tribe Called Quest and was portrayed by Denzel Washington in Cry Freedom. Steve Bilko is the namesake of television's Sergeant Bilko. Steve Biko never had a major league at-bat. Steve Bilko had almost 2,000 but he never did much with them.
39. Hugh Mulcahy, 1935-1947 (Phillies/Pirates)
Hugh Mulcahy was such a bad pitcher that nickname was "Losing Pitcher." He was also the first major league player drafted for military service during World War II. He tried to get a six month deferment to play the 1941 season, but the government denied Mulcahy's request. "Losing Pitcher," indeed.
40. Tommy Dowd, 1891-1901 (St. Louis Browns/Cleveland Spiders/Washington Senators/Boston Americans/Boston Reds/Phillies)
Jim Jividen, author of "The Blog of Revelation" has done excellent work in discovering and chronicling bad baseball players. Some of the names on this list also appear on his list of the worst 20 ballplayers ever. Thomas Jefferson "Buttermilk Tommy" Dowd is by far Jividen's greatest find. Dowd, who went to Brown and allegedly discovered Rabbit Maranville the prospect, was the worst fielder of all time. Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference agree that Dowd (who couldn't hit either) was worth negative 73 runs as a fielder.
41. Bill Bergen, 1901-1911 (Brooklyn Superbas/Reds/Dodgers)
Records of Bill Bergen's early 20th century baseball career have him as an excellent defensive catcher—perhaps the best of his day. Unfortunately they also have him as a terrible waste offensively. Bergen has the lowest career batting average of any player with 2,500 at bats. He hit .170 with two career home runs. The advanced metrics are no more forgiving: among all non-pitchers, Bill Bergen's career wOBA is the worst.
42. Crazy Schmit, 1890-1901 (Cleveland Spiders/Orioles/Pittsburgh Alleghenys/New York Giants)
Before Terrell Owens and his pen, there was Crazy Schmit and his notebook. Schmit, a pitcher for the Cleveland Spiders, had a terribly bad memory. Legend has it that to overcome his forgetfulness, Schmit kept a notebook in his pocket full of what he considered to be opposing hitters' weaknesses, and consulted its contents while on the mound. Allegedly he once pulled out the notebook with Cap Anson (sometimes the story has it as Honus Wagner) at the plate, read aloud that the Anson's weakness was the base on balls, then proceeded to walk him. While we'll never know whether the notebook gambit was effective, we know that Schmit himself was not. He retired with a 5.45 ERA.
43. Gus Weyhing, 1887-1901 (Philadelphia Athletics/Phillies/Washington Senators/Brooklyn Ward's Wonders/Louisville Colonels, Brooklyn Superbas, Cardinals, Cleveland Blues, Pirates, Reds)
Augustus Weyhing might at first glance strike you as a fine example of 19th century baseball pitching. Rubber-Winged Gus did indeed win a great number of games. But even for the rough-and-tumble era in which he played, Weyhing's reputation was far from fine. Not only did he hit 277 batters during his career—still the major-league record—but he was accused of stealing pigeons in Louisville, Kentucky between the 1891 and 1892 seasons.
44. Tony Suck, 1883-1884 (Chicago/Pittsburgh/Baltimore Monumentals/Buffalo Bisons)
Tony Suck sucked long before the word "suck" came to mean suck. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the earliest recorded use of the word as slang for being inferior came in 1940. Tony Suck retired in 1884 after two seasons of miserable play as a catcher, shortstop, and outfielder with the Buffalo Bisons, Baltimore Monumentals, and Chicago Browns. His offense was lousy: a career on base percentage of .205, a career slugging percentage of .161, and zero home runs. His defense, somehow, was worse: Suck's fielding percentage was .894 behind the plate, .783 in the outfield, and just .754 at shortstop.
45. Jim Lillie, 1883-1886 (Buffalo Bisons, Kansas City Cowboys)
Jim Lillie played in the Deadball Era. His stats should be measured as such. Even so, in 1886, Lillie, whose nickname was Grasshopper, put together one of the worst baseball seasons ever. He batted .175, reached base at a .197 clip, and also slugged .197. Lillie struck out 80 times—he only reached base 84.
46. Rabbit Maranville, 1912-1935 (Braves/Pirates/Cardinals/Robins/Cubs)
Yes, Rabbit Maranville is in the Hall of Fame. No, that's not the only reason he's on this list. Maranville was a punchless hitter for 23 seasons, mostly with the Boston Braves. He was famously short, famously ugly, and famously fast (hence the name Rabbit). Less famous is the fact that Maranville was not a particularly effective base stealer. He stole 291 bases and was caught 112 times-and that's with 14 years' worth of his caught-stealing numbers missing. His career OPS+ was 82. Not even Maranville's reputation for great defense, hard drinking, and uproarious vaudeville routines can make up for that.
47. Malachi Kittridge, 1890-1906 (Chicago Colts/Washington Senators/Boston Beaneaters/Louisville Colonels/Cleveland Naps)
At first glance, Malachi Kittridge is just another light-hitting catcher from the early 20th century, a powerless career .219 hitter. At second glance, he is one of the worst hitters of all time, posting the 2nd lowest career OPS+ of any player with 4,000 plate appearances. At third glance, Kittridge is one of the least successful managers in baseball history, leading the Washington Senators to an 0-14 start in 1904, then getting fired when the team reached 1-17. At fourth glance, he is a generally inept character who once suffered a sprained ankle while walking around with $300 worth of nickels and dimes in his pockets. And at fifth glance, Kittridge is a man who once allowed a run to score as a catcher while he was dusting off home plate.
48. John Gochnaur, 1901-1903 (Cleveland Naps/Cleveland Bronchos/Brooklyn Superbas)
A few years ago, John Gochnaur was rescued from the annals of the Baseball Encyclopedia by an writer named Mike Attiyeh. His original article on Gochnauer's bad play appeared at BaseballGuru.com. It's no longer up, but Attiye's findings echo on the internet to this day. Gochnaur has a legitimate claim on worst player ever: he batted .187 in his three-year career between 1901 and 1903. He never hit a single home run. And in his final season, he committed 98 errors in 134 games.
49. Les Sweetland, 1927-1931 (Phillies/Cubs)
Les Sweetland had the highest single-season ERA of any pitcher to ever qualify for the title. In 1930, Sweetland went 7-15, 7.71 for the Phillies. A 7.71 ERA is bad—but compared to the rest of Sweetland's awful career, not that bad. His career mark was 6.10 and his single-season best was 5.04.
50. Claude Willoughby, 1925-1931 (Phillies/Pirates)
Sweetland was only barely the worst pitcher on the 1930 Phillies. His teammate Claude Willoughby (nicknames: "Flunky" and "Weeping Willoughby") went 4-17 with a 7.59 ERA. Willoughby, who pitched a few years longer than Sweetland, was only slightly better over his career. He retired 38-58 with a 5.84 ERA, striking out only two batters per nine innings while walking more than four.
51. Jim Walkup, 1934-1939 (St. Louis Browns, Tigers)
Jim Walkup was born in Havana, Arkansas. He was the second player named Jim Walkup born in Havana, Arkansas, to pitch in the major leagues. The first Jim Walkup only appeared in two games. The second appeared in 116. Walkup No. 2 went 1-12 for the St. Louis Browns in 1938 with a 6.80 ERA. The previous season, he went 9-12 with an even higher 7.36 ERA. He retired in '39, after a brief stint with the Tigers, having gone 16-38, 6.78, and having walked nearly twice as many batters as he struck out.
Notorious Or Unpleasant Individuals
52. Marty Bergen, 1896-1899 (Boston Beaneaters)
Marty Bergen was the brother of Bill Bergen, the worst hitter in baseball history. Unlike Bill, he was a fairly effective batsman, but for years he was a mercurial teammate, prone to paranoia and mental episodes. In 1900, he murdered his wife and two children with an axe, and then slit his own throat with a straight razor.
53. Julian Tavarez, 1993-2009 (Giants/Cardinals/Indians/
Many players with reputations for lousy personalities make up for it by winning the respect of their teammates. Julian Tavarez, who was in all fairness a pretty average pitcher, did not pursue this option. Instead, he became notorious for throwing fastballs at his former teammates after somebody—usually Tavarez, who played on ten teams—changed franchises. Tavarez called San Francisco Giants fans "a bunch of assholes and faggots." He got into fights, multiple ones during Spring Trainings, even. He broke things in dugouts and bullpens. Once, while playing for the Red Sox, Tavarez fielded a slow grounder up the line and rolled the ball to first baseman Kevin Youkilis. "Because I want to," he said.
54. John Rocker, 1998-2003 (Braves/Indians/Rangers/Rays)
Ty Cobb was a terrible racist and a fantastic baseball player. For decades, Cobb managed to be both of those things at the same time. John Rocker, on the other hand could not spew hatred and pitch effectively simultaneously. In the years after he infamously ripped on every kind of person who lives in New York, Rocker deteriorated from an All Star buffoon to an ineffective one.
55. Alex Sanchez, 2001-2005 (Brewers/Tigers/Rays/Giants)
Alex Sanchez was the first major leaguer to be suspended for performance-enhancing drug use. His positive test in April 2005 would have been a major coup for Commissioner Bud Selig had Sanchez hit more than four home runs in the 1,000-plus at-bats of his career to that point.
56. Mike Kekich, 1965-1977 (Yankees/Mariners/Dodgers/Rangers/Indians)
Mike Kekich was not an effective major league pitcher. By the low-scoring standards of the late 1960s and early 1970s, his OK-looking 4.59 lifetime ERA was atrocious. Nor was Kekich an effective family man. In 1972, Kekich and teammate Fritz Peterson traded families. They swapped wives, children, dogs and houses. Despite their nontraditional method of pairing off, Peterson and the former Mrs. Kekich got married and had four children of their own. Kekich and the former Mrs. Peterson were done for in a matter of weeks.
57. Swede Risberg, 1917-1920 (White Sox)
Unlike Shoeless Joe Jackson and other banned members of the Black Sox, baseball did not miss Swede Risberg. Risberg, in fact, was a bad enough player that it's not clear that paying him off was a necessary element of Arnold Rothstein's plot to fix the 1919 World Series. Risberg, normally a shortstop, was a career .243 hitter who rarely took walks, and when he did get hits, he rarely mustered more than a single. In the tainted World Series, he went 3 for 25, but drew 5 walks.
58. Manny Alexander, 1992-2006 (Cubs/Orioles/Red Sox/
Manny Alexander appeared sporadically in the majors between 1992 and 2006, batting .231, fielding badly, and accumulating -2.4 WAR. While playing for the Red Sox, Alexander lent his Mercedes to a team bat boy who didn't have a driver's license. When police pulled over the bat boy, they searched the car and found anabolic steroids and hypodermic needles in the glove compartment. Alexander got off without arrest, but the bat boy didn't. He was booked, became tabloid fodder, left his position with the team, and descended into depression.
59. Elijah Dukes, 2007-2009 (Nationals/Rays)
When Rickey Henderson was 44 years old, he found himself so unwanted that he had to play for the Newark Bears. Elijah Dukes made it to Newark at age 26. Dukes was no Henderson, but he wasn't bad, either—his 2008 season with the Nationals was quite good, statistically. But Dukes was injury-prone and insufferable. Frequently ejected from games throughout his career, Dukes was suspended 50 35 games in the minors after for throwing a bat at a run-in with an umpire. He collected multiple arrests for assault, making treats, failing to pay child support, and driving with a suspended license. [CORRECTION: Dukes's teammate Delmon Young was the bat-thrower.]
60. Ambiorix Burgos, 2005-2007 (Royals/Mets)
Ambiorix Burgos was a bad closer. In 2006, the second of his three seasons, he pitched 73.1 innings for the Royals, allowing 16 home runs, and posting a 5.52 ERA. (Say what you will about the necessity and meaning of the closer position, but 18 saves in 30 attempts is just not good). Off the field, Burgos was one of baseball's most frightening human beings. He was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend by biting, scratching and slapping her; he has been charged with a hit and run on two women on the Dominican Republic, one of whom later died; and also in the Dominican Republic he has been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder for allegedly poisoning his ex-wife.
61. Mark Lemongello, 1976-1979 (Astros/Blue Jays)
Mark Lemongello's career was short and mediocre. As a starting pitcher for the Astros and Blue Jays in the late 1970s, Lemongello showed flashes of both promise—decent ERA, a near no-hitter— and insanity—attacking fans, asking if Canadians "spoke American." It was a few years after his career ended that things got interesting. With the help of ex-teammate Manny Seaone, Lemongello kidnapped his cousins Mark and Peter and robbed them of tens of thousands of dollars. Mark Lemongello was a professional bowler, Peter Lemongello an Italian-style crooner who sold millions of records in 1976 via direct advertising on television. Rumor and various unreliable blog sources have Lemongello as wandering the country, remaining one step ahead of his family and regular daily life.
62. Ruben Rivera, 1995-2003 (Padres/Reds/Rangers/Yankees/Giants)
Ruben Rivera was an artist of failure. Before he stole Derek Jeter's glove in spring training of 2002, before he performed possibly the least coherent act of base running in history, and before he settled into his niche as a hitter who regularly flirted with the Mendoza Line despite decent enough power, Ruben Rivera was traded from the Yankees to the Padres for a scrap heap that included player-to-be-named-later Hideki Irabu. Say this for lifetime .216-hitter Ruben Rivera: he was a harbinger of embarrassment, a master of collateral damage, and, even in absentia, a one-man natural disaster.
Just Plain Bad
63. Bobby Ayala, 1992-1999 (Mariners/Expos/Reds/Cubs)
Bobby Ayala is on this list as a stand-in for every Mariners pitcher of the 1990s who wasn't named Randy Johnson or Jamie Moyer. Ayala's spectacular blown saves in big games were the volcanic eruptions of a bullpen that included fellow natural disasters like Heathcliff Slocumb, Omar Olivares, and Bob Wells.
64. Jose Offerman, 1990-2005 (Dodgers/Red Sox/Royals/Twins/Mets/Phillies/Mariners)
As a child in Los Angeles, I associated defensive lapses in baseball with Jose Offerman. I remember vividly watching groundball after groundball roll between his long, useless legs. Now, as an adult, I associate psychological lapses with Offerman. I remember vividly hearing about the time he went crazy at a minor league game with a bat; the time he punched a Dominican Winter League umpire in the face.
65. Luis Gomez, 1974-1981 (Twins/Blue Jays/Braves)
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Luis Gomez is the player whose career most resembles that of Mario Mendoza. Poor guy doesn't even have any infamy to show for it.
66. Ted Lepcio, 1952-1961 (Red Sox/Tigers/Phillies/Twins/White Sox)
In former center fielder Jimmy Piersall's memoir of baseball and bipolar disorder, Fear Strikes Out, Ted Lepcio stands as a hero. He saves the manic Piersall from beatings, supports him through doldrums, and celebrates the good times right with him. In the eyes of manager Eddie Sawyer, Ted Lepcio barely stood as a utility infielder. "The worst player I ever saw" was Sawyer's exact formulation. Nothing in the numbers says otherwise.
67. Casey Candaele, 1986-1997 (Astros/Expos/Indians)
When we published a lighthearted remembrance of Casey Candaele on Pitchers & Poets, Candaele's brother wrote us an angry email. He didn't appreciate our tone. Well, how about this: Casey Candaele played nine seasons and hit fewer career home runs than Carlos Zambrano. On warm Sunday mornings, he liked to take batting practice naked. On team flights, he liked to ride food trays down the center aisle. There exists on the internet a loving but overwrought poem about Candaele entitled simply "Competent." Perhaps, but only barely.
68. Ray Oyler, 1965-1970 (Tigers/Seattle Pilots/Angels)
Ray Oyler was one of the worst baseball hitters of the modern era. He batted just .175 in his career and through the work of a clever disc jockey became a mascot for the futility of the short-lived Seattle Pilots. Over 15,000 Seattleites joined the "Ray Oyler S.O.C.I.T.TO.M.E .300 Club." The acronym stood for "slugger Oyler can, in time, top our manager's estimate" by hitting .300. Oyler never did, but his .165 average with the Pilots in 1969 was thirty points better than his previous season. After going "0 for August" for the 1968 Tigers, Oyler was yanked from his starting shortstop role shortly before the World Series in favor of an outfielder, Mickey Stanley, who had never played the position before. The Tigers won the World Series in seven games, partly because Ray Oyler didn't get a single at-bat.
69. Kurt Bevacqua, 1971-1985 (Padres/Royals/Rangers/Brewers/Indians/Pirates)
Kurt Bevacqua once called Tommy Lasorda a "fat little Italian." And while his career .236 average speaks well to how bad of a player he was, Lasorda's response spoke better.
70. Dan Meyer, 1974-1985 (Mariners/Tigers/Athletics)
It's been argued—and argued well—that Dan Meyer was the worst baseball player of the 20th century. He may not have been the worst, but for both statistical and cultural reasons, Meyer merits consideration. In 1978, Meyer posted a gaudy -2.5 WAR. He did so by not hitting for power (8 home runs, just 18 doubles), by not reaching base (.264 OBP), and by playing positions that require at least minimal offensive production (first base and left field). Meyer's subjective badness is also a product of the fact that so many people thought, foolishly, that he was good. He was an original Mariner. His hair was long and golden blond. He twice hit 20 home runs in a season. But Meyer was more like a movie set version of a player. At first glance all the pieces were in place, but a closer look reveals only a façade.
71. Choo Choo Coleman, 1961-1966 (Mets/Phillies)
The Mets of the early 1960s were as entertaining as they were terrible. Almost as amusing as Marv Throneberry was lightweight catcher and career .197 hitter Choo Choo Coleman. Long before Rickey Henderson allegedly forgot who his teammate John Olerud was, Duke Snider once asked Coleman, "Do you know me?" only to have Coleman respond, "Yes, you're number four." Coleman may have been big-timing Snider—he was coming off a career high .250 average in 1962. Manager Casey Stengel didn't think too highly of Coleman either, saying of him, "You have to have a catcher or you'll have all passed balls."
Quietly Very Bad
72. Willie Bloomquist, 2002-2011 (Mariners/Royals/Diamondbacks/Reds)
Willie Bloomquist has played every position but pitcher and catcher. He's appeared in major league games every season since 2002. Bloomquist is a compendium of bad clichés. He is the utility player who can allegedly help your team with his defensive versatility despite not fielding exceptionally well anywhere. He's the scrappy hustling little guy—working his butt off to help the team with his intangibles, but actually hurting the team with his inability to hit. Bloomquist's career OPS is .653. He doesn't steal bases. His career WAR, over all those seasons, is 0.8. Willie Bloomquist is the definition of replaceable.
73. Enos Cabell, 1972-1986 (Astros/Tigers/Dodgers/Orioles/Giants)
There is only one player on this list who has been sued by Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young and that player is Enos Cabell. Before he surreptitiously trademarked Young's initials and nickname after the 2006 Rose Bowl, Cabell was a corner infielder in the 1970s and 80s. He rarely got on base—career .308 OBP—and he rarely hit for power—just 60 home runs in over 6,304 at bats—but Cabell did once get suspended for an entire season after pleading guilty to cocaine use. So at least there's that.
74. Matt Anderson, 1998-2005 (Tigers/Rockies)
Bullpens in the steroid era were like pioneer towns in the American West. Anybody could show up and seek their fortune. Anybody could give closing a shot, try their hand at throwing heat, make a fortune and then find themselves swindled a moment later. After all, if there were rules—if there was justice—how would Matt Anderson have gotten the chance to close in 2001? Anderson was coming off 5.68 and 4.72 ERAs—in other words, typical seasons for a guy who retired with a 5.19 ERA—and somehow managed to save 22 games.
Marvels Of Staying Power
75. Herm Wehmeier, 1945-1958 (Reds/Cardinals/Phillies/Tigers)
Hank Aaron once called Herm Wehmeier, then pitching for the Phillies, "my worst nightmare." Aaron's was an unusual statement in regards to Wehmeier in that it came from an opponent and not a teammate. Wehmeier somehow managed to string together eight seasons as a starting pitcher in the National League despite walking more batters than he struck out. He led the league in walks three times, wild pitches twice, and even hit batsmen once. Had he been a cup-of-coffee minor leaguer or a reliever like he should have, Wehmeier wouldn't have made this list. It's a good thing he stuck around.
76. John Van Benschoten, 2004-2008 (Pirates)
John Van Benschoten's career owes a lot to the follies of the Pittsburgh Pirates. What other team would have let a guy with a career earned run average of 9.20 pitch 90 innings over three seasons? What other team would have let a guy who walked 68 batters and struck out 65 in that span start 19 games? Van Benschoten, only 31 years old, is a free agent now. Probably not by choice.
77. Neifi Perez, 1996-2007 (Rockies/Cubs/Giants/Royals/Tigers)
Neifi Perez is the prototypical bad player of the modern era. He was bad at the old stats (a .267 hitter with little power and subpar defensive skills) and bad at the new ones (.672 career OPS, caught stealing an impressive 44 percent of the time). The experts agree: Dave Cameron deemed Perez's 2002 season (-3.5 WAR) the worst in baseball history; King Kaufman, who also wrote an adoring paean to Perez's awfulness, named a statistic for measuring the negative value of a reserve player to his team the Neifi Index.
78. Ken Reitz, 1972-1982 (Cardinals/Giants/Cubs/Pirates)
Ken Reitz probably laments the spread of new knowledge about baseball statistics. When batting average ruled the earth, Ken Reitz was could get by. A third baseman for mostly the Cardinals, Reitz was an All Star once. He won a Gold Glove the season before Mike Schmidt rang off his first of nine in a row. He even hit 17 home runs in 1970. But Reitz never ever walked. The respectable looking .260 career battting mark sits in the shadow of a .290 career on-base percentage. Pitiable Ken Reitz, he only seemed average. In reality he was so much worse.
79. Kevin Jarvis, 1994-2006 (Reds/Padres/Rockies/Tigers/Mariners/Twins/
Kevin Jarvis seemed to make a career by not being noticed. He pitched in the majors every season every season but one from 1994 to 2006, racking up 780.2 innings despite a 6.02 career earned run average. The problem with Jarvis wasn't strikeouts or walks or home runs. The problem was that players simply hit him and hit him hard, batting a fairly astounding .297/.353/.874.521 against him. [Correction: Jarvis didn't pitch in the 1998 season; .874 was his opponents' OPS, not their slugging percentage.]
80. Sidney Ponson, 1998-2009 (Orioles/Yankees/Royals/Cardinals/Giants/Rangers/Twins)
What do M.C. Escher and Sidney Ponson have in common besides the fact that both led perplexing professional lives? Why they are both Knights of the Order of Orange-Nassau! Escher, of course, was intentionally perplexing. His artwork dealt in skewed perspectives, optical illusions, and mathematical improbabilities. Sidney Ponson, meanwhile, was just perplexing. He lacked any perspective whatsoever (He assaulted an Aruban judge in a dispute about how Ponson handled power boat, and he drove drunk in Florida), only seemed effective as a pitcher (the optical illusion being that scouts sometimes confuse good velocity with good stuff), and was an improbably bad statistical starting pitcher for 10 seasons (91-113, 5.03).
81. Craig Paquette, 1993-2003 (Cardinals/Athletics/Royals/Tigers/Mets)
I got so many Craig Paquette baseball cards as a kid that I always assumed he was an average ballplayer. Paquette wasn't. He spent 10 years as a disposable corner outfielder and infielder, incapable of hitting, unable to defend at any of his positions, and unable to muster enough power to overcome either of those shortcomings. On the back of a baseball card, 99 career home runs look just fine. Too bad there are other stats on the backs of cards, too.
82. Rafael Belliard, 1982-1998 (Braves/Pirates)
Rafael Belliard lasted in the major leagues for 17 seasons. In that span he managed just 81 extra base hits in 2301 at bats. In 1921, Babe Ruth had 119 extra base hits in 540 at bats. It's not fair to compare Belliard to Babe Ruth. Then again Belliard was so bad that it it's not fair to compare him with anyone. He had a career slugging percentage—.259—that was actually lower than his terrible career on base percentage of .270. And worse, if you'll believe an un-sourced Wikipedia factoid, Belliard was named after the murderous Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.
83. Duane Kuiper, 1974-1985 (Indians/Giants)
Duane Kuiper was a forgettable but enduring second baseman for the Cleveland Indians. Then he became a broadcaster for the Indians and later the Giants. Now, thanks to columnist Joe Posnasnki, Kuiper stands as a hero to everyman baseball fans across America. Kuiper was the second-worst percentage base stealer in recorded baseball history. He went 52 of 123. He hit just one home run in 3,754 plate appearances over ten seasons. It took Posnanski years to realize that Kuiper was not a good ballplayer—but much less time to realize it didn't matter. He commanded reasonable expectations. He played hard. He never let Joe Posnanski down.
84. Matt Walbeck, 1993-2003 (Twins/Angels/Tigers/Cubs/Phillies)
It would be easy to fill this list with catchers who played between the late 1960s and late 1980s because almost none of them could hit. A career .596 OPS and 22 home runs in 2,280 plate appearances might have been excusable then. But in the 1990s, among players not named Matt Walbeck, those kinds of stats were almost unheard of. Walbeck was a negative WAR player over the course of his eleven year career. He never reached the postseason. Otherwise, he wasn't all that interesting.
85. Juan Castro, 1995-2011 (Reds/Dodgers/Twins/Phillies/Orioles)
Baseball-Reference's EloRator project presents fans with random combinations of players and asks them to select which is better. It's a simple concept. Some 1734 hitters are rated in order from top to bottom. No. 1 on the list is Babe Ruth. No. 1750 is Juan Castro. He was a terrible hitter through 17 seasons, right up to his retirement last month. In his best years, Castro was worthless. In his worst, his badness tested the woe-measuring limits of both conventional and newfangled stats. In 1998, for example, he batted .195 in just 220 plate appearances. In sabermetric terms, he was worth 19 runs less than your average Quadruple-A level player that season.
86. Tuffy Rhodes, 1990-1995 (Cubs/Astros/Red Sox)
Tuffy Rhodes hit three home runs off Dwight Gooden on Opening Day in 1994 (his Cubs lost). That was as many homers as he hit in any other season, as he saw bits and pieces of action over five years in the majors. But that unremarkable career does not land Rhodes on this list. What lands Rhodes on this list is the fact that he went to Japan, figured out how to hit, and tied the single-season home run record of one of baseball's greatest heroes, Sadaharu Oh, thereby tarnishing one of my favorite players' legacies forever. (Alex Cabrera, this applies to you as well.)
87. Fat Andruw Jones, 2008 (Dodgers):
88. Brandon Wood, 2007-2011 (Angels/Pirates)
Somehow, Brandon Wood is only 26 years old. It feels like he's been disappointing baseball fans for at least a decade. Wood was the ultimate mega-prospect. He was Alex Rodriguez and Babe Ruth multiplied by a thousand. In 2005, he hit 43 home runs in the minors at shortstop. In 117 big league games, Wood has devolved from a shortstop into a utility infielder. At the plate, where he's hitting under .200 for his career, the position Wood's performance most resembles is pitcher.
89. Billy Ashley, 1992-1998 (Dodgers/Red Sox)
In the early ‘90s, when he was the prize of the Dodgers' wealthy farm system, the words Billy and Ashley carried the weight of Paul and Bunyan. Billy evoked his Midwestern roots and his corn-fed appearance—it was Ashley as in Ash, the wood baseball bats are made of, the wood Billy Ashley used to regularly crush home runs out of minor league ballparks. The folk hero was unable to perform under brighter lights. He struck out in more than a third of his major league at bats. He stumbled in the field. By 1999 Ashley was out of baseball. A few years after that, he appeared in a short-lived reality show called "Househusbands of Hollywood." This was Billy Ashley.
90. Kei Igawa, 2007-2008 (Yankees)
When you think about overpriced Yankees acquisitions of the last decade, you probably think about Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and other veterans brought on as somewhat effective hired guns. Slowly, those guys—not the Jeters and Posadas—became the Yankees' identity. Lost in the shuffle of terrible free agent signings was one Kei Igawa. The Yankees paid a $26 million posting fee just to talk with Igawa—then handed him another $20 million over five seasons. What have they gotten for their money? A 6.66 earned run average, 15 home runs allowed in just 71.2 innings, and for at least the rest of this season, a very expensive minor league pitcher.
91. Todd Van Poppel, 1991-2004 (Cubs/Athletics/Rangers/Reds/Pirates/Tigers)
Todd Van Poppel pitched 11 atrocious big league seasons propelled by hype alone. He was a top prospect coming into the 1991 draft. He rushed through the minor leagues. And in 907 innings as a crappy starter then crappy reliever, his earned run average was 5.58. If it wasn't for the initial sensation—he did the John Elway and told the Braves, who picked first, that he wouldn't sign with them (they got Chipper Jones instead)—it's hard to imagine that Van Poppel would have lasted in baseball past the 1994 strike. But last he did, to the effect of a 9.06 ERA in 1996 and consecutive ERAs of 5.45 and higher in 2002, 2003, and 2004. The word bust doesn't quite fit for Todd Van Poppel. His failure to meet expectations was a prolonged burning not a single explosive collapse; more like a tire fire.
92. Anthony Young, 1991-1996 (Mets/Cubs/Astros)
Anthony Young is the definitive New York Met. He is tragic. He is largely forgettable. And his epic run of failure between May of 1992 and July of 1993 was almost certainly the result of a celestial force far more powerful than any either of his managers, Jeff Torborg and Dallas Green, could conjure. Young—with the help of some truly awful teammates—broke a generations-old record by losing 27 consecutive decisions ,despite a respectable, if not quite solid 4.36 ERA during the span.
93. Drungo Hazewood, 1980 (Orioles)
In spring training 1980, Drungo LaRue Hazewood was batting .583 for the Baltimore Orioles when he was demoted by manager Earl Weaver. Hazewood, then 20 years old, was a former No. 1 pick and already a successful minor leaguer. In 1979 he hit 21 home runs and got on base at a .378 clip in AA ball. "I've never cut a guy hitting that high before," said Weaver, "but he was making the rest of us look bad with that average." Hazewood never recovered. He came up for a bitter cup of coffee in September of 1980, striking out four times in six plate appearances —then spent three anonymous seasons hitting home runs, reaching base at high rates, and stealing bases in the minors before finally leaving baseball after 1983. In his short big league stint, Hazewood was terrible. But blame his presence on this list on Earl Weaver. And Ken Singleton, who gave Weaver incentive to find a room for a young right fielder.
94. Bob Hamelin, 1993-1998 (Royals/Tigers/Brewers)
Bob Hamelin didn't look like a baseball player. He had glasses, a chubby midsection, a mullet and a pasty face. And Hamelin's looks were not deceiving—after the monstrous season at the plate that won him Rookie of the Year, the Hammer wasn't much of a player. Either DHing or playing first base with even less grace than one expects from first basemen, he fizzled into the mid-90s before finally quitting in the middle of a minor league game.
95. Tony Muser, 1969-1978 (Orioles/White Sox/Brewers/Red Sox)
It's hard to believe that Tony Muser was a first baseman, even in the offense-starved 1970s. Muser's nine home runs and .259 average in 663 games over nine seasons are a statement to his indefatigable spirit. A greater testament to his spirit: In 1986, a Brewers spring training facility exploded with Muser inside. Then a first base coach, Muser suffered second and third burns on 55 percent of his torso and upper body and spent months in the hospital and rehab before returning to coach that season; he would go on to manage a hapless Royals team for five years in the late 1990s.
96 & 97. Peter Bergeron, 1999-2004 (Expos); Carlos Perez, 1995-2000 (Expos/Dodgers)
In 1998, the Montreal Expos traded Mark Grudzielanek, Hiram Bocachica, and Carlos Perez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ted Lilly, Wilton Guerrero, Peter Bergeron, and a minor leaguer named Jonathan Tucker. Most of those players were fine, unremarkable. But let's focus on Bergeron and Perez—possibly the least valuable everyday players ever traded for one another.
Bergeron was a meek disaster in every respect for the Expos. He didn't hit. He was caught stealing more than he succeeded. Bergeron's career Wins Above Replacement is -3.4. Perez, on the other hand, was a successful young pitcher who imploded spectacularly. In two and a half seasons in L.A., Perez posted a 5.52 ERA. He beat the hell out of a water cooler with a baseball bat, choked and threatened a flight attendant, and finally, unable to retire hitters, he retired from baseball.
98. Oliver Perez, 2002-2010 (Mets/Pirates/Padres)
The last fifteen years have not been kind to left-handed starters named Perez. There was Carlos. There was Odalis, who went from promising to pathetic. And then there was Oliver, who for a moment seemed like the most auspicious Pirate prospect in a decade, only to forget how to throw strikes, get traded to New York for Xavier Nady, remember how to throw strikes again, sign a huge extension, forget how to throw strikes again, and finally suffer the embarrassment of being deemed too bad to play for the Mets despite being owed $12 million. In 2009 and 2010 Perez walked 100 batters and allowed 85 earned runs in 112.1 innings.
99. Doug Flynn, 1975-1985 (Mets/Expos/Reds/Rangers/Tigers)
Doug Flynn had the unfortunate luck of being acquired as part of the "Midnight Massacre" —the flurry of transactions that in 1977 sent Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman from the Mets for a series of spare parts. Flynn, a utility infielder, had more in common with Seaver than with Kingman as a hitter. He was a terrible offensive player in all the classic ways: he never got on base, ran poorly, had zero power. Nor did Flynn qualify as "good hit, no field." Despite a perplexing Gold Glove Award in 1988, Flynn consistently performed below replacement level at second base, shortstop, and third base.
100. Dickie Noles, 1979-1990 (Cubs/Phillies/Rangers/Indians/Tigers/Orioles)
Getting traded is a fact of life for baseball players. Getting dealt for one's self, however, is not. Dickie Noles, a journeyman pitcher in the 1980s, was dealt from the Cubs to the Tigers in exchange for a player to be named later in September 1987. One month later, the Tigers having lost to Minnesota in the A.L.C.S., Noles became that player to be named and was returned to Chicago. Noles was lucky for the distinguishing trade. His career on the mound was as forgettable as they come: he was completely ineffective as a starter and only mildly tolerable as a reliever with six teams over eleven seasons.
We will be updating this list soon...
Riversharks has put out a list of the 10 best baseball players of all time... check it out. Pretty interesting list. Agree with most of it, but not all of it.
More than any other all-American sport, baseball has ties to some of the earliest years of the USA. This means baseball has no shortage of superstars to draw from, with the most famous becoming household names even if you’ve never seen a baseball game.
Here we’ll be going through the top ten baseball players, and not just of the season or the decade, but of all time. Like any good sport, baseball is a team effort, but we’re looking at the best individual baseball players over players that are valuable assets to their team. These stars are generally agreed upon but, as always, everyone’s ranking order will be different depending on your standards and which of their performance stats you think are more important. What’s really important is, these are the guys that are generally agreed to be the best of the best.
Before we get into the list, it’s best that we touch base and establish how we’re judging each player. Below we’ve written out our thought process when making this list, so even if you disagree you can understand how we ranked these stars.
You may have written this without verifying the information correctly)