Filling Out My Hall of Shame Ballot

Over at MLBlogosphere, there is talk about who should get into Club Cooperstown and who should not. Some say it”s only what a player accomplished on the field that matters. Others take into account what happened off the field; that if a player misbehaved he should be disqualified and branded one of these.


So instead of debating the HOF qualifications of Jim Rice, Rickey Henderson and those who are worthy, I thought I’d stroll down memory lane and amuse myself with the losers – those who either committed acts of stupidity or were simply accidentally stupid. Feel free to add your own candidates for the Hall of Shame.
1) I must begin with two formers Yankees, Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, pitchers who decided in 1973 to swap wives. Here are the couples in happier, swing-a-ding times.
2) George Bell was a kick – literally. The Blue Jays outfielder earned the wrath of Red Sox fans after charging the mound and attempting to karate kick Sox pitcher Bruce Kison. What a guy.
3) Kevin Brown didn’t endear himself to Yankee fans when he punched the wall outside Torre’s office and broke his hand. I found him so distasteful I had to turn away from the TV whenever he was pitching. Recently, he continued his crotchety attitude by threatening to shoot a neighbor in Georgia after a dispute over yard debris.
4) Vince Coleman tossed a firecracker into a crowd in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. He also missed the ’85 World Series after getting rolled up in the tarp machine. AND he hit Dwight Gooden with a golf club in the Mets clubhouse.
 5) Chili Davis was on the California Angels when he slapped a fan who was taunting him during a game against the Brewers in ’05. I wonder if the fan slapped him back.
6) Tigers first baseman Darrell Evans claimed that he and his wife saw a UFO from their California patio. “It was a triangular craft with brilliant white lights,” he said. “It was as if they singled us out.”
7) Kirk Gibson pulled a chair out from under former teammate Dave Rozema, who had a glass bottle of cough syrup in his back pocket. Needless to say, Dave missed his next start.
8) Larry Herndon missed a game after cutting his hand while eating a lobster.
9) Kent Hrbek missed the final 10 games of the ’90 season after spraining his ankle while wrestling with a clubhouse attendant.
10) It was Ball Day at Dodger Stadium when Raul Mondesi argued a called third strike and was ejected, causing 200 fans to hurl their souvenirs onto the field and forcing the Dodgers to forfeit the game.
mondesi.jpg11) Nolan Ryan missed a start after being bitten on the hand by a coyote. I know. He’s a HOF-er, not a loser. Still, no one should get bitten by a coyote unless they’re a small rodent.
NolanRyan.jpg12) George Brett. Pine tar. ‘Nuff said.
13) Bret Saberhagen tried to adjust to the New York media by spraying bleach at a group of reporters.
14) Mets pitcher Bobby Ojeda cut off his middle finger while gardening. Presumably, he hires landscapers nowadays.
15) The Tigers’ Lou Whitaker missed the last month of the ’88 season after tearing a hamstring while dancing at his sister’s wedding.
There are many, ma
ny others I could name – from Wade Boggs and the $12 million lawsuit filled by his mistress, to Gary Carter’s rather tacky attempt to interview for the Mets managerial job while Willie Randolph was still occupying the office.
But it’s late here in California. I’ve run out of gas. If I’m not careful I’ll accidentally strain an oblique while washing off my makeup and be the sort of loser I’ve just written about.


  1. PAUL

    Only one “t” in Saberhagen’s first name.
    I’d never heard that story about Kirk Gibson, which makes the stomping, cussing, storming out (a la Axl Rose) tantrum he threw in his first spring training with the Dodgers—when Jesse Orosco put eye black around the rim of Gibson’s cap—all the more odd. He screamed and ranted and said that was why the organization was such a loser before he got there; the histrionics were credited with making the Dodgers “serious” and “intense” enough to win the World Series in 1988. I think the World Series win had more to do with a 59-straight scoreless inning streak and post-season heroics of Orel Hershiser (with some dramatics from Gibson thrown in) than any tantrums in March.
    Kevin Brown—-6’4″, 220 lbs, all of it muscle—-was threatening to shoot a guy (at least I hope it’s a guy) over yard debris? Whatever happened to simply threatening to beat someone up?

  2. juliasrants

    Thank goodness we have these highly paid, fine “upstanding” athletes as roll models! Or not! It really makes you wonder sometimes. Are there really more athletes who “lose it” or are they just as crazy as the rest of society? And I have to agree with Paul – why didn’t Kevin just call the guy out to a fist fight. He needed a gun? Truly sad.


  3. happyyoungster

    I would like to contribute two (2) honorable mentions to the mix…if I may.

    I’ll keep it here in Milwaukee, I’ll involve both Yankees (sorry) and I’ll even keep it at the same address. How bout’ that, eh?

    8-16-89 Luis Polonia, Yankees outfielder, arrested for getting too friendly with a minor. Probably 17 and lied about her age, right? Nope, 15 yrs. old. What?? Scene of the crime? Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    7-22-97 Mark Whiten, Yankees backup outfielder, arrested for 2nd degree sexual assault in a Milwaukee hotel. This coming on the heels of his wife giving birth to their 2nd child a week earlier. Scene of the crime? Same hotel.

    Damn Yankees…lol.


    “I’ll accidentally strain an oblique”
    Finally, a replacement for Pavano, heard Cash was interested in a player from Cali. who knew?

    Mark/Baseball Hot Corner

  5. thegoodofthegame

    First off, I am a firm believer that a player’s HOF candidacy should only be judged by his work on the field. Every player is free to be whatever idiot he wants to be off the field, just like we’re all free to do whatever we wish when we’re not at work. Why should it be any different for them? When the all-time leading hitter isn’t in the hall because of something he did while he was a manager, something’s wrong. Babe Ruth is enshrined like a greek God, yet everyone seems to forget he smoked three cigars after every game and went back to a hotel room full of hookers. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but he was no more of a model citizen than anyone else we deem unworthy right now.

    That said, I’d like to make another submission to your hallowed hall:

    John Rocker. I’m really surprised he wasn’t the inaugural member considering what he said about New York. Yeah, it was pointed at the Mets, but still. He was a punk beyond all punks and should be the first bust you see when you walk in the room.

  6. pinstripepride3

    My personal favorite is Sammy Sosa hurting his back while sneezing. Glenallen Hill once missed a game because he injured himself trying to escape a spider related nightmare. He had aracnhophobia and scraped up his knees trying to crawl around and escape the spiders in his sleep. In 1985, Giants pitcher Greg Minton showed up at spring training hurt, after he drove a nail through the middle of his pitching hand while trying to shoe a horse. Steve Sparks dislocated his shoulder trying to rip a phone book in half. In 1995, Bret Barbarie — then playing second base for the Marlins was making nachos before a game. After cutting chili peppers, he washed his hands, but they apparently still had some chili oil on them. When he put in his contacts, his eyes started burning. Barberie subsequently had to toss his contacts in the trash and call in his scratch from the lineup. I don’t want to imply that Graig Nettles was a loser because he’s always been one of my favorite players, but he once ended up on the DL because he cut himself on a lawnmower.

  7. jimmy27nyy


    You have a good list of “shameful” acts by baseball players, in your above “post” !!! …. I would like to add two more events to be included in your “Hall of Shame” !!! …………. (1) – Pedro Martinez pushing [throwing?] Don Zimmer to the ground during that Yankees vs. Red Sox brawl … “Shame On You”, Pedro !!! … (2) – The disgraceful way the New York Mets Organization fired manager, Willie Randolph, in the middle of the 2008 season … They made him fly out to L.A.; manage the night game against the Dodgers; then, fired Willie after the game, at 3:00 AM [EST] … “Shame On The Mets Organization” for that very disrespectful act !!! .. Enjoy your day, Jane .. Jimmy [27NYY]

  8. Jane Heller

    First – a general comment. I tried – oh, how I tried – to avoid players’ run-ins/assaults/batteries of women. There were just too many! So that’s why you’re not seeing Luis Polonia in here, Happy. I remember the incident well. Actually, I thought of it the last time I stayed at the Pfister Hotel!

    Paul and Julia, what’s even screwier about the Kevin Brown dust-up was that Brown was depositing his yard clippings in the neighbor’s yard! And when the neighbor took exception, Brown pulled a gun on him. He told police he always carries a gun when he walks in the woods because he sees a lot of snakes. Can’t make this stuff up!

    John Rocker’s a worthy addition to the list, Scott. Babe Ruth too. I was digging into the archives for somewhat more obscure offenders.

    Wow, pinstripe. You touched ’em all there. I like the Glenallen Hill spider story the best. Are you sure you didn’t make these up?????

    Ah, Wade Boggs, Greg. He provided us fans with lots of material. He could hit the ball like crazy but he did have his, well, quirks.

    Actually, Jimmy, I think Zim took the first swipe (or was about to) in that Pedro thing. But still!

    Thanks for stopping by, Mark. It was your HOF voting story that got me thinking. There were so many names I left out so I wouldn’t put everyone to sleep….Joaquin Andujar (tossed during the 7th game of the WS for bumping an ump), Bob Stanley (missed a few games after slipping down the stairs while taking out the trash), Mike Scott (voted #3 on ESPN’s top cheaters of all time list for scuffing the ball). Sigh.

  9. PAUL

    I always thought Brown was just an intense competitor who didn’t like talking to the press and they retaliated by making him look as bad as possible, but that story makes the media portrayal of him seem like they were being kind to him all those years.

  10. pinstripepride3

    Jane, I wish I were creative enough to make up stories like that, but they all really happened. Whether or not the players made them up is a different story. Hill was a rookie at the time and actually offered to have someone from the team go to his apartment to see the blood stains.

  11. Jane Heller

    Didn’t Brown’s punching a wall tip you off, Paul?

    Well, pinstripe, I can’t argue with blood stains. Or a fear of spiders.

  12. Elizabeth D

    Interesting and amusing stories Jane,
    Did Kirk do that out of spite or as a prank? Is he in the hall of fame? The coyote comment about Nolan Ryan made me laugh, the rest of these stories are pretty funny.
    Another one for the ‘Hall of Shame’ should be Pete Rose (on a more serious note I suppose). He was SUCH a good player, and he ended up throwing it all away because of gambling. Honestly, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame regardless.



    Shame on you for merging Kekich and Peterson. The fact is, theirs was one of the most lopsided trades in history. Kekich’s wife swapped a lame, sore-armed prospect for a solid 20-game-winning lefty. It was like us wheedling Jeff Weaver from the Tigers, only to find he’s wearing 20 pounds of gold around his neck. I don’t know what Fritz Peterson’s wife was thinking when she pulled off the deal, but on that first night in the sack with Kekich, when he was having control problems and barely able to complete a full inning, despite his sacks being totally full, she should have changed her name to Daniele Duquette Peterson. I hope they never had kids.

    el duque

  14. Jane Heller

    Elizabeth, I’m assuming the Kirk Gibson thing was a prank. As for Pete Rose getting into the Hall, I know I’m supposed to say, “Yes, of course, he should be in.” I’m not there. The guy bet on baseball.

    El Duque, every time I think I’m warped, you one-up me.

    Here’s what I read about Kevin Mitchell, J-Boogie: He eats Vicks Vapor Rub. I’m not making that up, I swear.

  15. Jane Heller

    Ouch is right, Mark. I don’t remember that incident, but it’s a good story (well, from El Duque’s pov).

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