Friday, June 23, 2006

A new list

Bronx Banter just published a list of their 25 least favorite Yankees from the last 20 years. That was inspired by a list of least favorite A's at Catfish Stew. I haven't followed the Sox closely for a full 20 years, so I alone can't possibly put together a full list of 25 for the Sox, but I figure we can try. I'll get started:

First off, the easy ones:

Byung Hyun Kim, Carl Everett, Shea Hillenbrand: duh.

Manny Alexander: somehow managed to be the only person in the Steroids Era to actually get caught. And yet he sucked. (Part of that whole "we need a third baseman, stat!" fiasco, also involving Wilton Veras, Ed Sprague, Chris Stynes...)

Izzy Alcantara: lazy fielder, batshit crazy in AAA (the video can be found here).

Now, the ones who are harder to hate - nothing obviously despicable about them, but whose tenure with the Sox made them hard to like...

Jeff Suppan: that Freddy Sanchez-Jeff Suppan trade in 2003 was really a Freddy Sanchez-Brandon Lyon trade. Suppan went 3-4 in August and September, with an ERA of 5.57, and was left off the postseason roster. Of course, then he bounces back to become an important part of the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals the next year.

Mike Lansing: the best player ever to come out of Wyoming. Which is like saying Dick Cheney was the best Vice President to come out of Wyoming. Both are technically true, but...

Jose Offerman: I actually didn't hate him the way most Sox fans did (his 1999 season was actually quite good). But I'm pretty sure he makes this list anyway.

So those are the first 8 that come to mind...I know I'm missing a lot (others that might make the cut include John Wasdin, Patt Rapp, Brian Rose, John Burkett...), but I have to get to work. Anyone want to contribute in the comments?


  1. Is it too soon to have Rudy Seanez on this list?

    Was Carl Everett hated? I liked the guy until his tirades.

    IF that is the case...and "liked until hated" makes the list, then many Sox fans (not me, I wish the guy was back on this team) would include Nomar, Pedro, and Damon.

    John "Way Back" Wasdin

    What about Clemens?

    A lot of these guys were really liked and then became villians...

  2. Mendoza...he must make the list...

  3. I'll nominate:

    Ramiro Mendoza
    Heahtcliff Slocumb (although I consider him redeemed since he yielded us Tek and Lowe)
    Every closer. Ever. Before October 2004 - Jeff Reardon, Rod Beck, Lee Smith (he's the same as slocumb without the ROI),
    Dustin Hermanson (more of a disappointment than anything)
    I think Andrew hated Bichette
    Carl Everett did not like Darren Lewis
    Wil Cordero was a lightning rod by the end of his stay
    Jody Reed - screwed himself in contract negotiations. Too bad.
    Jack Clark and Kevin Mitchell (again more of a disappointment)
    Robinson Checo - I'm still waiting for him to contribute
    Luis Rivera - not good enough to really dislike, despite his rape conviction

    Some people will nominate Buckner (stupid) and Canseco (although he was entertaining while he was here). Same for Greenwell after his frequent ill advised comments.

    And if managers count, Grady and Butch would get some votes

    Clemens, Boggs and Damon we didn't hate until they left.

    And a few more controversial ones - Keith Foulke, Derek Lowe and (gasp!!) Nomar. Although in fairness Nomar might be on my most loved and most hated list.

  4. If you are throwing in managers, then McNamara might have to make it as well...

  5. Wendell "Send 'Em In" Kim
    Dale Sveum

    Lots of names jump to mind in this...Nice list idea...

  6. This is an awesome list! I have to agree with Grieves, was Carl really hated? Wasn't mostly that he was just a nut bag!

  7. Right, I left out ground rules...

    (1) As per the A's rules, let's only include those we didn't like when they were Red Sox.

    (2) And I think we have to exempt all of The Twenty-Five. Though even without this rule, anyone would be foolish to put one of them on there.

    (3) Let's leave out managers and coaches and GM's for simplicity - the list will get too long otherwise.

    Carl can stay - his last several months were painful - lots of calls to flat-out drop him, so he doesn't violate rule 1.

  8. Hermanson, Mendoza, Cordero, definitely.

    Do we include Schiraldi?

    Yeah, Slocumb will forever be known as the guy we got Tek and Lowe for, so I don't have a problem with him.

    I considered Bichette, but I sort of liked him. He was ridiculous.

  9. Bichette flinging the bat on HRs was great.

  10. I don't know about a blanket exemption for the 25.

    As for that Yankee list. Those are some of my favorite Yankees. I'm shocked tha Javy Vazquez is not on the list.

  11. Okay, who on the 25 would you include?
    (Mendoza didn't make the WS roster, right?)

  12. How did we get this far without the words "Julian Tavarez" coming up? He's a dick and a terrible pitcher.

  13. Foulke is the one that sticks out. He has redeemed himself a bit this year. But last year....

    For some reason Tavarez doesn't bother me that much. Yeah, he has sucked, but like you pointed out, he did take on a guy that is a karate champion.

  14. Foulke was so important to 2004 he could set a sack of adorable kittens on fire and I still wouldn't hate him.

    But yeah, Foulke (2005 model) was pretty horrible.

  15. ...and if we include people on RSN's (but not ours) most-hated list, it would be not only Foulke, but also (as you say) Lowe, Wily Mo...even Manny, which I find absolutely ridiculous.

    Oh yeah, and people hated Pete Schourek, which I could never understand. He was a below-average pitcher, and was paid like one, and seemed like a perfectly nice guy. But people had zero patience for the guy. (While guys like Tony Clark and Rich Garces could play like little leaguers for several months and no one seemd to notice.)

  16. We need a bit more clarification here.

    The title (at least for the Yankee list) is "Least Favorite" which to me is a lot different than "Most Hated."

    While I can fully appreciate Keith Foulke's tremendous effort in October 2004, I still find him offensive, out of touch, and too much of hick and a redneck.

    Of course your point that the RSN list would be entirely different is a great point. RSN is filled with petty, vile, shor minded people.

    Then again, when classifying things as favorites, it really is going to be subjective. Hell my favorite Sox player of my life was Mo Vaughn. Was he the best? Not likely. But he was MY favorite.

  17. Schiraldi?

    A Lou Gorman Favorite:

    13.50 ERA in '86 World Series;

    In '85 with NY Mets, posted ERA of 8.41;

    Couldn't pitch in NL unless it was San Diego, for 1 season.

  18. Schiraldi?

    A Lou Gorman Favorite:

    13.50 ERA in '86 World Series;

    In '85 with NY Mets, posted ERA of 8.41;

    Couldn't pitch in NL unless it was San Diego, for 1 season.

  19. I never much cared for Craig Grebeck.

  20. 25. Jim Burton: The only thing I really know about Burton was that he gave up Joe Morgan’s dying line drive that scored the go ahead run in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 1975 World Series. I was 8 years old at the time. I defaced all my Jim Burton baseball cards and forever hated him and blamed him entirely for losing that game. He only pitched (really) in 1975, had a decent year. I assume he got hurt and ended up pitching in only one more game in his career in 1977. Can’t let it go though.

    24. Larry Andersen: Even I knew that trading Jeff Bagwell (the #1 prospect in their system and one of the top prospects in baseball) for a rental was a bad idea. Andersen threw 22 innings of nice relief and made no difference in the, at the time, Sox annual play off loss to the A’s. Jeff Bagwell will probably be in the Hall of Fame some day.

    23. Matt Young: I simply could not abide his unreal wildness. He had great stuff when it went over the plate but it rarely did. The Sox got him from Seattle and hoped he would develop. He never did. He is one of a select group of pitchers to lose a no-hitter (not considered one by baseball since it was only 8 innings).

    22. Frank Tanana: Picked up by the Sox in 1981. Oh yeah, for Fred Lynn (who really never did anything again except hit that grand slam in the All-Star game, but still). At the time he was still trying to figure out the transition from former flame thrower to lefty junkballer. He eventually mastered the skill but was 4-10 for the Sox in the year of the strike that split the season in 2. Somebody had to get hated from that team and for me it was him.

    21. Oil Can Boyd: I almost left him off the list because he was basically just crazy. He could pitch a little going 43-35 between 1984-86 and was actually kind of exciting to watch. He thought he was an all-star though and had tirades in 1985 and 86 when he did not make the team. He didn’t really deserve to and I really just wanted him to shut up.

    20. Tomo Ohka: A highly rated pitching prospect that came up in 1999. In 3 years went a total of 6-13 with an ERA around 5.50. Was just sort of a cupcake. Eventually went to the easier National League and has pitched around .500 for Montreal. Unfortunately we got Ugi Urbina in return for his services.

    19. Ugi Urbina: Had 40 saves in 2002 and a 1-6 record. I don’t recall that guy ever doing a damn thing though. He did give up 8 HRs in 60 innings and I doubt he ever had a tough save. I hated seeing him come out to the mound because generally good things did not ensue if the game was close. He was gone in a year.

    18. Ramon Hernandez: This one is also more personal. He only pitched 12.7 innings in 1977 for the Sox in 12 appearances. I swear I saw every single one. He had no stuff and basically threw this crappy lefthanded sweeping curve on every pitch resulting in 14 hits, 7 walks and a hit batter. He and his sad ass 5.68 ERA were released in August and his career was over.

    17. Cecil Cooper: Probably no one in Boston would agree with me on this. He almost does not make the list because I ended up disliking him more after he left but as a kid I did dislike him. The reason was really that I wanted Yaz to play first and Jim Rice (my favorite player) to play left. Usually Cooper played first and Rice DHed which I did not like. I did not like that Rice did not get to play all the time and I thought Cooper’s .280ish average did not warrant him being out there. Then we trade him (and Bernie Carbo who I liked a lot) to Milwaukee and Cooper promptly becomes a hitting machine batting over .300 for 7 straight seasons (hitting .352 one year), winning 3 Silver Slugger awards and driving in over 100 runs 4 times. Annoyed the hell out of me. On top of that we got George Scott for him who I will definitely talk about later.

    16. Vaughn Eschelman: What a piece of crap. This guy had a career record of 15-9 despite an ERA of 6.08, 256 hits, 111 BB (versus 118 Ks) in 212 innings. He was 6’-3” and threw as hard as my mother and looked as athletic as guys at a Scrabble tournament. He just flat out sucked.

    15. Aaron Sele: He came up in 1994 and went 8-7 with a 3.83 ERA. Everyone figured that this young kid had it made. Clemens was there to learn from (little did we know that 1993-1996 would be the sucky years of Clemens), he was young, had a live arm and was the future. In 1996 and 1997 he went a combined 20-23 with ERAs of 5.32 and 5.38. They let him go and he went to Texas and promptly went 37-20 over the next 2 years.

    14. Rick Cerone: Maybe I am hallucinating this but I think this is correct. In 1978 while riding in my parents car on the way to dinner (maybe on the way home) I listened on the radio to Rick Cerone, then of the Toronto Blue Jays, get a huge, late inning, 2 out RBI single to beat the Red Sox. I was convinced that because we ended up tied with the Yankees that Rick Cerone screwed us. I hated him. Then he went to the Yankees and I really hated him. Then in 1988 we ended up with him for 2 years and he went .269/.326/.360 and .243/.320/.345 which, in fairness to him, were about par for the course or even a little better. I thought he sucked and I was glad when they cut him in the off season in 1989.

    13. Mark Clear: Maybe the worst (not counting Heathcliff Slowball) in a line of crappy Red Sox relievers/closers. Clear was with the Sox for a stretch from 1981-1985 when they finished between 3rd and 6th in the AL East. He actually was decent in 1982 going 14-9 with 14 saves in 105 innings. However in ’83 through ’85 he had devolved into a pitcher fascinated with his own image. He had great stuff, allowing only 92 hits in 122.7 innings in ’84 and ’85, but he also walked 120 men in the same time period. He was maddeningly wild, only tried to punch guys out, constantly had runners on base and absolutely never came through in the clutch.

    12. Jeff Suppan: Started out with the Red Sox and was actually the 3rd player picked in the expansion draft by the Diamondbacks. Was brought back in 2004 for the stretch run to the playoffs. A complete bust. Went 3-4 and was lucky to get that as his ERA was 5.57 and allowing 98 runners in 63 innings over 11 starts. Was left off the playoff roster entirely. Of course compounded the dislike by going 32-21 over the next 2 years.

    11. Roger Clemens: I simply couldn’t put him in my Top 10. Bill Simmons believes Clemens is the Anti-Christ so I would bet he has him #1. Many, maybe even most people would not even have him on the list. Roger is or was enigmatic that way. Before he became Hall of Fame Roger he had 4 maddeningly terrible years going 40-39 with 3 seasons of ERA between 3.63 and 4.46 (he only has 4 other years in his whole career, one being his rookie year, with ERAs that high). He had off field issues (bar fight in Houston) that entered into the fray. At first I believed like many people that it was injuries, but I think it became dissatisfaction with an admittedly bad front office that led to let’s say an effort level that did not quite reach 100%. He kind of dogged it and the Sox pretty much stunk for those 4 years. By 1996 I felt he was a full fledged pain in the ass. The Sox thought he was done and really made little effort to retain his services. He said he wanted nothing more than to win and the Sox weren’t committed to that. He promptly went and signed with a terrible Blue Jays team that had no chance of winning but were happy to pay him. Clemens has obviously put his act back together and sharpened his PR skills but he acted out the roll of prima donna and didn’t pitch like he could have and deserves to be on this list somewhere even if most of his career in Boston was pretty positive and impressive.

    The Top 10 where things get serious

    10. Tony Clark: Maybe one of the worst free agent signings in history. $5 million bones for him in 2002 . I was psyched to be getting a pretty productive power hitting, switch hitting first baseman. Clark could not have been more dreadful. He hit .207/.265/.291 with 3 HRs and 29 RBIs in 275 very painful ABs. Despite 2 20 game winners the Sox finished 10 games out of 1st and 6 games out of the playoffs. The absolute dirth of production from Clark had to have played a part in that. The only upside was he went on in consecutive seasons to suck for the Yankees and Mets.
    9. Ramiro Mendoza: Another free agent disaster. He had been 8-4 in back to back years with around 100 innings and solid mid 3s ERAs for the Yankees. It appeared we were getting over on them. He was going to be a great 7th or 8th inning guy. It was like a Yankee Trojan Horse. He could not possibly have been a bigger disaster. Only if they had let him go out there more than 37 times. He had a 3-5 record with a 6.75 ERA and was a huge component in an early season bullpen that was simply awful. Even an OK following year could not redeem the pain he inflicted on Sox fans in 2003. $6.5 million the Sox will never get back.

    8. Byung-Hyun Kim: Plays into the Mendoza scenario in that he was brought in for Shea Hillenbrand to bail out the bullpen and while he did manage to go 8-5 with a 3.18 ERA it was clear he had an incredibly fragile psyche. Was eventually left off the World Series roster after pitching only 2/3 of an inning in the ALDS. In 2004 he completely melted down when his attempt at being a starter was a catastrophe (he started 3 games, pitched in 4 others and only had 17.3 innings). Ended up giving Fenway Park the finger when he was booed during introductions. Went back to Korea and I believe the Sox simply cut him.

    7. Tony Armas: I think this would be my dad’s #1. He HATED Tony Armas. First off he sort of looked like Ron Jeremy. He swung at everything, hit a bunch of HRs (finishing 2nd and 1st in 1983-4 with 36 and 43) but struck out constantly and hardly ever walked. His OBP in 1983 was .265! He only was over .300 once in 4 year with the Sox. The Sox parted with 25 year old Carney Lansford who hit a league leading .336 and then .301 in his 2 years as the Sox 3rd baseman to acquire Armas. Granted it was to give a guy named Boggs some playing time but the idea that we traded a hitter as fundamentally sound as Lansford (he struck out 76 times in 977 plate appearances with the Sox) was gauling.

    6. George Scott: Tony Armas, just a few years earlier. My dad did not like George Scott either. The Boomer’s return to Boston after 5 years in Milwaukie was designed around creating this uber-powerful line-up. The Sox hit 213 HRs and had 828 RBIs leading the league in every offensive category. They finished 3rd. Scott was pretty much done by 1978 and his .233/.305./.379 helped do them in as they collapsed toward the finish of that season. Scott was obtained for Cecil Cooper who went on to mash in Milwaukie and would have been an incredible asset in a line-up that could have used a hitter of his nature. My dad once told me that the next meaningful RBI George Scott had would be his first. He was the Alex Rodriguez of the 70s.

    5. Mark Whiten: No-Hittin’ Mark Whiten. It was tempting to believe that we were getting a 28 year-old on the verge of stardom. He had hit 25 HRs and had 99 RBIs in 1993 and hit .293. in 1994. He had an unreal swing. He had hit 4 HRs and drove in 12 runs in one game (which is still tied for the all-time single game record for both categories). He stunk. I mean he was embarrassingly bad. He hit an unbelievable .185/.239/.241 before being traded mid-season to Philadelphia for Dave Hollins (who’s Sox career consisted of 2 hits in 13 ABs). We traded “All-Star” 3rd baseman Scott Cooper for this load of crap (Cooper gets his next) and while Cooper hit .230 and was out of baseball the following year that towers over what Whiten accomplished.

    4. Scott Cooper: What a candy ass this guy was. If there was a less deserving All-Star than Scott Cooper in the history of baseball I am not sure who it was. Despite a very productive Mo Vaughn it was Cooper who got the lone Sox All-Star bids in 1993 and 1994 because there were so many other 1st baseman ahead of Vaughn. Cooper hit .279/.355/.397 with 9 HRs and 63 RBIs and .282/.333/.453 with 13 and 53 those years. Probably 70% of those stats happened pre-All-Star break. He never did a thing in the second half of the season and was generally not that good a fielder. He irritated the crap out of me.

    3. Calvin Schiraldi: I don’t know that I really need to say anything. He burst onto the scene out of Pawtucket (ironically he was acquired from the Mets for Bob Ojeda just that year) midway through the 1986 season and became the Sox closer. In the post-season he blew a game against the Angels and lost 2 games in the World Series including the most dramatic coll…you know the story. He was never the same guy and his ERA ballooned to 4.41 the next year and he was dealt with Al Nipper for Lee Smith.

    2. Mike Torrez: Again, there is hardly anything worth explaining here. He hung an 0-2 pitch to BFD and the rest is history. Torrez easily should have struck out Dent who had no business hitting a HR off of a guy with Torrez’ stuff. That was the maddening thing about him. He had great stuff but was always the 2nd or 3rd pitcher where ever he was because of stuff like that.

    1. Bob Stanley: Lit the match on the gas that Schiraldi spread around the mound that fateful night in 1986. Threw an unfathomable wild pitch to Mookie Blaylock to bring home the tying run. Bill Buckner’s life was never the same because Stanley could not get the job done. Stanley never helped his cause by doing much after turning 28. He was 71-44 before becoming fat and 44-53 afterwards. He could not be trusted in the situations in which he was entrusted and came through less often than not. I might be more hard on him than some other Sox fans but the sight of Bob Stanley on the mound drove me crazy.

  21. Andre Dawson; Ricky Henderson; Mike Stanley. All three were a waste of everyone's time in a red sox uniform.

  22. Wow, Anonymous, that's quite a list. Some go back well more than 20 years, but still I like it. I do have to take exception to this though:

    "In the post-season he blew a game against the Angels and lost 2 games in the World Series including the most dramatic coll…"

    Maybe up to that point. But I can think of at least one recent collapse more dramatic than that one...

  23. Geez, Rickey was just Rickey. We got him for the minimum, he was 43, it's not like you could expect much from him and he did have one nice little stretch. I don't know what was to really dislike about him. Dawson was sort of the same deal. He was 38, we got him for less than $5 million and he did go .273/.313/.425 with 13 HRs and 67 RBIs. Sure, they probably should not have signed him but was it his fault? I always kind of liked Stanley. He had 2 pretty productive full years with the Sox, he hit .500 in 20 ABs in the 1998 ALDS, he didn't do much for the Yankees when we traded him there and we got Tony Armas, Jr. in the deal who we ultimately traded in the package for Pedro.