As spring training games begin, there’s a lot of chatter about, ahem, juicing interest in MLB. Our solution is simple: more colorful players. After all, if baseball featured more guts, grit and, ahem, assholes like the guys on this list, wouldn’t you watch more?
10. Lenny Dykstra Dykstra regularly played with a cheek full of tobacco and played hard. He also drunkenly crashed his car into a tree after attending John Kruk’s bachelor party. Not advisable, to be sure, and neither were his multiple assault charges and a myriad of business lawsuits. Oh, and he probably used steroids. This guy just did not give a shit.
9. Jose Canseco This Bash Brother cared so little about his reputation that he published a tell-all book about who used PEDs. And, let us never forget when he pitched that game! Holy shit. (We will now strike from the record the time that ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a homer.)
8. A.J. PierzynskiThe long-time White Sox catcher, now with the Braves, might be most famously remembered for his fistfight with Cubs catcher Michael Barrett. But, let us never forget that he regularly taunted batters, spiked players and possibly kneed a San Francisco Giants trainer in the groin. Classy.
7. Earl WeaverA manager sneaks into the fray by way of his infamous disputes with umpires. Watch one of Earl’s rants and forever be changed and, perhaps, enlightened. Then, try to deal with your boss like that.
6. Barry Bonds“Breaking” all of the home run records (cough, asterisk) have nothing to do with this placement on the list. Throughout his career, Bonds could’ve been a media darling but instead chose to be a massive dickhead to fans and reporters alike. Nobody says you have to like him but props to Willie Mays’s godson for seeing through a career defined by attitude.
5. Ty CobbCobb regularly spiked other players, talked shit and got into it with everyone in his way. His rampant racism is nothing to be admired but the fact that he died lonely might be attributable to karma. Oh, one more thing: He was really, really good at playing baseball.
4. Dave StewartThis pitcher excelled in the postseason and was known for his staring down of batters. His cap pulled down as far as it could be without blinding him, he would hurl dirty looks as often as strikes.
3. John McGrawMcGraw was so notorious for tripping and pushing other players when the umpire wasn’t looking that he almost single-handedly made the MLB install more umps on the diamond. As a manager, he won almost 3,000 games.
2. Albert BelleThe Artist Formerly Known as Joey Belle was an intimidating presence at the plate, regularly instilling fear into pitchers with his eyes and, then, his bat. His rap sheet is a lengthy one: jumping into the stands to assault fans, corking bats and knocking down other players. Still, the best story has to be when Belle’s Indians teammates stole back his corked bat from the umpires’ dressing room. It was later revealed that all of his bats were corked.
1. Pete RoseThe ultimate badass: His prowess on the field made him the best hitter of all time, besides—arguably—Ted Williams. He dove head first, he argued with officials like a lawyer hopped up on meth and he did his best to embarrass pitchers. Betting on the team he was managing was the ultimate middle finger to the MLB. It’s not praiseworthy, of course, but a final thought: Let Pete in the Hall of Fame, already.