On January 4th, the Cleveland Indians signed Brett Myers to a 1 year, $7 million contract. Among pretty much every Padres fan the reaction was a collective sigh of relief. Because while the Padres were (and are) in desperate need of veteran pitching, and despite the fact that pretty much every free agent pitcher (including Brett Myers) was rumored to be a possibility for San Diego (yet none ended up here), Brett Myers sucks.
Not in talent mind you. He’s fine there. But in 2006 he was arrested for punching his wife in the face. In an effort to remain fair here it is important to note that these charges were ultimately dropped at the behest of his wife.
Either way, no one wanted him here and I don’t blame them. It also got me thinking. Despite my unflinching fandom, there have been players throughout the years I haven’t enjoyed. So, presented here (though let’s view this as a living document as I’m sure we can add and amend this list later) is the San Diego Padres All-Time Least Likable List.
Some rules and notes before we get started.
1) No amount of playing time was required. In fact, in one case, the player never played for the MLB team;
2) As I’m 32 there is a very clear focus on the team over the past 15 years or so. This is in part due to the fact that, as a kid I didn’t “hate” anyone on the team and these players are fresher in my mind;
3) “Least Likable” in this instance is a fluid definition. Someone makes this list by either being a colossal underachiever (which required substantial expectations) or for having a terrible personality.
On to the list!
C: Doug Mirabelli
Doug Mirabelli’s time in San Diego was very short lived. In 2006 he was traded to San Diego for Mark Loretta. That season, he played in 14 games before being traded right back to Boston on May 1 for Cla Meredith, Josh Bard and a PTBNL. But an unremarkable short stint in San Diego doesn’t place someone on this list. No, Doug Mirabelli makes the list because he said, upon being traded back to Boston “I guess I’m getting called back to the big leagues.” Mirabelli asked Kevin Towers, near the end of his stay in San Diego, to be benched because he was “not focused on the game.” Perhaps that’s because he was too focused on Boston: “My boys, the (Red) Sox have been calling me. I got to tell you, it’s all I watch on TV; all I think about is the Red Sox. Do me a favor and you guys a favor (and make a deal).”
Enjoy your clam chowder (and other Boston cliches) Doug. You aren’t missed here.
1st: Jack Clark
Jack Clark was traded to San Diego in 1989 from the Yankees as he didn’t fit in with the Yankees. He reportedly hated the American League, believing the games to last too long. Fair enough. As a Padres he provided consistent if not spectacular numbers for the Padres.
But on September 28, 1989, after a game in Cincinnati, he said this about Tony Gwynn (TONY F’ING GWYNN!) ”I never really played with a guy like that. It’s always everything to make themselves look good and everybody else is a bad guy. Nobody said he has to go up and hit a home run, but if he’s a better hitter than me or the next guy, then we need him to go up there and take his swings instead of bunting. Guys have been running their own individual scams here, and you can’t win like that. The Padres management has kind of created its own monster. His wife has said stuff before, too. Should we get all our wives involved in the decision-making process?”
The dispute really started over Tony Gwynn’s contract. Gwynn, at the time the 7th highest paid player on the team (that’s right, you read that right) thought he deserved more money than an oft-injured free agent from New York. (Editor’s Note: He did)
And of course, there was the doll incident. Gaslamp Ball covered this in detail last year but the long and short of it is a Tony Gwynn doll was hung in effigy. Did I mention the doll was mutilated? I don’t think I need to tell you the racial implications of that. So (pardon the cursing) but fuck Jack Clark.
He also wore “00.” That’s just obnoxious.
2nd: Orlando Hudson
Compared to Jack Clark, Orlando Hudson is a saint. Yet, we need a 2nd baseman on this team. The Padres signed Orlando Hudson to a 2 yr, $11.5 million contract. He was brought in to address a need both up the middle and at the top of the lineup. For their money, the Padres received a season plus 34 games of mediocre to sub-par play both on the field and at the plate. None of which seemed to bother Hudson, as he smiled and laughed his way through every error and strikeout.
But he makes this list for his Shaun Phillips-esque attack on fans who were critical of his play. Telling Fox 5 “That’s why they’re fans, they couldn’t cut it in HS or college baseball & you don’t boo home team.”
Mow my lawn.
SS: Matt Bush
Matt Bush. The only player on this list to never actually play an inning for the Padres. That should tell you the depths of how deserving he is to be on this list.
Bush was selected 1st overall in the 2004 Amateur Baseball Draft. 1st. OVERALL! Not to bring up terrible memories, but not only was Matt Bush selected first overall, he was selected first overall in a year that Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Phil Hughes, and Stephen Drew were drafted.
So, that’s bad enough.
But it was Matt Bush’s off-field issues that make him worth of this list. Matt Bush’s fall from grace is well documented and I’d direct you to Jeff Passan article on the subject matter. It is as heartbreaking as it is infuriating. It is a past littered with alcohol abuse, DUI’s, and assault charges.
He is only the 3rd player in MLB history to be drafted 1st overall to never play in the Majors. He is currently in prison, living out a 4 year prison sentence for a drunken driving hit-and-run.
3B: Sean Burroughs
Truth be told, I root for Sean Burroughs. I was happy to see him return with the Diamondbacks even though it was short lived. I feel cruel putting him here but we needed a third baseman.
Sean Burroughs became part of the baseball fans zeitgeist in 1993 when he pitched two no-hitters in Little League World Series. The Padres made him their 1st round pick in 1998 and joined the Major League team in 2002. Despite a career batting average of .280 he was considered a disappointment.
When your greatest life achievement, at least via public perception, happens when you are 11-yrs old, that’s a tough life to lead. Let’s move on.
LF: Milton Bradley
When you search for Milton Bradley videos on YouTube, here are the auto-finishes: MILTON BRADLEY meltdown; MILTON BRADLEY throws ball into stands; MILTON BRADLEY ejected.
The worst part. Bradley was a good player for the Padres. Sure it was short lived, but in 42 games he provided a 1.8 WAR.
Then Sept. 23, 2007 happened. The Padres were .5 game up on the Phillies for a Wild Card spot and only 2.5 games behind AZ for the NL West. Umpire Mike Winters baited Milton Bradley (To this I don’t think there is no question anymore. Whatever happened next, Winters baited Bradley. Which, with someone like Bradley, seems insane.) after a single in the 8th inning, reference a strikeout earlier in the game. Winters believed that Bradley has flipped his bat at home plate umpire Brian Runge.
What followed was a monumental blow up between Bradley and Winters that ended when Bud Black, in an attempt to calm and remove Bradley, spun him to the ground blowing out his ACL, ending his season.
The Padres season technically ended in Colorado in Game 163 in Colorado. But that was only the final straw. The fatal blow was struck on Sept. 23, when Bradley blew out his ACL. Arguing with an umpire.
CF: Jim Edmonds
When your park has been compared to the Grand Canyon, it makes little sense to put a 37 yr old oft-injured player to man center field. Of course, that’s exactly what San Diego did in 2008. Edmonds, despite saying he was comfortable being in San Diego because his family lived there, played as if he couldn’t be more uncomfortable. I imagine this is in part due to being a near folk hero in St. Louis and being jettisoned (for DAVID FREESE!) to San Diego.
He couldn’t get jumps on balls in CF. He couldn’t hit for power. He couldn’t hit period. He was, in total, not the Jim Edmonds that anyone believed the Padres were getting. He played a total of 90 at-bats for the Padres, hitting .178 with 24 strikeouts. The Padres got 90 at-bats, at that clip, for a World Series MVP.
Of course, what pushes it over the top is that, immediately upon leaving San Diego for Chicago after 90 at-bats, Edmonds would go on to hit .256 with 19 HRs. Nothing frustrates fans more than watching a severely underperforming player immediately turn it around once they leave.
RF: Brian Giles
This is a tough position considering that the greatest player in franchise history played it for 19 years. Went with Brian Giles because of the domestic issues. He was a good player for San Diego (though did cost the Padres Jason Bay and Oliver Perez). He reinvented himself from a power hitter to an on-base machine.
Near the end of his career however he had some domestic issues. It’s worth noting that he was cleared of them in 2011 after being sued by his ex-girlfriend. Lot of abuse allegations. Sordid details. It’s a mess.
Flimsy reasons. But again, right field is a tough call on this franchise.
SP: Kevin Brown
It’s tough to say that someone who was so integral to helping the Padres reach only their 2nd World Series of all time is “unlikable.”
But such is life for someone who is simply a gun for hire. Maybe it’s because I was 17 and the Padres making the World Series was more important to me then, well, then anything. Maybe it’s because I was too young to realize the dirty side of sports. But, when you spend only one season in San Diego only to leave to our hated rivals, you’re not going to win me over very much.
Kevin Brown, despite being offered a $60 million contract from San Diego, left the Padres for the Dodgers, becoming the first $100 million player. I hold it against him. Maybe it’s not fair. But I do.
There they are. Someone more deserving not make the team or someone not deserve to be on this list? Leave it in the comments section. And let’s hope no one on the 2013 team finds themselves on this list in the future.