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Must-click link: the 100 Worst Baseball Players of All Time

Jul 13, 2011, 12:31 PM EDT

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Over at Deadspin, Eric Nusbaum counts down the 100 worst baseball players of all time. This, however, is not a list of guys with bad stats. They have to embody badness in some significant, lasting way.  Wait, let’s let Eric describe it:

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.

The list — today’s are the first 51 — is broken up by category. Legendary failures. Nepotism cases. Oddballs. It all makes for great reading. At least what I’ve read of it so far.  Like I said: this one will take up a good chunk of your day.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    I like lists like this. I scanned over the list and saw the 3 foot tall player Eddie Gaedel ranked 14th on the list. Come on. Only 14th and Mendoza ranked 1? Clearly, a 3 foot midget has to be ranked higher than 14th on this list.

    • ratstick - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      Except that he was a publicity stunt, not a ballplayer.

    • tolbuck - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      This is why Gaedel isn’t rated higher-his career OBP is 1.000.

  2. ratstick - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Could have gone much further with the nepotism angle… Dale Berra and Marc Sullivan come immediately to mind…

  3. Matt - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    If part 2 does not contain reference to the all-time worst Neifi Perez it loses all credibility.

    • APBA Guy - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      C’mon. Neifi had a .672 OPS in 12 MLB seasons. Cliff Pennington, Oakland’s current SS, is .671. And Neifi had one Golden Glove.

      You need to make the case for Neifi’s badness. Just throwing it out there isn’t enough.

      • Matt - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col/kaufman/2003/06/26/thursday/

        Supplemented with my blaming him for singlehandedly destroying the Tigers’ 2006 season after trading for him…they were 5-16 when Neifi played and 11-5 when he sat on the bench, blowing a 6.5 game lead that they held on the date he became a Tiger (Aug. 21).

        I’m fully aware that merely posting this is not conclusive because one horrible SS probably cannot be the sole cause…but having watched him play during that time I don’t believe he brought a single positive to the table…couldn’t hit, couldn’t field, couldn’t run…at some point you have to reach a point of statistical significance which would show that having him in the lineup or not was a significant factor in his teams losing.

      • Matt - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        To look at a more legitimate rationale… Yes, Neifi was a career 267/297/375 player…but those stats were significantly inflated by his 364 games of 321/346/481 at Coors.

      • nategearhart - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:34 PM

        Neifi Perez is probably Joe Posnanski’s least favorite player, which should be good enough for anybody.

      • Matt - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        To reinforce my anger over Neifi’s time in Detroit….he had only one extra base hit, and I was watching when he hit a grounder going right to the 2nd baseman before it took a crazy hop off of the mound and into center.

    • kirkmack - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:34 PM

      Don’t worry- he’s there

  4. aronmantoo - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Growing up baseball was my first love, watching or playing. I would have given 2 pinky’s to have made this list

  5. deathmonkey41 - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni- unfortunately I remember him donning the pinstripes. I wish I could wash all those memories away…

    • sportsdrenched - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      Steve Balboni still holds the the record for the most HR by a Royal in once season. 35 or 36, somehwere around there. This means the Royals weren’t even good enough to cheat properly during The Steroid Era.

      • nategearhart - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        He does indeed with 36. Whenever I think of that and get depressed, I consider some of the Mets’ dubious “records” and cheer up a little.
        Check his stats, and you’ll see that he has many more K’s than hits. Just amazing.

      • aceshigh11 - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:06 PM

        That made me laugh out loud. Well-done.

      • aceshigh11 - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:09 PM

        I just checked out Balboni’s career stats…he does indeed have more strikeouts (856) than hits (714)! That’s AMAZING.

        Also notice that in his very brief ’93 season, his batting average, slugging percentage AND on-base percentage were ALL .600 (.6/.6/.6).

        Clearly, Steve Balboni is the Antichrist.

  6. kirkmack - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    No Terry Felton? Yikes- in the putrid early 80′s, he was the worst of the worst for the Twins

  7. sportsdrenched - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Reading that list brings another thing to mind. We don’t have cool nicknames in baseball anymore.

    I know any group of guys that hangs out for very long as nicknames for eachother, but they’re not used outside the group. Mostly because they’re not PC. Seems like back in the @OldHossRadborne days those names were used in public and in the media.

  8. Bob Timmermann - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I only disagreed with the comments about Charles Comiskey as a player. He didn’t hit a lot, but he was considered to be a good fielding first baseman in his day, even revolutionary. He is credited with the idea of having the first baseman play off the bag.
    When you are playing with no gloves, it is very important to have a first baseman who can actually catch things.

  9. fquaye149 - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Not just Comiskey, but Guillen and Maranville were also listed in Bill James’s rankings of top 100 at their positions. I know that stats weren’t the only criterion here, but I find it hard to believe those three players were both in the top 100 all time at their position and also among the worst 100 players in history.

    An interesting read, I guess, but typical Deadspin–lots of bluster, very little of substance

  10. cintiphil - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    This list can never be complete without at least an honorable mention for MIlton Bradley and momma. they were like a team.

  11. 78mu - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    One thing Maxvill had going for him was that Bob Gibson always wanted him playing shortstop behind him. Even today I don’t think anyone would want to tell Bob Gibson to his face that Dal Maxvill is one of the hundred worst players of all time. One of the worst hitters yes but not one of the worst overall.

  12. Roger Moore - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    How can you have a list like that and leave out Hal Chase?

  13. nategearhart - Jul 13, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    No Kyle Davies?

  14. tcpcservices - Jul 13, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Jason Tyner needs to be on this list.

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