Posted on 29 September 2010 by Wanna Be Sports Guy
Sometimes, no matter how talented a person may be, certain aspects of their personality prevent them from being recognized and honored by the public. It’s happened in just about every line of work under the sun, including the game of baseball. And perhaps no one has seen their career expunged from the nation’s consciousness as quickly as former slugger Albert Belle.
Born Albert Jojuan Belle, the 6-foot-2, 225 pound outfielder spent time with the Indians, White Sox, and Orioles. Over one stretch of his career, he collected eight straight seasons with 30 homers and 100 RBI. He retired in 2001, owning career totals of 1,726 hits, 381 home runs, and an average of .295.
But beyond his obvious athletic accomplishments, Belle was much better known for his reputation as an ill-tempered, malicious recluse. He was once suspended for using a corked bat, which the umpires confiscated from him during a game. In an effort to retrieve the tainted lumber, Belle hoisted teammate and fellow malcontent Jason Grimsley through the ceiling tiles. Armed with a decoy bat and flashlight, grimsley crawled through the ceiling and dropped into the umpire’s dressing room, purloining the corked bat and leaving the decoy in its place. The ruse was immediately uncovered, and Belle was suspended.
But he’s done far worse than that. The outfielder once chased down some egg-throwing Halloween vandals with his car, eventually striking one of them. He had a well-publicized outburst against a group of reporters in the dugout during the 1995 World Series, after which he was fined and order to apologize. In characteristic fashion, Belle refused.
Still not enough to prove his status as one of baseball’s biggest tools? Just ask ESPN’s Buster Olney, who had the following to say about the slugger’s tenure with the Indians:
“It was a taken in baseball circles that Albert Belle was nuts… The Indians billed him $10,000 a year for the damage he caused in clubhouses on the road and at home, and tolerated his behavior only because he was an awesome slugger… He slurped coffee constantly and seemed to be on a perpetual caffeinated frenzy. Few escaped his wrath: on some days he would destroy the postgame buffet…launching plates into the shower… after one poor at-bat against Boston, he retreated to the visitor’s clubhouse and took a bat to teammate Kenny Lofton’s boombox. Belle preferred to have the clubhouse cold, below 60 degrees, and when one chilly teammate turned up the heat, Belle walked over, turned down the thermostat, and smashed it with his bat. His nickname, thereafter, was “Mr. Freeze.”
Now, some of you may have a problem with us awarding this particular trophy to Belle. “What about Ty Cobb,” some will say.
Nope, doesn’t count. Ty Cobb wasn’t a jerk. He was a psychopath.
In the end, the epithet in question should probably rest on the shoulders of Barry Bonds. But hey, everybody knows what a meany he was. Let’s give credit where credit is due – Albert Belle, you are one hell of a jerk.
- Taylor Maxwell
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