MLB

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Athletes and auctions Sports figures auctioning big-ticket memorabilia, including Gold Gloves, World Series rings and game-worn uniforms. /cbk/lists/athletes-sports-figures-auctioned-big-ticket-memorabilia-world-series-rings-cy-young-awards-jerseys-101612 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/11/12/PI_20131112025841974_136_102.JPG
The phenoms of 2013 2013's rookies and first-year players full of phenoms making a crop that is the best in years, including Yasiel Puig, Evan Gattis, Wil Myers, Gerrit Cole and Hyun-Jin Ryu. /mlb/lists/2013-rookies-first-year-players-phenoms-best-in-years-yasiel-puig-evan-gattis-wil-myers-gerrit-cole-hyun-jin-ryu-061713 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/07/060613-MLB-Yasiel-Puig-PI-AA_20130607011200341_136_102.JPG
MLB playoff team Power Rankings Shawn Ramsey ranks the 10 major league playoff teams 1 through 10. /mlb/lists/playoff-team-mlb-power-rankings-red-sox-cardinals-braves-dodgers-oakland-as-100113 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/27/092713-MLB-RED-SOX-ORTIZ-PEDROIA-BRADLEY-JR-CELEBRATE-DC-PI_201309272311548_136_102.JPG
Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records /boxing/lists/Most_Embarrassing_Sports_Records http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/02/wallace2_20121202145912105_136_102.JPG
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MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29624343 Full of character Full+of+character MLB

Let's lay aside the numbers, the injuries, the protections, the position battles, and the looming pennant races and instead talk character. By this, we don't mean "moral uprightness" or anything stuffy like that. Rather, we mean those ballplayers who say and do interesting things and generally contribute to those qualities that make baseball something more than merely the greatest endeavor in human history. So to honor those who go above and beyond, we're here to pass out sequined pageant sashes to baseball's 10 best "characters."

— Dayn Perry
 

Eric Risberg - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery-Intro-JW_20110323093738901_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery-Intro-JW_20110323093738901_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29622783 Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners Ichiro+Suzuki%2C+Seattle+Mariners MLB

There are "characters," and there is the rarer subset of "cultural icons." Ichiro is very much the latter. He plays the game like no one since Wee Willie Keeler walked the earth, and he was the first to prove that Asian hitters can survive and even thrive in the U.S. major leagues. Oh, and his throwing arm is capable of violating non-proliferation treaties. Besides all the pioneering and on-field excellence, Ichiro is also, without question, the game's greatest quotesmith since Yogi Berra.

Maybe this guy deserves an honorable mention?

Lenny Ignelzi - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery1-JW_20110323093738902_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery1-JW_20110323093738902_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29618927 Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants Brian+Wilson%2C+San+Francisco+Giants MLB

Wilson's character-building achievements are legion: the final out of the World Series, the weapons-grade beard, the "sounds delicious" thing, the "George Lopez" appearance, the occasional buddy-cop adventure with "The Machine," and ... we could go on, at length. Sure, Wilson could straddle the line that separates "refreshing" from "tired act," but right now he's squarely on the refreshing side of things.

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery2-JW_20110323093738900_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery2-JW_20110323093738900_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29622784 Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox Ozzie+Guillen%2C+Chicago+White+Sox+ MLB

While Guillen occasionally says some wrongheaded and unacceptable things, he’s also occasionally awesome. For instance: Wrigley Field makes him want to puke; the rats at Wrigley are bigger than pigs; Dustin Pedroia should be riding horses; Guillen is better looking and has more money than Buck Showalter; Guillen hopes to die while changing pitchers; and, rather than quit his job, Guillen will do something to get fired so he still gets paid. Heck, even Guillen's innermost thoughts are fraught with hazard. But none of it would matter if Guillen couldn't manage, which he very much can.

Nam Y. Huh - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery3-JW_20110323093737899_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery3-JW_20110323093737899_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29618926 Dirk Hayhurst, Tampa Bay Rays Dirk+Hayhurst%2C+Tampa+Bay+Rays MLB

Prevailing stereotype: Most athletes are one-dimensional automatons not given to self-examination or usefulness off the field/court of play. One of many defiers of prevailing stereotype: Dirk Hayhurst. Hayhurst is an otherwise unassuming and fringe-dwelling relief pitcher, but he's also a New York Times bestselling author. Best of all, Hayhurst actually wrote his own book, "The Bullpen Gospels," which is a widely acclaimed account of his life in baseball. Also best of all: When he signs his autograph, he also sketches a "garfoose," which is the totally possible spawn of a giraffe and a moose, which also breathes fire.

Elsa - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery4-JW_20110323093737897_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery4-JW_20110323093737897_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 30150375 Nyjer Morgan, Milwaukee Brewers Nyjer+Morgan%2C+Milwaukee+Brewers MLB

Some might not like Morgan for his provocative style and hair-trigger temper. Discerning observers, however, will appreciate his exposed socks, flair on the bases, knack for the absurd catch, tendency to stir opposing pots, and the most excellent alter ego in all of sports. Seriously, "Tony Plush." Morgan could have no other merits, and he'd still make this list for calling himself Tony Plush. Whatever you call him, he was traded from the Washington Nationals to the Milwaukee Brewers days before the 2011 season. He's continued his antics in Milwaukee.

Jeffrey Phelps) - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/09/08/090811-MLB-Biggest-Oddballs-Gallery-Nyjer-Morgan-JW_201109081458135_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/09/08/090811-MLB-Biggest-Oddballs-Gallery-Nyjer-Morgan-JW_201109081458135_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29622782 Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants Tim+Lincecum%2C+San+Francisco+Giants MLB

Reigning Celebrity Stoner of the Year? Check. A diet befitting the Celebrity Stoner of the Year? Check. Those qualities by themselves would be enough for inclusion, but Lincecum also has "small guy" appeal, and — this might also be worth mentioning — he's one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Come for the Linda Rondstadt hair, stay for the Cy Young Awards.

Elsa - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery5-JW_20110323093737898_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery5-JW_20110323093737898_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29618928 John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers John+Axford%2C+Milwaukee+Brewers+ MLB

How does one achieve "character" status in baseball? Being a closer helps, since, as a species, they tend to be more afflicted than your average bear. In Axford's case, what also helps is that his choice in facial hair gives him the aspect of a 19th-century railroad baron. It also helps that he's letting fans choose his entrance music, which is as valuable to the closer as it is to the professional wrestler.

Jonathan Ferrey - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery7-JW_20110323093838907_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery7-JW_20110323093838907_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29618929 Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox Adam+Dunn%2C+Chicago+White+Sox MLB

The nickname "Big Donkey" says multitudes. At the plate, Dunn is a safe bet either to strike out violently or give those in the outfield bleachers a battered souvenir. He's also an easygoing type who knows his limitations and, to his enduring credit, never stuffed Marty Brennaman in a garbage can. (Instead, he merely prank calls him.) Oh, and he also checked up on Bob Uecker during a game. In case you were wondering, yes, checking up on Bob Uecker during a game is a cool thing to do.

Ron Vesely - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery8-JW_20110323093839908_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery8-JW_20110323093839908_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29618931 Nick Swisher, New York Yankees Nick+Swisher%2C+New+York+Yankees MLB

Is there a more overused sports cliche than saying a professional athlete is like a kid out there? No, no, there is not. But in the case of Nick Swisher, it might be worth our while to disinter the adjectival phrase that Brett Favre helped beat to death. Perhaps Swisher's loosening of the Yankee clubhouse is overstated, but the testimonies of his teammates say otherwise. To boot, he's not a bad emergency hurler.

Kathy Willens - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery9-JW_20110323093844912_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery9-JW_20110323093844912_107_80.JPG
MLB 49 43 Baseball's most eccentric players 29618932 Matt Stairs, San Diego Padres Matt+Stairs%2C+San+Diego+Padres+ MLB

In many ways the philosopher-king of the "beer league" A's of the early aughts, Stairs looks a bit like a walrus, if walruses were also members of a plumber's local. Appearances aside, however, he's a guy with 265 career bombs and an OPS+ of 118 to his credit. He's one of the great pinch-hitters of all-time, and he might set the record for most teams played for. Not since John Kruk have we seen such a pleasing distinction between "athlete" and "ballplayer."

Christian Petersen - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery10-JW_20110323093844913_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/03/23/032311-MLB-Eccentric-Player-Gallery10-JW_20110323093844913_107_80.JPG
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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/11/12/PI_20131112025841974_136_102.JPG Athletes and auctions Sports figures auctioning big-ticket memorabi... Sports figures auctioning big-ticket memorabilia, including Gold Gloves, World Series rings and game-worn uniforms. Turns out you can own some pretty hefty pieces of sports history . . . but you’ll need a pretty hefty wad of cash to get in on the action. Nov 12, 2013 7:02 AM ET 1 9 /cbk/lists/athletes-sports-figures-auctioned-big-ticket-memorabilia-world-series-rings-cy-young-awards-jerseys-101612
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/07/060613-MLB-Yasiel-Puig-PI-AA_20130607011200341_136_102.JPG The phenoms of 2013 2013's rookies and first-year players full of... 2013's rookies and first-year players full of phenoms making a crop that is the best in years, including Yasiel Puig, Evan Gattis, Wil Myers, Gerrit... These guys have big hype or big numbers -- or both. Either way, this rookie class appears to be something special. Nov 3, 2013 9:56 PM ET 1 9 /mlb/lists/2013-rookies-first-year-players-phenoms-best-in-years-yasiel-puig-evan-gattis-wil-myers-gerrit-cole-hyun-jin-ryu-061713
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/27/092713-MLB-RED-SOX-ORTIZ-PEDROIA-BRADLEY-JR-CELEBRATE-DC-PI_201309272311548_136_102.JPG MLB playoff team Power Rankings Shawn Ramsey ranks the 10 major league playof... Shawn Ramsey ranks the 10 major league playoff teams 1 through 10. Boston made quite a turnaround from last season, but can the Sox conclude the year with their third title since 2004? Oct 2, 2013 3:10 AM ET 1 9 /mlb/lists/playoff-team-mlb-power-rankings-red-sox-cardinals-braves-dodgers-oakland-as-100113
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/02/wallace2_20121202145912105_136_102.JPG Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records Oct 1, 2013 7:23 AM ET 1 9 /boxing/lists/Most_Embarrassing_Sports_Records