Feature photo courtesy of Jonathan Vankin
When Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins threw various pieces of his uniform across the field Wednesday during a game against the Kansas City Royals, some baseball fans may have been reminded of other outbursts in baseball’s history. Hunter certainly displayed passion and got the crowd engaged, but how did his meltdown stack up to some other legendary ejection-worthy moments? Here we’ll grade three different moments of anger-induced antics (all performed by managers) using a slew of subjective factors.
Main Character: Former Pirates Manager Lloyd McClendon
Date: June 26, 2001
Highlight: Taking first. Literally.
Synopsis: While managerial counterparts had already established the “throwing of the base” routine, McClendon took a different approach by simply removing first base from the field and carrying it with him into the dugout, surprising fans, umpires, and players alike.
Creativity: 8/10 (reminded people you could actually remove the bases from the ground)
Passion: 7/10 (stayed relatively calm while carrying out his tantrum)
Nuisance factor: 8/10 (you kind of need all of the bases for the game to continue)
Crowd Pleaser? : 9/10 (standing ovation from crowd, boos when bag replaced by groundsman)
Overall Total: B+
Main Character: Former Mets Manager Bobby Valentine
Date: June 9, 1999
Highlight: Where do you even find a spare mustache lying around in a clubhouse?
Synopsis: After being thrown out for arguing a catcher’s interference call, Valentine stuck on a somewhat convincing but nonetheless fake mustache and a pair of sunglasses and returned to the shadows of the dugout to try to take in the rest of the game.
Creativity: 9/10 (it begs the question: had he done this before? He seemed to have all of the necessary costume elements ready to go)
Passion: 9/10 (disguising yourself and putting your dignity on the line to catch a few more plays? Not bad)
Nuisance factor: 3/10 (didn’t really disrupt the game at all)
Crowd Pleaser? : 7/10 (at least the commentators liked it)
Overall Total: C-
Main Character: Former Mississippi Braves (Minors) Manager Phillip Wellman
Date: June 1, 2007
Highlight: Do we have to choose?
Synopsis: This is the fruit salad of meltdowns. Each individual piece is good, but when put together? Amazing. It’s methodical, artistic and one of the best things to come out of Minor League Baseball. We’ve got base-tossing. We’ve got rosin bag grenade-throwing. We’ve got a kiss to the audience.
Creativity: 10/10 (this must have taken practice)
Passion: 10/10 (His players were surely appreciative of his efforts)
Nuisance factor: 9/10 (unearthing home plate alone probably took a while)
Crowd Pleaser? : 10/10 (the cheers may have fueled his actions, and he rewarded them with everything he had)
Overall Total: A+