(From the archives — originally posted 2/3/10)
Dave Kingman (1975-1977, 1981-1983)
Kingman was notoriously prickly with the media with the Mets. Things got worse when he left, once sending a rat in a box to a female sportswriter when he was with the A’s. Read this really good article by Joe Posnaski on his feelings about Kingman. Despite it all, he’s still one of my favorite all-time Mets.
Darryl Strawberry (1983-1990)
Another one of my all-time favorites, but you’ve got to admit, he was kind of a jerk. Famously punched Keith Hernandez while taking a team photo. After going through a lot of trials (literally) and tribulations, he has rehabbed his image and is now back in the Mets’ good graces.
Kevin Mitchell (1984, 1986)
Lets see, he allegedly fought with Strawberry during a basketball game in 1982 shortly after both were drafted and signed. He allegedly decapitated his girlfriend’s cat (he denies it). He was allegedly making plane reservations during the famous Game 6 comeback in the 1986 World Series before being called on as a pinch-hitter. In 1999 he was arrested for assaulting his father. And as a minor league manager in 2000, he was suspended for punching the opposing team’s owner in the mouth during a brawl.
Lenny Dykstra (1985-1989)
Dykstra earned his jerkdom for his post-baseball career. He earned lots of media attention for his business acumen, accumulating tens of millions of dollars. He started an investment fund for athletes that charged exorbitant fees. Now he’s bankrupt, and blames everybody else for his troubles. Check out this excellent article on Dykstra’s rise and fall.
Gregg Jefferies (1987-1991)
Jefferies came up to the Mets as a 20-year-old with a lot of hype. And apparently he believed it all. He was seen as extremely immature, and by all reports was hated by his teammates.
Vince Coleman (1991-1993)
He injured Dwight Gooden’s arm by stupidly swinging a golf club in the clubhouse early in the 1993 season. Three months later, he threw a firecracker into a crowd of fans outside Dodger Stadium. An all around nice guy.
Bobby Bonilla (1992-1995, 1999)
His jerkdom has been well documented in these pages. No need to repeat. But man, was he a jerk.
Bret Saberhagen (1992-1995)
In 1993 Saberhagen sprayed bleach into a group of reporters. When he was found out, he apologized and donated one day’s pay to charity. So maybe he wasn’t a total jerk.
Jeff Kent (1992-1996)
Here’s my favorite Kent story. After coming over from the Blue Jays in a late-season trade along with Ryan Thompson for David Cone, the Mets staged their annual rookie hazing, in which the young players wear women’s clothing. Thompson went along, but Kent smugly refused, saying he had already done it earlier in the season in Toronto. Can you believe he’ll be in the Hall of Fame someday? Boy, those early 1990 teams were certainly jerky!
Lastings Milledge (2006-2007)
I actually had no problem with his high-fiving fans as he took the field after hitting his first home run. But the rest of his act quickly wore thin with his teammates, culminating with someone (reported to be Billy Wagner) hanging a note on his locker that read “Know your place, rook.”
Mug Shots Courtesy Ultimate Mets Database, http://ultimatemets.com/mugshots.php