I was amused and curious when I saw the Bleacher Report headline: “The 10 Most Hated Players in San Francisco Giants Recent History” (2/21/12).
The guilty athletes from 10 – 1 are Jose Guillen, Aaron Rowand, Sidney Ponson, Orel Hershiser, Miguel Tejada, Jeff Kent, Neifi Perez, Barry Zito, Armando Benitez, and A.J. Pierzynski.
Blogger Zach Ruskin cites A.J. Pierzynski’s arrogance and selfishness as reasons he merits the number one “most hated” spot. Ruskin re-tells the story of an ugly incident involving Pierzynski. During spring training, a loose ball found the catcher’s private parts. Trainer Stan Conte walked over to check on A.J. thrust his knee in Conte’s privates. That behavior has no place on a baseball field so It’s not hard to see why Pierzynski is listed as the most-hated former Giant.
My most-hated Giant from Ruskin’s list is Jeff Kent. The second-baseman is on his list because of a disrespectful attitude towards his teammates. The final straw (for all of us) was when Kent signed a three-year contract with the Dodgers of Los Angeles. I can still hear the resounding boos that greeted Kent every time he came to bat in San Francisco.
“Recent history” was not defined in the blog. If we’re speaking of the last generation (20 years), I would place Salomon Torres at the top of the heap. The right-handed Torres infamously blew the last game of the 1993 season, the year the Giants won 103 games to the Atlanta Braves’ 104. Had the Giants won, they would’ve faced Atlanta in a 1-game playoff the next day. It had been a storybook season for the Giants and it got derailed by Torres’ poor outing. He broke a lot of hearts that year and for all these reasons he deserves to be the Giants’ most-hated player of all-time.