Let’s Revisit Some Of The Greatest Manager Meltdowns In Baseball History

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A baseball manager having a meltdown at an umpire is a pastime as old as baseball itself. Every so often, an umpire is going to get a call wrong, or at least appear to, and the manager on the wrong end of it is going to storm out of the dugout and flip his lid.

It’s a wonderful event that really only happens in baseball. I cannot think of a single other job where it’s perfectly common to throw a temper tantrum like a toddler, with little to no repercussions, and in some cases, you even get praised afterwards.

Sure, with instant replay having been implemented in the big leagues, the meltdowns aren’t as prevalent. Now it’s all, “Hey, how’s your family? Hold on a second while my bench coach tells me if we should challenge this.” But that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. In fact, some of the best ones have occurred only recently (albeit, in the minor leagues, see here and here).

Which is why, in honor of these wonderful events, we’re revisiting some of the greatest manager meltdowns of all time.

Lloyd McClendon

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First on our list is a video that took place only recently, and it features Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon kicking a hat. It’s certainly not the greatest meltdown of all time, but thanks to Isaac setting it to the tune of “Yakety Sax,” it becomes a bit of a classic. Thanks, Isaac. Oh, and don’t worry, I’m confident McClendon will make another appearance on this list in just a bit.

Gary Robinson

As you’ll see later, removing a base is a popular managerial tirade move. Robinson’s meltdown featured that bit of shenanigans, but he wasn’t about to stop there; he had bigger plans. You certainly have to respect the man’s creativity.

Lloyd McClendon

In this meltdown from 2001, McClendon had already been upset with the umpiring crew from a previous call in the game. So, by the time this bang-bang play happened, he was already a bit on edge. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “I’m taking my ball and going home,” right? Well, McClendon decided to take that expression one giant step further.

Joe Mikulik

For minor-league manager Mikulik, you could pretty much take your pick of best meltdown. His history is so extensive, he could probably be his own category. There’s the time he kicked his hat like a field-goal kicker, and the time he drop-kicked his own shoe. But for my money, his best meltdown was the time he performed a strip tease. It’s tough to beat a strip tease.

Lou Piniella

No manager meltdown list is complete without Sweet Lou. In fact, he probably could have made this list four of five times. Not only is he the Godfather of the base toss, but the passion in his screaming is second to none. How he gets his face that red without passing out is one of life’s great mysteries.

Earl Weaver

Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver was a master of language. At least, the colorful kind. It’s tough to imagine a single manager in today’s game who could pull off saying to an umpire, “You’re here for one reason: to f*ck us good.” The man was a legendary manager, and a legendary wordsmith. And the fact that the umpire pretty much gave it right back with just as colorful use of language was an added bonus.

Billy Martin

Billy Martin’s relationship with umpires was always volatile, but perhaps no meltdown was bigger than this one, which took place toward the end of his career. After the ump tossed Martin from the game, Martin proceeded to kick dirt at him. But he wasn’t done. Just for good measure, he then picked up some dirt and threw it right at the ump’s chest. Would that be assault today? Probably not, but I also can’t imagine it ever happening again.

Phillip Wellman

We close out our list with the best managerial meltdown of all time, courtesy of Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman. Here, Wellman made sure he covered all the bases (pun intended) of a successful on-field managerial meltdown. Covering home plate with dirt? Check. Removing a base and throwing it? Check again. An Army crawl on the infield, then grabbing the rosin bag and heaving it like a grenade? Check…wait, what? Yes, it’s all included. I didn’t even know I was looking for the grenade toss until he did it, at which point I realized that I’ve always wanted it. This will forever be the meltdown that all other meltdowns are judged. Just a solid all-around effort.

Honorable mention: Jimmy Dugan; Wally Backman (NSFW).

(Via YouTube)