9. Jimmy Piersall
Lots of players butt heads with their managers, but few have the clout to get their skipper traded. Yet that’s what transpired with Jimmy Piersall, who played with the Indians from 1959-1961.
By the time Piersall came to town, he already had one strike against him. Unpopular GM Frank Lane had traded beloved slugger Vic Wertz to acquire him, and it was already looking like Piersall wouldn’t be the same player as he was with the Red Sox.
A two-time All-Star center fielder with the Red Sox, Piersall hit .238 in 1958 the season before he came to the Indians.
He and Tribe manager Joe Gordon got off on the wrong foot, and Indians traded Gordon to Detroit for their manager, Jimmy Dykes. According to the Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia, Piersall “won a personality conflict” with Gordon, although he didn’t get along with Dykes, either.
Dykes was fired after the 1961 season, which was also Piersall’s final year in Cleveland. Before Dykes left town, he let it be known how big a pain Piersall could be.
“I think I did as much with Piersall as anyone could have, but he can make it awful tough for any manager. You’ve got to pamper him, and you’ve got to be tough with him. It’s a problem.”
Lots of personalities have played in the big leagues, and Piersall is one of many. What kind of guy was he? He once hid in the monuments during a game at Yankee Stadium. Following his big league career, he broadcast games for the Chicago White Sox, but was fired for being too controversial.
Next: Braylon Edwards