JSF Power Rankings: St. Louis Sports Malcontents
With the recent news that Patriots receiver Randy Moss indirectly forced a trade to the Vikings by publicly whining, he strengthened his reputation as a certain type of professional athlete - a malcontent. Malcontents tend to pop up in every sport and every city including our own.
So who were the most notable ones – justified or not – to hit St. Louis sports in modern history? We looked at the dissatisfied, rebellious, troublemaking or just plain unhappy and came up with our Top 5 most well-known (or well-publicized) local malcontents for this week’s JSF Power Rankings…
5.) Jerome Bettis
After a training camp holdout before the Rams first season in St. Louis, Bettis produced a miserable season in Rich Brooks’ first year as coach (637 yards rushing) and began hearing some boos in the crowd thoughout. Making matters much worse was the fact that Brooks and other Rams officials publicly painted Bettis as a negative locker room influence in part to justify their decision to trade him to Pittsburgh before 1996, allowing them to draft Lawrence Phillips to serve as their new running back.
In 1996, Rams fans thought they were dumping the bad apple and gaining a new star. Needless to say, things sort of played out a shade differently.
4.) Adam Oates
Though his production on the ice was unmatched when he was paired up with Brett Hull – peaking with 90 assists in 61 games in 90-91 – Oates’ interest in being paid what he was worth didn’t match up with what the Blues thought he brought to the table.
After reluctantly signing him for the 91-92 season, he again threatened to holdout after the season in an effort to get a justified raise. In response, the Blues sent him packing midseason to Boston in exchange for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal.
The relationship with Oates was rocky for the Blues off the ice, but it sure was pretty on the ice.
3.) Kelly Stouffer
Imagine if Sam Bradford would have elected to sit out the entire 2010 season after being drafted because he couldn’t come to terms with the Rams? He might have reached top shelf malcontent status by local media and fans by about Week 1 of the season.
For many football fans in town, it might have just been a flashback to 1987.
That year, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Colorado State QB Kelly Stouffer with the #6 overall pick only to watch Stouffer holdout the entire season and ultimately force a trade to Seattle, where he played for four years and racked up 19 INT compared to 7 TD in his 16 career starts.
No other draft pick has pulled off the full season holdout since Stouffer’s, making him a historic malcontent.
2.) Garry Templeton
While he had all the talent the team wanted, Templeton went on an unprecedented streak of malcontent-ism in his final years with the Cardinals. He declined an invitation to All Star Game because he wasn’t a starter, he complained about where he hit in the lineup, didn’t like his salary, and wasn’t shy about his interest to be traded out west. Players on the team even questioned his attitude.
He maintained such a rough relationship with Cardinals fans that he responded to boos from the home crowd ine night with middle fingers and a crotch grab. That was enough to motivate manager/GM Whitey Herzog to physically drag him into the dugout and eventually send him packing in return for a guy by the name of Ozzie Smith.
Not a bad haul by Whitey.
In Bidwell’s eyes, offering support to a team that didn’t win a single playoff game in the 27 years they called this city home was just not enough from St. Louis. He also wanted the taxpayers to pony up for a new stadium as a replacement to Busch. The threat if they didn’t? Move them to another city. He ultimately ended up following through, choosing to move to Phoenix where he would get to play in “beautiful” Sun Devil Stadium for 20 years.
Glad that worked out, Bill. Enjoy your irreparable reputation in St. Louis.
(Honorable Mention: Felipe Lopez, Kevin Carter, Tino Martinez, Mike Keenan)