Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)

Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Illustration: Eric Barrow

(Although it will be very on-brand of me to do a literal middle finger history someday soon)

As mentioned in The Mourning After, Fernando Tatis Jr. took the less-traveled road when he doubled down on figuratively flipping off Texas manager Chris Woodward by stealing third base up six runs yesterday. The recommendation-through-gesture that Woodward and the Rangers stick it up their asses came a day after Woodward had whined that Tatis had swung on a 3-0 pitch with the Padres up big, resulting in a grand slam.

But Tatis isn’t the first to use his play on the field to stand as a raised social finger toward an opponent.

Here’s a small sampling of others:

Have you ever looked at a dollar bill, man?

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2 / 10

The Original — Babe Ruth and the Cubs

The Original — Babe Ruth and the Cubs

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Photo: (AP)

Proving that baseball players have always been categorically stupid, the 1932 World Series has lived through history for being the setting for Babe Ruth’s “called shot.” Whether or not he actually pointed to centerfield before depositing a ball onto Saturn’s rings has been highly dubious for a while now, but what isn’t in dispute is that the Cubs dugout thought it was a good idea to rile up far and away the league’s most intimidating slugger during the game. You’d think you’d leave alone the guy who hit more homers than entire teams, but perhaps that gives us insight into the intellect that provided the organization no championships for 108 years.

Whether he was pointing at center or “down a player’s throat” as has also been suggested, clearly Ruth’s gesture was meant for the Cubs dugout in some fashion. They were likely a little more quiet as he was rounding the bases.

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3 / 10

Roger Clemens’ Twilight Stare

Roger Clemens’ Twilight Stare

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Photo: (AP)

After the 1996 MLB season, then-GM of the Red Sox Dan Duquette opined that Roger Clemens was in the twilight of his career, and let him simply walk to Toronto after his contract was up. Of course, we know now that the slight by Duquette and the Red Sox caused Clemens to pump himself full of Martian growth hormone or actual plutonium or the like, but at the time it wasn’t against the rules. In his return to Boston, Clemens only struck out 16 in eight innings, and topped it off with a stare into the pressbox straight at Duquette that probably caused Duquette’s heart to pack up its things and hitchhike out of his body.

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4 / 10

Rhys Hoskins is Going to Sit on This One

Rhys Hoskins is Going to Sit on This One

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Photo: (Getty Images)

While baseball players tend to be red-asses in their everyday lives, there isn’t much on the field that puts them on tilt in an instant. The season is far too long and grinding to be ready to pop off at a moment’s notice, unless you want to stroke out by Memorial Day. Throwing at someone’s head though, whether intentionally or not, will draw a player’s ire very quickly. Rhys Hoskins had to duck two fastballs near his cranium from the Mets’ Jacob Rhame on a night that had already become testy between the two teams. The next night, Hoskins got to see Rhame again. And after taking him deep, no one was going to prevent Hoskins from enjoying it and making his point, taking 34 seconds to round the bases, leaving Rhame with no choice but to soak in it. It was Ham’s jog around the bases in real life.

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5 / 10

Luis Suarez Dives for David Moyes

Luis Suarez Dives for David Moyes

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Image: (Getty Images)

Leaving baseball behind for a minute, we move to soccer and a player who is essentially a middle finger onto himself in Luis Suarez (though a finger with teeth). The Merseyside Derby is a contentious enough affair, with Liverpool’s and Everton’s stadiums barely a half-mile apart and being the fixture that has produced the most red cards in the Premier League’s history. So it doesn’t need spice added to it, but with Suarez around that’s always a real trick to pull off.

Everton manager David Moyes, on the eve of the October 2012 edition, accused Suarez of being a habitual diver (which, despite Moyes being 80 percent clod is unquestionably true). Suarez was scoring goals for fun in those days, and he had no trouble piercing the Everton backline the next day. Which caused this celebration right in Moyes’s face.

Moyes should be thankful he didn’t call Suarez a habitual biter, which also would have been unquestionably true but certainly would have netted even worse results for the manager.

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6 / 10

Michael Jordan’s Entire Career

Michael Jordan’s Entire Career

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Image: (AP)

If “The Last Dance” provided nothing else, it certainly illustrated for everyone that Michael Jordan could perceive anything as a slight and use the next game as a referendum on his target’s game, family, soul, personal worth, and whatever else he could think of. Most of it was all in MJ’s head, but it didn’t matter. Whether it was George Karl failing to say hello in a restaurant (when Karl was assuredly high on mushrooms or something similar) or some loose quote by a player in a previous game or to the press, or somehow blaming Clyde Drexler for Sam Bowie being drafted ahead of him, everybody was at fault and everyone was going to pay.

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7 / 10

Muhammad Ali Turns Ernie Terrell into Burger

Muhammad Ali Turns Ernie Terrell into Burger

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Photo: (AP)

In the build-up to to their 1967 fight, Terrell refused to call Ali by his Muslim name. In response, Ali spent 15 rounds pounding him into something between a liquid and a solid, repeatedly yelling, “What’s My Name?!” A good portion of the crowd begged the fight to be stopped, but it went the distance as Ali used every opportunity to make sure Terrell knew he was wrong. Boxing is the rare instance where you can physically take out your thoughts on someone, and Ali didn’t miss his chance.

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8 / 10

Frank Robinson Goes Full Ham on Reds GM

Frank Robinson Goes Full Ham on Reds GM

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Photo: (AP)

Previously described instances were single moments or games. Frank Robinson upped the ante in 1966 when he spent a whole season showing his former GM just how much ooze he had between his ears. The Reds traded Robinson to Baltimore after the 1965 season, with Cincinnati GM Bill DeWitt describing Robinson as “not a young 30.” Robinson had a 150 wRC+ for the Reds in 1965, but apparently took DeWitt’s comments personally, as in his first year in Baltimore, he hit .316, slugged .637, and belted 49 homers for a 195 wRC+ (21st best offensive season since 1950) in a unanimous MVP season that also netted him the triple crown. DeWitt must’ve been shocked that Robinson could accomplish so much while having to stow his walker away before every game.

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9 / 10

Bo Jackson Turns Brian Bosworth into... Brian Bosworth

Bo Jackson Turns Brian Bosworth into... Brian Bosworth

Illustration for article titled Other Great Moments In Middle Finger History (Figuratively)
Screenshot: ABC

College sports have a tradition of celebrating that undersized player that yells a lot, especially if he’s white. Think Steve Wojciechowski at Duke or just about any Notre Dame star ever in their quest to make Rudy again. Brian Bosworth may have been the first, and no one was better at promoting himself than Boz. Upon arriving in the NFL, Boz didn’t stop talking, and one unfortunate day (for him) promised to contain Bo Jackson, an actual superior athlete. You know what happened next.

It’s rare that one play essentially ends a player’s career, but Bozworth was pumping gas at this point the following year. Or he might as well have been. But hey, not everyone gets to be famous for something, even if it is for being planted on your ass at high velocity.

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Have you ever looked at a dollar bill, man?