Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pierzynski's history of stirring things up

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski hangs tough in a collision with the Twins’ Michael Cuddyer and tags him out trying to score on a flyout to shallow center Tuesday, preserving a scoreless tie. Chicago went on to win 1-0 and clinch the AL Central title.

Associated Press

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski hangs tough in a collision with the Twins’ Michael Cuddyer and tags him out trying to score on a flyout to shallow center Tuesday, preserving a scoreless tie. Chicago went on to win 1-0 and clinch the AL Central title.

A history of stirring things up

As you remember from the controversial Rays obstruction play this season in Chicago, catcher A.J. Pierzynski is no stranger to being in the middle of things:

. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire jokes that he had two chairs in his office — one for Pierzynski (Twins, 1998-2003) and one for everyone else. When Pierzynski leaves, Gardenhire says the catcher's grating ways cost his pitchers strikes with umpires.

. While with the Giants (2004), he's accused of kneeing a trainer in the groin (Pierzynski denies it), playing cards instead of going over opposing hitters (says it happened once after asking pitcher Brett Tomko to wait a moment while he finished a hand) and criticizing his pitchers to opposition.

. After he is released by the Giants, his agent contacts White Sox GM Kenny Williams, who asks manager Ozzie Guillen about acquiring Pierzynski. "I told him, 'Hell no.' I don't want that headache on my team."

. In 2005 spring training, he offers a $100 bounty to anyone who homers off ex-Giants teammate Tomko, who Pierzynski claims was the anonymous player who labeled him a "clubhouse cancer" in an article the previous season. Pierzynski's White Sox teammates put a Tomko baseball card in his locker.

. 2005 ALCS, Game 2, vs. Angels. He strikes out swinging but twirls around and races to first, believing C Josh Paul had not caught Strike 3 cleanly for the third out. Paul, believing he had, rolls the ball back to the mound as he and his teammates walk off. Pierzynski is called safe, and a pinch-runner steals second and soon scores the winner. The play shifts the momentum to the White Sox, who go on to win the ALCS and World Series.

. On May 20, 2006, against the rival Cubs, he is punched in the jaw by C Michael Barrett after Pierzynski crashes into him at home, knocks him off his feet, slaps the plate with his hand and bumps Barrett, setting off a melee. Barrett gets a 10-game suspension; Pierzynski is fined $2,000 (he says for inciting the crowd by waving his hands after the brawl) but no suspension.

. In May 2006, Sports Illustrated runs the results of a survey taken among 470 major-leaguers about what player they would most like to see get beaned. Pierzynski "wins" with 18 percent of the vote. Of those surveyed in the AL Central, 42 percent vote for him.

. No. 9 in GQ's list of 10 Most Hated Athletes.

. In 2007, makes an appearance as a member of security on the Jerry Springer Show.

. In May 2007, the Twins accuse Pierzynski of trying to spike first baseman Justin Morneau as he crosses the bag. Pierzynski later apologizes and says it wasn't intentional. "I don't think A.J. does anything like that on purpose," Gardenhire says. "But there's that one second, when something takes place on the field, and it just happens with him."

Sources:, SI, GQ, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Pierzynski's history of stirring things up 10/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 2:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …