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The New York baseball world has been chock-full of colorful characters. Some spoke their own language, some mastered the art of the hot foot and one liked to sit in birthday cakes. But all of them were just a little different. Here’s a list of some famous flakes of New York.

Casey Stengel: The original New York flake, the Ol’ Perfesser played for two NY teams (Dodgers, Giants) and managed three (Dodgers, Yankees, Mets). He spoke his own language that was so unique it had its own name―‘Stengelese.’ As a manager, he couldn’t keep his own players straight. And once as a player, he stepped up to home plate and tipped his hat to the crowd, freeing a bird that was perched on his head, hiding under his cap.

Tug McGraw: The Mets most lovable free spirit was the consummate flaky left-handed relief pitcher. Tug pitched for the Amazin’s from 1965–’74, and he coined the phrase ‘Ya Gotta Believe.’ He even had his own comic strip, Scroogie. He loved life, and Mets fans loved him back.

Jim Bouton: Most famous for writing Ball Four about his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros, Bouton achieved most of his success while pitching for the Yankees in the early ’60s. Arm trouble forced him to become a knuckleball pitcher, and he had the right personality for it. He was one of the first counterculture ballplayers, and many of his coaches, managers and teammates found his ideas and opinions to be odd. He was blackballed from Yankees Old-Timers’ Day for years, supposedly for what he wrote about Mickey Mantle, but was eventually invited back. After his playing career ended, he went on to become an entrepreneur, inventing Big League Chew and forming the Vintage Base Ball Federation.

Roger McDowell: The all-time master of the hot foot, McDowell entertained his teammates and fans alike with his antics and high jinks when he played for the Mets in the 1980s. He was also famous for being the second spitter in an episode of Seinfeld.

Joe Pepitone: The former Yankee first baseman made three All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves but is most famous for introducing the hair dryer to Major League clubhouses. He also had a ‘playing’ hairpiece that fit under his hat and a ‘non-playing’ one for everyday use. That alone qualifies him for this list.

Rickey Henderson: The former Yankee and Met often referred to himself in the third person. He wasn’t always sure who his teammates were. And you sometimes had no idea if he was actually speaking the English language. A Hall of Fame flake if there ever was one.

Wade Boggs: The former Yankees third baseman ate chicken before every game. He took batting practice at 5:17 PM. He ran sprints at 7:17 PM. He was a self-proclaimed sex addict. His wife once ran him over with her truck―while he was in the passenger seat (she took a sharp turn, he fell out of the door and the back wheel ran over his arm). Someone once pulled a knife on him in a robbery attempt, and he claims he got out of the situation by willing himself invisible. Umm, ok.

Lenny Dykstra: The Mets center fielder from 1985–’89 filled every outfield in the National League with tobacco juice. He called everybody ‘Dude’ and is now making millions in stocks and as a businessman. He’s most likely the only millionaire entrepreneur to be nicknamed ‘Nails.’

Turk Wendell: This Mets fan favorite had a million superstitions. A lot of them had gone by the wayside once he came to Queens (waving to the center fielder before the first pitch of every inning, chewing licorice and then brushing his teeth between every inning), but he riled up the crowd by slamming the rosin bag on the mound to psych himself up, and wore a necklace of teeth and claws made from animals he had killed. He wore # 99 in honor of Ricky ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn.

Mickey Rivers: Played center field for the Yankees from 1976–’79. His trademark slow, old-man-like walk belied his blazing speed. He often called people ‘Gozzlehead’ and ‘Warplehead.’ Has many famous quotes (“My goals are to hit .300, score 100 runs and stay injury-prone.” “I might have to commute. You know left field, DH, wherever.”).

Marv Throneberry: ‘Marvelous’ Marv was the symbol of ineptness for the expansion Mets (’62, ’63; also briefly played for the Yankees in parts of three seasons). He once hit a triple, but was called out for missing first base. When Casey Stengel came out to argue, the umpire told him not to bother because Marv missed second too.

Sparky Lyle: Not only did Lyle win a Cy Young award (the first ever by a reliever), lead the league in saves twice and win two World Series, he loved to sit in birthday cakes without his pants on. He mastered putting the perfect butt imprint into the cake. Let’s see Mariano Rivera try that.

Willie Montanez: The flamboyant first baseman played for the Mets in ’78 and ’79. His signature snatch catches, bat flips and wristbands pretty much annoyed opponents and teammates alike (but hey, kids liked him). And on pickoff plays at first, he would repeatedly tag the runner just to make a nuisance of himself. But he had flash and style back when the Mets had little of that.

Choo Choo Coleman: Was a catcher for the Mets in 1962, ’63 and ’66. One of the original lovable losers, the master of understatement is most remembered for an interview he once did with Ralph Kiner. Wanting to know about his nickname, Kiner asked, “Why do they call you that?” “I don’t know.” “What’s your wife’s name and what’s she like?” “Her name is Mrs. Coleman, and she likes me.”

Yogi Berra: The ultimate character, Yogi says he didn’t say half the things he said. If he didn’t exist, you’d have to invent him. Baseball surely wouldn’t be the same without him.

Randy Myers: The left-handed reliever for the Mets liked to wear army fatigues and reputedly shot rats in the Shea bullpen with a BB gun. An intense competitor, he had a reputation for being somewhat of a psycho, but was really a nice, fun-loving guy.

Phil Rizzuto: Read O Holy Cow!: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto. Enough said.

Jay Johnstone: Even though he only briefly played in New York (Yankees, ’78 & ’79), Johnstone was one of the all-time flakes. He was hot-footing before hot-footing was cool. And once when he was playing for the Dodgers he took a trip to the mound dressed up as Tommy Lasorda, carrying a can of Slim Fast.

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