I’ve been an avid fantasy baseball player for over a decade. Through all the stats, friendly competition and overall baseball fandom, one thing has always stayed as my constant favorite part of fantasy sports: the draft. So when Travis Sherer brought up this idea to select a team made up of real and fictional baseball players portrayed in movies and television, I said, “Hell Yea!” (Loudly. To myself. In a library).
This draft was set to be a challenge, though, because as I found out later, people were wayyyy more prepared with their obscure fictional baseball picks. Here were my 12 selections.
Round 1: Henry Rowengartner, SP, Rookie of the Year
I drew the fifth pick, and while I was hoping one of Steve Nebraska or Roy Hobbs would fall to me, I was pessimistic. So after they were both taken, I went for the 12-year-old phenom (post-elbow surgery) who throws 103 mph and strikes out all of the baseball legends with ease…this kid could be the greatest pitcher of all time.
Round 2: Rex ‘T-Rex’ Pennebaker, OF, Mr. 3000
As my second pick approached, my draftmates were still going with the classic mainstays (outside of Buck Bokai in the first round, which threw us all for a loop). I decided I’d shore up an outfield spot early by grabbing T-Rex Pennebaker from Mr. 3000. Rex starts off the film as an egocentric five-tool player. But, by the end of the movie, and after many one-liners from Bernie Mac (RIP), T-Rex hit 50 homers, becomes a great teammate and is an all-around star. By the looks of it, T-Rex could even be the fifth person ever to have a 40-40 season—also he looks like Mookie Betts. Sign him up!
Round 3: Ray Mitchell, 3B, Angels in the Outfield
My third pick made me think, “Hey, I should grab a third baseman.” So, I stumbled on Ray Mitchell. The only player on the Angels in the Outfield California Angels who could hit before they were helped out by…well, angels. Just imagine how good a full season of Mitchell will be with angels by his side.
Round 4: Barry Bonds, OF, Rookie of the Year
One of our very few rules for this draft stipulated that any real player being drafted could only be as good as the year they were portrayed in the film or TV show. So, while Barry Bonds only has a 10-second cameo where he strikes out badly, I get to draft his ’92 iteration: his last year as a Pirate, his second MVP, and the sweet spot in his career where he was still mashing dongers yet had enough speed to swipe 30+ a season (and had a normal-sized head). I’ll take it!
Round 5: Derek Jeter, SS, Anger Management
After doing some actual research, I realized middle infield was gonna get thinner the further into our draft we went. I was banking on Jackie Robinson (from 42) being there, but he got snagged a round earlier. So I chose the Yankee captain, Derek Jeter. And while it would’ve been funnier to get “shot-in-the-leg” Jeter from The Other Guys, he’d probably do my team better sans bullet wound.
Round 6: Hulk, DH, The Incredible Hulk: The Phenom
People started getting a little crazy with their picks. Bugs Bunny, Goku, and Chester McBadBat (who was wished to be the greatest baseball player of all time) were all off the board. I had to dig deep, where I shockingly found The Incredible Hulk out of the Season Five episode of the original show titled “The Phenom.” In the episode, Hulk while fighting some baseball goons, grabs a bat. One of the goons throws a baseball at Hulk, who, without thinking, hits the ball so hard it flies out of the stadium. If that’s not 80-grade raw power, I don’t know what is.
Round 7: Billy ‘Downtown’ Anderson, OF, Major League 3
Before The Shield. Before Justified. Before a bunch of other westerns co-starring Walton Goggins, he was cast in the straight-to-DVD Major League 3, where he plays a home run-hitting machine out of the outfield, Billy Anderson. While his power-hitting occurred during his stint with the Triple-A affiliate, the Buzz, he proved he could hit among even major leaguers as he presented his power multiple times when the Buzz faced off against the actual Twins. Terrible Movie. Awesome hitter.
Round 8: Jason Varitek, C, Fever Pitch
I needed a catcher. Jason Varitek, while never outstanding, was good enough in his prime to get three all-star bids and a Silver Slugger. Good enough.
Round 9: Eddie Collins, 2B, Eight Men Out
I was shocked that nobody had taken the controversial Eddie Collins this late in the draft, since second basemen were few. He’s in the prime of his career in 1919, already has an MVP to his name, and has a chip on his shoulder. Yea, he’s OK, I guess.
Round 10: Dr. Jean Grey, SP, X-Men Evolution
Jean Grey plays pitcher for her team of mutants in this weird, rare episode of X-Men Evolution. She shows three pitches: a fireball (she literally throws the ball through Iceman’s bat), an invisible changeup (she telepathically moves the ball from her glove to the catcher’s mitt for a strike), and a fastball (a fastball). She’s bound to strike out any real, fictional or cartoon character of any team.
Round 11: Keith Hernandez, 1B, The Scout
I really, really, really wanted to get the Seinfeldian Keith Hernandez who was accused of spitting on Kramer after a ballgame. Unfortunately, he never actually plays baseball on Seinfeld—unless you’re counting his relationship with Elaine. So, I grabbed the version of Hernandez we see in The Scout. Even though it’s the twilight of Keith’s career, it’s a fine addition to my team of superheroes and actual ballplayers (and yes, I count Rowengartner as a superhero).
Round 12: Mitch Kramer, P, Dazed and Confused
Finally, my last pick. I kind of wanted to go with Leela from Futurama (who sets a record for career hit batsmen in a matter of games), because I felt she would just injure the other team into forfeiting. But, for the fun of it, I chose Mitch Kramer. Not only does he have heart and look like a young Tim Lincecum, but in the brief glimpse that we see him playing baseball, he strikes a dude out. Kramer, I want you on my bench!
(Photo by Justin Paradis)
This was a very cool idea, and in the end, an extremely fun draft. If I had to say who had the best team, it’s obviously mine. I have a great mix of real, all-star and Hall of Fame-level players, as well as a handful of superheroes to complement them. Aside from all the trophies and fame this team would surely gain, they’d also be fun as hell to watch.
(Main photo by Justin Paradis)