The Pitcher List Fictional Player Draft: An Introduction
The stakes are clear, ladies and gentlemen.
Each participant in the Pitcher List Fictional Player Draft knows that this is one of those very few opportunities in life where greatness is attainable. It is no small undertaking that we — the serious baseball writers of the world — set out to accomplish, each of us attempting to build the greatest fake team ever to answer the questions you’ve only asked yourself while inebriated, such as:
1. Can Superman hit a curveball or do his eyes just see dead red?
2. If “Shoeless” Joe Jackson didn’t get banned, could he homer off Henry Rowengartner?
3. When Bobby Rayburn meets Barry Bonds, do they melt together like in the timeless classic Time Cop?
4. Who has the faster home-to-first time: Bo Jackson or Mr. Ed?
5. Who has the bigger mouth: Kenny Powers or Hamilton Porter?
Over the coming month, these teams will be put to the test. We will ask our readers to determine who wins every matchup in our fictional team tournament by simple popular vote. The winner will be crowned king of the fictional baseball universe. Second place is a set of steak knives. Third place is “you’re fired.” And, well, 10th place is a job at Fangraphs.
That being said, a few rules are necessary to ensure both the credibility and logistics of this draft are intact. Those edicts are as follows:
- Documentaries are not allowed (stick it, Ken Burns).
- All fictional and non-fictional characters from all non-documentary movies and tv shows are eligible.
- TV commercials and Reality TV shows are not eligible.
- Players must be a character in the credits of the movie or TV show (use IMDB).
- A player can only be drafted once, regardless of how many times he or she has appeared in various movies (For example, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson can be picked only once, despite being in both Field of Dreams and Eight Men Out).
- When you pick a player from a movie, the player on your team can be from any part of the movie. So if a player is injured at the end of the movie, that doesn’t mean you pick the injured player. You pick the player at his natural peak.
- As far as age goes, the player has to appear on screen as the age you wish him to be on your team (example: Chet Steadman from Rookie of the Year or Billy Chapel from Love of the Game). You pick an old player, you get the old player.
- There will be 12 rounds, and each team will need to field a player for all 12 positions: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF1, OF2, OF3, DH, SP, SP, P. The final P spot can be a reliever or starter.
Believe it or not, there were very few challenges to picks based on these rules, which did not change once — a feat in itself considering the player pool spans 200+ movies and countless television shows spanning six decades. Without further ado, here is the Pitcher List Fictional Player draft:
Despite being the architect of this exercise, I was stunned by how serious this group approached this draft. Blood, sweat, and tears were left on the draft room floor — and then we told Adam Lawler drafting his method was unprofessional. It got weird — but that is what this draft is all about!
In the coming days, each manager will recap his draft in traditional Pitcher List mock draft style. As a preview of what this was like, here are some of the takeaways from the draft participants:
Andy Patton: My favorite pick was Bobby Rayburn (The Fan) in the second round. A Bonds comp in round 2? Can’t complain there. And I wanted Bugs Bunny real bad, but he got sniped from me.
David Fenko: Steve Nebraska at number 1 overall. I came into the draft thinking that he would fall as a result of how terrible the movie The Scout is, and seeing him off the board right from the get-go gave me a much clearer understanding of what people would end up reaching for. It was the perfect kickoff to a very enjoyable draft.
Dave Cherman: My favorite pick was Buck Bokai by David Fenko because it really opened the floodgates of ridiculousness for the draft. After he went with Deep Space Nine, I saw nothing wrong with DragonBall-Z and Jimmy Neutron. The one that got away was T-Rex Pennebaker but I had no idea he’d go that early. I compensated for the loss by taking more super-powered people.
Daniel Port: I don’t truly regret taking Jack Eliot from Mr. Baseball since I love that movie and that character but in the long run I probably should have shed my personal feelings and gone with Ricky Davis, the rookie phenom played by Frank Thomas, as he definitely had sky-high potential for power that Jack just didn’t possess in his waning years. On the other hand, no killer Tom Selleck mustache which makes picking Jack totally worth it. Chet Steadman (Rookie of the Year) deserves better from us all if we’re being honest. That man leaves it all on the field (including what is left of his elbow ligaments) and we just forget him like he doesn’t even matter. Sure he was washed up but if nothing else he should get fantasy points alone just based on a legendary Busey stache’!
Dave Fisher: Favorite pick is the Hulk. Definitely fun to find an obscure baseball playing Hulk and actually get to draft him. I wanted to snag Jackie Robinson to shore up 2B but thought I could wait for an extra round…I could not.
(Main photo by Justin Paradis)