Jan. 8: Draft Recap and Rules Review
Jan. 8: David Fenko’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Jan. 9: Daniel Port’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Jan. 10: Travis Sherer’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Jan. 11: Dave Cherman’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Jan. 13: Andy Patton’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Jan. 14: Dave Fisher’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Jan. 15: Adam Lawler’s Fictional Player Draft Review
Welcome to the most boring team in the Pitcher List fictional player draft!
Seven “real” baseball players, and my whole roster is — well, I’m embarrassed to say — human. When I started at Pitcher List last month, I didn’t think I’d write that last sentence, but here we are.
Which leads me to my team name: The Human Team — Baseball for People. Picking human players was not meant to be the overall theme of my roster; I drafted guys who were monsters at the plate or on the mound. Well, I should be careful with the words I choose because they aren’t monsters compared with the actual monsters on other teams — such as Steve Sax.
I picked players who had at least one trait that made people wonder if they were superhuman (even if that trait is serving beer). Also, with the ultimate goal of which team would win in a fantasy baseball head-to-head matchup tournament, I wanted a team that you could quantify their accomplishments either by looking at their career stats or looking to see if they are shown in the movie or TV show they are in. So here they are, in all their human glory:
Naturally, I didn’t get to pick a few of the guys I wanted. I do wish I had more fictional players, but I wasn’t going to compromise talent to make sure I ended up with fan-favorites, which leads me to my first pick:
Round 1 — Babe Ruth, OF
Everybody is busy picking all these fictional players based on the Babe. But the Babe? Let’s get this straight, the Sultan of Swat is the original superhero. What is his superpower? Power. Babe Ruth had more power than his competition. He routinely totaled more home runs in a season than whole teams. And I’m not just talking about one or two teams. I’m talking sometimes as many as 15 teams and more than 10 teams in four separate seasons. Sounds like Superman to me. The guy is the original two-way star who was elite at both hitting and pitching. We haven’t seen anyone dominate both facets of the game like that since.
Round 2 — Lou Collins, 1B
A number of the legendary fictional characters I wanted were picked after I got the Babe: Steve Nebraska, Henry Rowengartner, and Bobby Rayburn. This left either Willie Mays Hayes or Lou Collins, and I chose the bat. I think Collins might be my favorite pick. He was definitely the pick I made that generated the most curse words in my direction. The guy may not be an athletic freak or a superhero, but he is a hitting machine — and that’s what counts here. Other than leadoff, you can plug him into any spot in the lineup, and he’ll produce as either a power bat or an on-base savant. He’s essentially Edgar Martinez, but he plays in the field. Collins is also a rock when it comes to pressure situations, and trust me, with cartoon characters throwing baseballs that literally burst into flames, you’re going to need a guy whose hand is always steady.
Round 3 — Randy Johnson, SP
Did you ever think we all just thought Superman was unstoppable because he never faced a Randy Johnson slider? Those have a way of making even the most gifted beings look like mere mortals. Is the Big Unit an enhanced human being? I’m not ruling it out. We’ve seen him do some legendary stuff. We’ve seen him strike out 20 with zero walks in a game. We’ve seen him vaporize a bird with one pitch. And most importantly, we’ve seen grow a mullet and apparently not wash that mullet for a decade. It’s not just any mullet either. Johnson is 6’10”. I am 5’6″, so that mullet would probably be waist-length on me.
Round 4 — Jackie Robinson, 2B
The first second baseman off the board, which is probably right. I’d say Jackie Robinson is the best second baseman in this draft. He hits for average and power to go along with being perhaps the fastest player on the field. Also, one skill that is often overlooked about Jack the Robber is his plate discipline. You want to talk about superhuman ability? How about a career 740-291 BB:K ratio? That’s nearing three walks for every strikeout. Nobody had a better eye than Jack-Jack. And once he got on base, he went to work! Chadwick Bosman’s portrayal in 42 not only makes for an entertaining movie but also brings to life just how good Robinson was at throwing pitchers off their game.
Round 5 — Sam Tuttle, 3B
Getting an infield in this draft is key. Especially one that can hit. I didn’t want to be stuck with infielders such as Sax, Mark Ellis or Ozzie Smith. No offense to the Wizard, but in a fantasy league, you need hitters — and Sam Tuttle is just that. He may be a little rough around the edges, but I think getting him in the fifth round is the steal of the draft for me. Some might even call him a villain, but the dude can flat out rake. Look at this line:
Also, my team needed a mean streak at the plate. We already got one on the mound with Johnson, but we need an enforcer. To me, Tuttle is my sneaky good pick. He was on my list of must-get players from the start. I just had to decide how long I’d wait before taking him, though he might have lasted another round.
On a side note, Tuttle is played by Michael Papajohn, a former LSU outfielder who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1985 and played in low A. Papajohn is probably in more baseball movies than anyone, including The Babe, Mr. Baseball, Little Big League, and For Love of the Game. He definitely made the most of his baseball skills on the screen.
Round 6 — Ricky Davis, DH
When you think Ricky Davis, think Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Sure, everybody knows Vladito is the next big thing in real life, but he still can’t hold a candle to Davis (who is played by Frank Thomas). How do I know that? Simple. Davis is so good in Mr. Baseball that instead of competing with for the starting job first base, Tom Selleck’s character, Jack Elliot, skipped town. He didn’t demand a trade; he traveled 6,000 miles to play in Tokyo — that’s how scared he was of Davis. Sure, Guerrero Jr. is good, but I don’t see Yangervis Solarte talking to his travel agent.
Round 7 — Alex Rodriguez, SS
Alex Rodriguez was in Entourage. I’d say that’s appropriate. It’s probably even more appropriate that people forgot about it. That has to be why he fell to the seventh round. Shortstop and catcher are the two infield positions with the deepest player pools for this draft, but none of them could hit and field like A-Rod. The three-time MVP hit 696 home runs and played both shortstop and third base. He’s a member of the 40/40 club and has led the league in just about every offensive category at one point or another in his career. If anybody can compete against cartoons and superhumans, it’s Rodriguez. And if he can’t, I’m sure he’ll find a way.
Round 8 — Roger Maris, OF
Barry Pepper’s performance as Roger Maris in HBO’s 61* is one of my favorites in baseball movies. That being said, Maris is the only hitter I have on my team who is a free swinger — and for good reason. If you want someone to swing out of his shoes, you might as well have a guy who held the single-season record for home runs for three decades. Sure, he only hit .269 en route to 61 homers in 1961 and his second consecutive MVP. He might be a boring pick, but I’ll take him.
Round 9 — Ivan Rodriguez, C
The movie Little Big League has a wealth of players from which to choose for this draft, but none carry as much significance as Ivan Rodriguez. In the past 60 years, only six catchers have won the MVP, and only two of those are draft-eligible here. Who is better out of the two, Rodriguez or Buster Posey? I’m going to go with Pudge. The man is the total package. He wasn’t just great at the plate as a hitter; when he was behind it, he was probably even better than he was in the batter’s box. For his career, Rodriguez threw out almost 50 percent of would-be base stealers. That will probably be useful when Air Bud takes off for second base.
Round 10 — Walter ‘The Whammer’ Whambold, OF
Here is the problem with the above clip: What you think you’re seeing is Roy Hobbs strike out Walter Whambold. What you are really seeing is maybe the only time The Whammer struck out. How do you know?
What do we know about The Whammer? Well, we know he looks like Ruth, and we know Hobbs struck him out on some farm on three straight pitches. We also know he was a three-time MVP and thought of as the best player to ever live. Sounds too good to be true for a 10th-round pick, right? I felt really good about this pick, considering right around the same time, a Klingon and a Twilight vampire came off the board.
Round 11 — Hoyt Wilhelm, SP
What better pitcher to complement the power pitching of Johnson than the best knuckleball pitcher ever? I was worried at this point that I wouldn’t be able to find another solid starter, but if anybody can throw off Jimmy Neutron or Hobbs, why couldn’t it be a guy who throws a pitch that dances so well you’ll swear you’re seeing art in motion.
Round 12 — Sam Malone, SP
Check out the hook on that bar slide! Sam “Mayday” Malone can put out fires with his pitches or his pitchers. Malone had a roller coaster of a career with the Boston Red Sox before buying Cheers and slinging ale. He even attempted a couple comebacks during the show’s arc. Some successful, others not so much. But I’ll take him because Ted Danson is so damn talented, he can make anything a success. Even this team.
Photo by Justin Paradis