Before Captain America was Captain America, plucky Steve Rogers attempted to enlist in the army to oppose Nazi Germany. However, he quickly was shot down due to his physical stature (basically a human Popsicle stick). Eventually, Rogers agreed to partake in Operation: Rebirth. Injected with the “Super Soldier Serum,” Captain America was born. How did they create this serum? I have no idea. But, we’re about to create the “Super MLB Player Serum.” Yeah, that’s an awful name. Still working out the kinks.
Let’s liken this serum to maybe a magical potion where we grab the best qualities from different players in baseball history and throw it in a pot.
The Legs of Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton is the fastest player in baseball. There is no arguing this. During the Reds’ contest against the Colorado Rockies, Hamilton legged out a double while jetting at 21.8 mph. This speed would warrant a ticket in school zones. Olympic star Usain Bolt holds the official sprinting record of 27.8 mph. So boom, first ingredient of the serum is the legs of Billy Hamilton.
The Arms of Aroldis Chapman and Eric Thames
This may be the only two-fold ingredient to the baseball potion. With Chapman’s wingspan and Thames’ bulging biceps, our lucky baseball guinea pig will be able to throw up to 105 mph while distracting the batter with arms larger than my face. Try to imagine this picture of extremely lengthy arms just carpeted with muscles that you didn’t even know were in the human body. It makes me grin.
The Exit Velocity of Aaron Judge
Let me see, we’ve got a player here who plays for the Yankees (rough start). ESPN dedicates 70% of their baseball coverage to anything he does (I’m really starting to dislike this guy). He’s got a gap in his teeth the size of New Hampshire (single-handedly putting a local orthodontist out of a job, very rude). Judge mashed the ball with an average exit velocity of 95 mph in 2017 (okay, that’s kinda cool I guess). He has a cool last name which makes dad puns almost too easy (wait, I’m not supposed to like this guy). The Yankees literally have a section dubbed the “Judge’s Chambers” (alright, I don’t know what this feeling is in my stomach, but I think it’s love). Throw it in the pot.
The Hustle of Prince Fielder
You know how just a little ways back we talked about how fast Billy Hamilton is? You know how many MLB inside-the-park home runs the speedy Hamilton has? As many as I do. That’s right, he has zero. Now how many does 275-pound Fielder have? Two. Watching this large man run is a privilege that should never be taken for granted. What he lacks in actual speed, he makes up for with the tremors caused by each step around the basepaths. Fielder is also responsible for my favorite chubby guy quote of all-time, “My goal isn’t to lose weight or look skinny or anything.” A goal we can all aspire to achieve.
The Raw Power of Adam Dunn
Of the 15 home runs that sailed over 500 feet, Dunn claims two such blasts (504, 535). Dunn is just a big ole slab of a man. I don’t know much about his childhood, but I am almost certain that he baled hay on his grandparents’ farm to make some extra cash. His nickname is “Big Donkey” which deserves to make it in this article. Dunn was also a highly touted quarterback prospect. In high school, Dunn ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash which leaves me speechless.
The Contact of Ichiro Suzuki
Add to this ingredient that cool thing that Ichiro does before every at-bat where he pimps up his sleeve on his right shoulder. This tactic has struck fear into opposing pitchers before each of his 10,703 plate appearances. Achieving 200 hits in a season is quite the accomplishment requiring durability and usually an above-.300 average. Ichiro achieved this every season from 2001-2010. This will be our only ingredient of Japanese origin.
The Steroids of Barry Bonds
This is a necessary ingredient. We needed just that extra oomph. This should bump the fastball up to around 108 mph minimum and a long-distance blast of at least 575 feet. I suggest adding some of those steroid-infused gummy bears into the serum. That’ll add some sweetness to the serum along with, you know, the steroid stuff.
The Fielding (and back flips) of Ozzie Smith
From 1980 to 1992, Smith collected Gold Glove awards like they were yearly tax returns. Each Opening Day, “The Wizard” would kick off the year with his patented back flip. I can’t even do a back flip on a trampoline without spraining an ankle and somehow puncturing an organ. My man Ozzie was flipping at age 41. Our MLB superhero was lacking some flare, so problem solved.
The Toughness of Hughie Jennings
Who could forget Hughie Jennings? We all remember turning on our television in 1896 to catch a Baltimore Orioles game only to see Jennings get plunked by yet another fastball. Just one of Jennings’ 51 hit by pitches that year (an MLB record). He also holds the record for HBP in a career edging out Craig Biggio by a mere two bean balls. His toughness doesn’t end here. Jennings took a pitch to the head leaving him unconscious for three days, fractured his head twice from a car accident and diving into a drained pool, and suffered multiple mental breakdowns during his managing career. So, uh, yeah that seems to be tough enough for the purposes of a fictional baseball superhero.
A List of Additional Ingredients
- The Home Run Robbing of Torii Hunter
- The Hair (and the ability to kill a bird with a baseball) of Randy Johnson
- The Outfield Cannon of Vladimir Guerrero
- The Pitch Framing of Yadier Molina
- The Bunting of Juan Pierre
- The Anger of George Brett that one time
- The Bat Flipping of Jose Bautista
- The Beard of Brian Wilson
- The Mustache of Rollie Fingers
- The Knuckleball of Tim Wakefield
- The Cutter of Mariano Rivera
- The Changeup of Trevor Hoffman
- The Hat of Fernando Rodney
- The Character of Chipper Jones
- The Post-Game Interview Skills of Nyjer Morgan
- The Eye Black of Bryce Harper
Disagree with any of the ingredients or have your own? Feel free to let me know what should have made the list!