In the movie Napoleon Dynamite, the title character (played by Jon Heder) draws up a fictional animal he calls a “liger,” which is a lion and tiger mixed and is “bred for its skills in magic.”
Using this as our motivation, we decided to create the perfect baseball player by utilizing the traits and abilities of Major League Baseball’s current superstars to assist us.
From the cerebral to the physical, we breakdown the structure of our superhuman man-beast part by part. Enjoy.
Carl Crawford’s Legs
We’ll start from the ground up.
Crawford is one of the game’s fastest players, and arguably the most adept base stealer of the current generation.
He has the physical abilities of a football player — a former quarterback, Crawford was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Nebraska out of high school — and his power and speed is generated in large part by his powerful tree trunk legs.
Alex Rodriguez’s Hips
Put aside your personal feelings about A-Rod for just a moment and focus on the raw (untainted) ability that the Yankee third baseman possesses.
If you’ve never seen this guy hit a baseball in slow motion, you need to. Nobody turns on a pitch faster than Rodriguez, and it all has to do with his hips.
Not that one can go out and condition their hips or anything (just ask Bo Jackson), but if you could, you’d ideally aspire to have the power and the swivel in your pelvis that A-Rod does.
Gabe Kapler’s Torso
Back in the late ’90s, Kapler was one of the game’s top prospects while with the Detroit Tigers organization. It was during this time that he gained notoriety for his off-field hobby, which happened to be competitive bodybuilding. Because, you know, who isn’t a competitive bodybuilder in their spare time, right?
Now 33 years of age and a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Kapler has lasted over a decade in the bigs thanks to his chiseled physique, which begins and ends with a torso rivaling that of any Abercrombie and Fitch model.
Roy Halladay’s Right Arm
Doc may not possess the fastest fastball, the curviest curveball, or the changiest changeup, but he has as durable a northpaw as there ever was.
Blessed with the ability to throw and throw and throw some more, Halladay has managed to stay healthy over the duration of his 11-year career while logging over 200 innings pitched on five occasions.
On top of all that, Halladay is pretty good at what he does, too. He’s a six-time All-Star, and took home the 2003 Cy Young Award.
Johan Santana’s Left Arm
Much like his counterpart Halladay, Santana doesn’t necessarily throw the hardest or possess the most baffling assortment of breaking balls. He does, however, toss one of the nastiest changeups in baseball, which makes his low-to-mid-90s heater that much more formidable.
A two-time Cy Young award winner, Santana has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball for the past seven seasons.
Omar Vizquel’s Glove
Even at 42 years of age, there’s no denying that Vizquel is still one of the slickest fielders in all of baseball.
With a whopping 11 Gold Glove awards to his credit (the most recent coming in 2006, when Vizquel was 39), the shortstop is a testament to longevity and durability unlike any other position player in his generation.
At a time when many of his constituents lose considerable skill or turn towards drugs to help maintain youthfulness, Vizquel has continued to put up Gold Glove-worthy seasons by maintaining an effective fitness regimen and staying healthy.
Josh Hamilton’s Forearms
There are few players who can swing a bat with remarkable ease the way Josh Hamilton can.
Unlike some of the great power hitters of all time, Hamilton hits home runs with seemingly as much effort as most people hit singles.
A short, compact stroke is all it takes for Hamilton to turn on a pitch, at which point his hands take over and do the rest of the work. A simple flick of his wrists results in 400-foot bombs that come off the bat with resounding cracks.
Watching the Texas Rangers’ outfielder hit is an experience, and it is his forearms that produce much of the magic.
Albert Pujols’ Eyes
If ever there was a hitter who personified discipline and patience at the plate, it would be Albert Pujols.
No, the Cardinals’ slugger does not draw the most walks every year, but what he does do is command the strike zone with a presence that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers.
Picking and choosing his moments carefully, Pujols is content to wait for exactly the right pitch before he unloads, often resulting in a base hit.
It is with this precision and consistency that the first baseman has built his legacy, winning the National League’s MVP award twice in the process.
Jamie Moyer’s Mind
Moyer has spent the better part of the past 25 years using his brain to get the best of his opponent.
Armed with a fastball that tops out in the low-80s, a middle-of-the-road curveball, and a variety of changeups that look more like a Little Leaguer’s heater, Moyer possesses a less-than-impressive arsenal of pitches that bely his above-average statistics.
At 46 years of age, the lefthander continues to get hitters out by doing his homework and studying his opponents like a college student during finals week. Most notably, the Phillie charts the tendencies of opposing batters in a notebook that is essentially his bible. It is with this penned knowledge that Moyer remains effective even as he pushes the half-century mark in years.
Sean Casey’s Mouth
The veteran first baseman has been known to talk the ears off of unsuspecting baserunners over the years, so much so that often times his friendly chit-chat results in a pickoff of the very same runner he was attempting to converse with.
Nicknamed “The Mayor” because of his congenial ways, Casey means well and truly regrets when his gab gets the better of his opponent.
Nevertheless, his amiable nature and love of speaking are two powerful weapons that prove you can kill with kindness.
David Eckstein’s Little Man’s Complex
Even the biggest dude would be helped out by some of Eckstein’s feistiness.
The veteran infielder, who stands a mere 5’7″ tall, plays with the heart of lion and the aggressive of an individual twice his size.
Known to lean into fastballs and sacrifice his body at any given time, Eckstein is a testament to the Napoleon Complex that little men everywhere have been known to possess.
Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Sense Of Humor
At one time in his life, Junior would have been a candidate for nearly every physical attribute on this list, from eyes to legs and everything in between.
Alas, age has taken its toll on the cleanest superstar of our generation, and the future Hall of Famer finds himself relegated to the cerebral aspect of our perfect ballplayer. Not that he would mind, I’m sure.
For years, Griffey has been a wisecracking prankster that has plagued teammates, coaches, fans, and media members alike with his propensity to joke around.
A typical Griffey press conference more closely resembles an Eddie Murphy standup routine (minus the language, naturally), and even a simple interview elicits more than its fair share of laughter from all those involved.
Perhaps Junior’s proudest moment may have come way back in 1993 when the outfielder lost a bet to then-Mariners manager Lou Piniella. Promised a steak dinner, Griffey instead delivered Piniella a live cow, which he locked in the skipper’s office. The incident was caught on camera and set the bar for the originality of pranking in sports.
Vladimir Guerrero’s Ability To Whack Baseballs
We could call it hitting, but what Vlad does with a bat goes against everything that most professional hitters stand for. So we’ll call it what it really is: the whacking of baseballs.
Guerrero can seemingly take any pitch thrown his direction and hit it out of the park, no matter if it’s in the strike zone or not.
He can scoop pitches out of the dirt, take cuts at balls headed for his skull, go inside, go outside, go up, down, and everywhere that his whooping stick can possibly reach.
The veteran outfielder treats pitches the same way a horse treats annoying flies, and taking walks is simply not part of Guerrero’s repertoire.
The Honorable Mention List
Not every characteristic, physical or mental, is conducive to building the perfect baseball player. But some are just too hilarious or otherwise to be ignored.
On top of that, we didn’t pay proper homage to some of the game’s past greats, choosing instead to incorporate the traits of active players only in creating our Utopian prospect.
In order to address the players of yore and the not-so-sexy aspects of personal being, we’ve produced an honorable (or dishonorable, depending on your point of view) mention list of characteristics that didn’t make it off the drawing board.
-Rickey Henderson’s Ego
-Tony Gwynn’s Voice
-Rollie Fingers’ Mustache
-David Wells’ Belly
-John Kruk’s Chins
-Cecil Fielder’s Thighs
-Oscar Gamble’s Afro
-Kent Tekulve’s Glasses
-Jeff Bagwell’s Goatee
-Craig Biggio’s Threshold For Pain
-R.A. Dickey’s Ligament-less Right Elbow
-Tommy John’s Surgery
-Tim Lincecum’s Flexibility
-Jim Edmonds’ Diving Ability
-Ryan Freel’s Desire To Crash Into Walls
-Roberto Clemente’s Outfield Arm
-Ken Caminiti’s Infield Arm
-David Segui’s Anger
-Manny Ramirez’s Drugs