Professional athletes today are noticed not only for their talents, but sometimes for the art that is featured on various parts of their bodies.
From CC Sabathia having his children's footprints tattooed on his arms to Ryan Roberts (pictured) and the insanity that is tattooed all over his body, body art seems to be running rampant in baseball.
I myself would never get tattoos seeing as how I'm a complete wuss who runs at the sight of a needle, but I'm not at all ashamed to admit this: Tattoos are awesome. Anyone who has the guts to take a symbol or design that has a deep meaning to them and permanently etch it onto their body is someone I admire, because we all know what tattoos turn into as time goes on and wrinkles set in.
Thus, since it's a tattoo-admiring kind of day, let's have a look at some of baseball's tattooed players and pick the 25 coolest ones.
Jon Rauch is one of baseball's most heavily tattooed players and we'll certainly see him again on this list, but this group of body art is the perfect one to kick off the list.
Here we have a flaming baseball, the Olympic rings (since Rauch played in the Olympics at Sydney), and something above them that I honestly don't know what it is.
It isn't much to look at, but there's something almost cute and cartoony about them. Call me a dork, but the flaming baseball just makes me smile and the other two just add to the artsy-ness.
Here we have another tattoo that isn't much, but the meaning behind just makes it cool. On his neck, Prince Fielder has a Korean character. Oddly enough, it means "Prince."
The man is clearly proud of his name and just thought it'd be cool to accentuate the awesome about it. It's a subtle piece of art, but it just looks kind of awesome.
AJ Burnett is one of baseball's more heavily tattooed individuals, and the one on the back of his left hand is just one that stands out. I have no idea what the symbol is nor for the life of me could I find a clean image of it.
Still, there's just something badass about it.
Maybe it's the fact that Burnett looks like an angry punk rocker who'd kick someone's butt at the drop of a hat.
Infielder Scott Spiezio hasn't appeared in the majors since 2007, but this tattoo is too awesome to not include.
I have no idea who the woman on his arm is, if anyone at all, but all I can say after looking at her is one thing: ...nice.
C.J. Wilson is such a tattoo enthusiast that last season, the MLB Fan Cave brought him in to judge fans' body art. He has three tattoos, but we're going to focus on two of them.
On his shoulder, you'll see two Japanese symbols. These translate to mean "Poison Free," which makes a lot of sense for Wilson, as he adheres to a straight-edge lifestyle. For those unaware, being straight edge means abstaining from alcohol and illegal drugs so as to stay healthy.
This leads us to Wilson's other tattoo that goes down his side. You can barely see it here, but he has the words "Straight Edge" tattooed in cursive. Both tattoos clearly mean a lot to Wilson and while I myself am not a straight-edger, I can definitely appreciate the body art seen on him.
More importantly, both look kind of cool.
Look at Josh Hamilton's left arm in this picture, and you'll see a flame design. Compared to other flame tattoos I've seen, this design is one of the more subtle ones. The flames are there, but don't really jump out at you.
Yet, therein lies the beauty of Hamilton's flames. They aren't particularly noticeable and thus seem kind of empty.
Perhaps that is because the one true flame lies in Hamilton's passion for the game, as he just continues to get better and better.
Currently a broadcaster, David Wells is a guy who clearly has a ton of respect for the game and its history. Thus, it's not at all surprising that he got a tattoo of Babe Ruth playing ball on his forearm.
The work itself is unbelievable. It's almost like looking at an old photograph or portrait, yet the images are lifelike in their own right.
Either way, this tattoo is pretty cool if you ask me.
Here we meet David Wells yet again and while this tattoo isn't some awesome design or unique quote, it's still sweet. The boy on Wells' right arm is his then-infant son.
Wells is clearly a family man who loves his children very much, so it's clear that he got this ink done so that he could always see his boy when he was on the road and missed him. It's not an over-the-top tattoo, but still cool to look at.
Once again, we come across AJ Burnett and his ink. This time we have a sleeve that's pretty hard to make out, but tattoo sleeves in general are pretty cool.
After zooming in on this one and staring at it for a good amount of time, it looks like it's some flame design mixed with some medieval symbols.
Then again, Burnett is an unpredictable pitcher, so who really knows what it is?
Either way, I like it.
Regarding Ryan Roberts' sleeves, I seriously have no words. From the flame designs to the "Only the strong survive" writing to cross and the characters on his knuckles, this guy is clearly an ink enthusiast.
The crazy part is that with Roberts, we've only touched the tip of the iceberg.
Still, you have to admit that whether you're into tats or not, Roberts' sleeves are pretty amazing.
This tattoo is on the right side of Brewers outfielder Corey Hart. The quote is from the Book of Jonah, Chapter 2, Verse 8.
The quote reads, "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."
Translation: By following those unworthy of being followed, you rob yourself of glory. In baseball, those are words to live by. Sure, it's a team game, but who doesn't dream of becoming one of the biggest stars?
This tattoo surely helps Hart focus and it has worked, seeing as how he has been instrumental in his team's recent success.
Brandon Inge's tattoos here are pretty intense considering the simplicity of their subject matter. On his right arm, you see the name Tyler. On the left, you see the name Chase.
As most of you have probably guessed, Chase and Tyler are the names of Inge's two sons. He clearly loves them very much, since he had their names so prominently displayed on his body.
This work is easy to cover up, but you have to admire the artistry in how the names are written out.
Earlier, we took a look at David Wells' tattoo of his son. Yankees ace CC Sabathia has done something similar, but has taken it to a whole new level.
The big lefty has had the footprints of his children etched onto his right arm to go with the words "Truly blessed." Sabathia clearly has an immeasurable amount of love for his family and wanted to find a unique way to express it.
Sure, tons of athletes have little shoutouts to their families in their tattoos, but Sabathia has set the bar for it.
Yet, that's not the best ink he has...
Well, now we know where all the fire on CC's fastball comes from, right?
You can't really tell, but the writing on Josh Hamilton's arm in this picture reads "Hambone." Apparently, that was Hamilton's nickname in high school.
It's a goofy name, but the fact that Hamilton got it tattooed onto himself is a testament to his sense of humor. It shows that he can laugh at himself and anyone who can do that has got to be pretty cool.
In this case, so is the tattoo.
I have no idea what that is on Jonny Gomes' left arm, but just looking at it brings back thoughts of the Age of Psychedelia in the 1960s. The colors are vibrant and the shapes unique, and there isn't really any other ink that looks like it.
Gomes is clearly setting a new standard for similar artwork with his tattoo, so it's a perfect candidate for this list.
On Jon Rauch's neck, we have two rings surrounded by an olive branch. After doing some research as to the meaning, I found out that the two rings symbolize Rauch's marriage and that he got the tattoo after the birth of his daughter.
While the tattoo has a sweet and sentimental symbolism behind it, it's also kind of badass. Rauch is a big boy at 6'11" and if I came across him at some bar and saw this tattoo, I'd certainly think twice about messing with him.
On Josh Hamilton's right arm, you have some interesting design featuring two types of flowers. I don't know the symbolism behind them, but there's some unique beauty in the work.
It's not quite gothic, but not quite mainstream either.
Still, the colors really stick out and give off a subtle aura of coolness about them.
Ever the inkmaster, Ryan Roberts, has some art on his neck that arguably stands out more than his other tats. On his neck, encased in between two olive branch-like stalks, is the word "family" in Japanese.
Roberts is married with a daughter and he clearly loves them very much, having also taken Sabathia's route and put his little girl's footprint on him in tattoo form, so the meaning behind this one is clear.
I've gotta say, he did a damn good job of making it look badass. And speaking of Roberts' other tattoos...
I've got two words for you: chest dragon. After consulting with some local scientists, I've come to the following conclusion.
Chest dragon tattoo = AWESOME
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm something of a metalhead, having seen Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie in concert three times each and Kiss six times (no judging!).
That being said, you can understand why I'd be a fan of Jason Giambi's flaming skull tattoo.
Sure, the man isn't the same player he was in his prime, but the fact that he'll always have this ink with him makes him cool in my book.
"Carpe Diem" is Latin for "Seize the day." As you can see, Brewers relief pitcher Kameron Loe is a great believer in this statement and got it tattooed on his right shoulder.
Just the way the words are designed is amazing and so is the pattern surrounding them. It's almost as though the circle and outside rays are supposed to be the sun and the words have been etched into it, almost as a reminder for Loe to constantly reach for the top.
It's inspirational and just plain awesome.
After looking at this incredibly badass portrait Eric Hinske had put on his back, I'm seriously at a loss for words. The Asian theme seriously works and is just plain mind-blowing.
Yet, I have one question remaining: Will Hinske be playing baseball next year or singing with a band at Ozzfest?
In reality, the Roman numerals on Rauch's back are supposed to commemorate his wedding day: September 7, 2001. Yet, just the way the numerals are drawn out, complete with the Chinese symbols that translate to "Tall Fire," it looks like something out of The Da Vinci Code.
They're just 100 percent badass.
Still, Rauch clearly has a lot of pride in his off-the-field life and wanted to exhibit his happiness in a unique fashion. Out of all the baseball tattoos I've seen, this one clearly rules the roost.