MLB Power Rankings: Prince Fielder and the 25 Best Fat Guys in Baseball History

Christopher CzarContributor IFebruary 6, 2012

MLB Power Rankings: Prince Fielder and the 25 Best Fat Guys in Baseball History

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    Don't get me wrong—I've got no problem with big guys.

    In fact, everyone loves fat guys.  They're the life of the party, make you laugh hysterically, would never steal your girl and know where all the best places are to eat.

    Baseball above any other sport has more portly superheroes than you can shake a Big Mac at...because with size, comes strength.

    Whether it's throwing a 100 mph fastball or knocking out a 500-foot home run, size helps in baseball.

    While the media guides may say they're 190 pounds, we know better, and one thing is for certain—all of these guys tip the scale on talent.

25. Walter "Jumbo" Brown

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    The most obscure name on this list, Jumbo Brown was just about the only guy in pro baseball that Babe Ruth could have teased for being fat.

    Overall his numbers were mediocre (33-31, 4.07 ERA), but his size was astronomical.

    At 295 lbs, Brown was the largest man to play pro baseball until left tackle—err, first baseman—Walter Young had a venti cup of caramel macchiato in the bigs in 2005.

24. Ray King

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    Ray King enjoyed a long career in an anonymous middle relief role.

    He only had 2 saves in his career, but his 3.46 ERA and 160 holds are pretty impressive.

    King was well travelled, especially in the NL Central where he was drafted by the Reds and played for every team in the midwestern division except the Pirates.

    The midwest is also argued to have the best burger and hot dog joints—coincidence?

23. Carlos Zambrano

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    Carlos Zambrano has been referred to as a polarizing figure—meaning that perhaps because of his immense size he has his own North and South Pole.

    Known for his temper tantrums and slugging ability, the right handed starter has an impressive 125-81 career record but has had a difficult time keeping it all together, often alienating himself in his own locker room.

    Zambrano gets a fresh start in Miami where the healthier lifestyle might do him well.

22. Bobby Jenks

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    The intimidating Bobby Jenks looks more like a well-fed extra in a ZZ Top video than a gifted MLB reliever, but looks can be deceiving.

    Besides his menacing looks, Jenks comes with a blazing fastball and circular body shape.

    After a stellar career with the White Sox, Jenks wore out his welcome in Chicago before signing a contract with the Red Sox—rumor has it with the rare "no unnecessary calisthenics" clause.

     

21. Mo Vaughn

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    As if Mo Vaughn wasn't easy enough to spot, rumor has it that when wearing the Mets alternate orange jersey he could be spotted from space—without a telescope.

    Vaughn accumulated over 300 home runs, 1000 RBI and a $100,000 Dunkin Donuts tab during his 12 year pro career.

    Marring his impressive numbers, Vaughn was implicated heavily in the Mitchell Report regarding steroid use, apparently in Vaughn's case he preferred the drug in whipped cream form.

20. Pablo Sandaval

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    A large (literally) piece to to the 2010 San Francisco Giants World Series champions, Sandoval is only 25 and already has 265 RBI and a career .314 average.

    Nicknamed Kung Fu Panda for obvious reasons, Sandoval has been a clutch hitter during his young career and has shown a fair amount of pop, with 65 Home Runs since being called up in 2008.

    Since the Detroit Tigers are giving fellow food lover, Miguel Cabrera, a shot at playing third base Sandoval can't simply be referred to as "the only fat guy who plays third".

19. Livan Hernandez

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    Right hander Livan Hernandez has a World Series title, NLCS MVP, 2 All-Star appearances, a silver slugger award, and a runner-up trophy in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest under his enormous belt.

    Hernandez has traditionally been the ace of horrible staffs among the eight teams he's played for—posting a 174-176 record and a 4.39 ERA.

    Not surprisingly his shortest stints were with Twins and Rockies in 2009.  Hernandez's agent did his best to keep his client away from those teams after he quickly debunked the theory that pinstripes are slimming.

18. John Kruk

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    A fun loving, wild living, long time Phillie—John Kruk was a guy that the rest of us could associate with in a baseball era moving toward massive biceps and monsterous home runs.

    Kruk beat his physical limitations—and testicular cancer!—to enjoy a fruitful career.  Unfortunately his diet hasn't been nearly as full of fruit.

    The perfect example of a guy developing his personality in light of his physical characteristics, Kruk has gone on to enjoy a successful career in TV.

17. Cecil Fielder

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    Cecil Fielder never met a fastball he didn't like—or a salad he did—during his impressive career.

    Not satisfied with the healthy food choices prevalent in Japan, Fielder made his way back to the calorie rich diets of the United States in 1990—becoming the first man in 13 seasons to hit 50 home runs in a single year with the Detroit Tigers.

    Fielder ended his career with a modest .255 batting average, but hit 319 home runs and 1009 RBI—he also fathered another monsterous power hitter who appears on this list.

16. Sid Fernandez

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    A stalwart during the most famous era in Mets franchise history, Sid Fernandez posted an impressive 3.36 ERA over his 14 year career.

    Despite weight issues throughout his career, there were advantages to Ferndandez monumental size. 

    Fernandez is 99th in career strikeouts with 1,743, ironically the same number of career "steak-outs" he reportedly accumulated during his career.

15. David Wells

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    So what if he kinda looks like Kevin Youkilis' older, more cardio-adverse brother—David Wells used his girth to his full advantage during his 21 year career.

    Since first appearing for the Blue Jays in 1987, Wells accumulated 239 wins and 2201 strikeouts, but like his waistline, Wells ERA inflated toward the end of career.

    Wells ended his career with a hefty 4.13 ERA.

     

14. Prince Fielder

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    Before following his father Cecil's career path to Detroit, Prince Fielder followed his dad's path to the buffet line—thousands of times.

    The younger Fielder's monsterous appetite is only matched by his massive home runs.  This summer Fielder will be added to a lineup that will also feature another all-time pudgy slugger on this list, the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.

    The good news about the pairing in Detroit is that if they don't work out with the Tigers, the Lions might have their future bookend offensive tackles right across the street.

13. Terry Forster

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    This is not Terry Forster—however he is the man who once referred to the ginormous left handed reliever as a "fat tub of goo".

    David Letterman later made amends for his girthy insult, inviting Forster to appear as a guest on his show in 1985.

    When not being the late night king of talkshows—or raiding the local Dairy Queen—Forster was busy closing the door on opponents.  He finished his major league career with a 3.23 ERA, 127 saves and 791 career strikeouts.

12. Fernando Valenzuela

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    The lefty legend from Mexico accumulated 2074 strikeouts during—a number roughly one third of his average daily caloric during his 17 year career.

    When he wasn't busy gaining weight, Fernando Valenzuela was fanning the flames of Fernandomania is Southern California in the 1980s as he became one of baseball's biggest stars.

    Valenzula made six consecutive All-Star appearances in the early 1980s and was no slouch with the bat, either, winning a silver slugger award in 1983.

    Not surprisingly, Valenzula was 0 for 2 in career steal attempts.

11. CC Sabathia

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    To say CC Sabathia is large is an insult to the word large.

    The Yankees website lists Sabathia at 6'7" 290 lbs—meaning he's more like 6'2" 450 lbs.

    Regardless of his affinity for late night fast food, Sabathia has proved to be an exceptional talent in his career.

    The 2011 Cy Young 3rd runner-up won the award in 2007, has been to 5 All-Star games and at 31, already has 176 wins.  It's fitting that the biggest city in baseball has baseball's biggest ace.

10. Greg Luzinski

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    Chicagoan Greg Luzinski—raised on deep dish pizza and Chicago dogs—found a home with the Phillies during the 1970s.

    The large leftfielder wow'd the Phillies fans by hitting 307 home runs and accumulating 1,128 RBI during his career—never once breaking into a full sprint.

    Weight jokes aside, everyman Luzinski has become a fan favorite among the difficult to impress Phillies fans. 

    Not surprisingly, Luzinski recently opened a BBQ restaurant in Citizens Bank Park.

9. Rod Beck

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    Before his life was tragically cut short at just 38 years old, Rod Beck spent 13 hard living years in the majors posting a career ERA of 3.30 with 286 saves.

    During an attempted comeback in 2002, the partier lived in a trailer behind AAA Iowa Cub's stadium, often sharing beers with fans and wellwishers.

    Before his death in 2007, Beck did enjoy one final stint of success in the majors converting 20 of 20 save opportunities for the Padres en route to the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

8. Miguel Cabrera

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    The baby-faced Venzuelan is mashing the baseball at a historic rate.

    Miguel Cabrera has already accumulated 277 home runs, 1597 hits and 984 RBI at just 28 years old—giving him a real shot at some historic statistics.  The addition of fellow foodie Prince Fielder behind him in the Tigers' lineup only fast tracks his path to the record books.

    Cabrera's weight has fluctuated between obese and merely extra large, possibly in conjunction with a known alcohol problem that led to an embarrassing arrest in February of 2011.

    Cabrera, however, appears to have straightened his life out avoiding any further incidents, shedding a few pounds and leading the league in hitting in 2011.

7. David Ortiz

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    America's most huggable designated hitter is coming off one of his best seasons in Bean Town.

    Last year Ortiz hit .309 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI, driving his career total to 378 spread across a fine career with the Twins and Red Sox.

    The quintessential lovable fat guy, Ortiz has a smile for everyone and has been extremely active in his community.  He even once sued Jay Z!

    Ortiz is hard for even a Yankee fan to hate.

6. Frank Thomas

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    While the White Sox legend smashed 521 home runs, Frank Thomas might be a questionable choice for this list.

    Thomas isn't exactly fat rather enormous—so don't tell him I made fun of his weight.  I don't want this monster after me.

    Besides a Hall of Fame career, Thomas has become a beacon for baseball during it's darkest era, becoming one of baseball's biggest advocates for steroid testing.

5. Curt Schilling

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    Curt Schilling firmly falls into that "I can't believe he was a pro athlete" category.

    Schilling has shut up the naysayers as the opinionated starter had 314 career wins and 3,116 strikeouts while never once stepping on a treadmill.

    While he's not a bastion of physical fitness, Schilling has said what many of us have thought: A-Rod is bush league; Bonds is a cheater; and Man Ram is a bad teammate.

    Gotta love this fat guy.

4. Kirby Puckett

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    An instant Hall of Famer in 2001, this lifelong Twin was perhaps wider than he was tall.

    Standing at just 5'8", pudgy Kirby Puckett won two World Series titles as the centerpiece of the Twins from 1984 to 1995 before his tragic death in 2006.

    A mainstay on the American League All-Star team, Puckett made 10 consecutive appearances in the game. 

    However, never once was he mistaken at the game for the svelte Ricky Henderson.

3. Jim Thome

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    The only thing that has creeped up higher than Jim Thome's home run totals during his career is his Body Mass Index.

    If I would have told you that in 1992 Jim Thome would have been on a fat guy list, you'd have slapped me.  However, early 1990s Thome looks more like JJ Walker than he does like the current years Thome model.

    While he has transformed physically throughout his career, he's been consistently good at the plate.  In 2011, Thome became a member of baseball's exclusive 600 home run club. 

2. Tony Gwynn

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    A 3000 hit legend, Tony Gwynn never met a fastball—or a fast food restaurant—he didn't like.

    His playing weight has been listed at 5'11", 185 lbs which is a massive stretch.  Gwynn is firmly among the elite of baseball history's fat guys.

    Like Thome, he was another guy who ballooned up later in his career.

    Gwynn was living proof positive that weight gain has some drawbacks—he never had more than 17 stolen bases in his final 12 seasons—and benefits—nearly all of his limited career power came in his last handful of seasons.

1. Babe Ruth

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    Babe Ruth is the player that gave chubby kids—and every player on this list—hope that one day they could be a superstar without any restraint at the dinner table.

    The Bambino terrorized nightclubs as well as opposing pitchers during his storied career, ending it with a .342 career average and 714 home runs.

    While he lived hard—and without restraints—Ruth was an extremely charitable figure who goes down as perhaps the greatest baseball ever.

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