Beneath the flashy exterior of modern Major League Baseball, there exists a brotherhood of hard-nosed, thick-skinned men.
These often under-appreciated few live boldly, without waver, day in and day out. We cannot doubt the toughness of an Albert Pujols or the fervency of a Jim Thome, for these are men of great resilience.
Instead our attention must shift toward a handful of the gritty, Git'R'Done type—the type who wouldn't miss batting practice for their own wedding.
This elite corps signifies a dying breed of player, the kind that would tell a team doctor, "Thanks for your opinion, Doc, but I don't need two kidneys to swing a bat."
Today's game is a business—it has to be to survive.
Much like any other industry, baseball has a product, and it has investors, contributors, and benefactors.
It has a system of operation.
Players constitute employees and proprietors, and thus must remain in a position to provide their services.
This translates into an injury-weary psyche amongst all those involved, including managers, coaches, agents, administration, investors, owners, and players themselves. The totality of these contingents results in a great discrepancy between the threat of injury and the threat of profit loss.
Today's player must walk the fine line of risk and reward to assure their own value and appease the masses.
With this being said, the brotherhood of roughnecks in today's game represent a different time. They hearken back to the days of a lock-kneed Kirk Gibson's dinger or a grimacing Willie McCovey struggling to leg out a double.
Each man on this list possesses qualities both transparent and intangible. Some may not be in the 500 home run club or possess double-digit Golden Gloves, but they awake every day only to bring to their respective ballparks a sense of purpose and respect for the game.
Keep in mind that there are many tough guys out there. It is out of respect to the many that lace them up every day that this list exists, and feel free to throw in any names absent here.