Major League Baseball features some of the most talented athletes in the entire nation, and it has done so for over a century. Over the years, stories are told about Major Leaguers having dominant seasons and becoming champions, but being a winner does not make a player unique.
In the history of baseball, there have not only been very talented players, but also very unique players whether it is a missing arm, or a job as a secret agent while regularly playing for a Major League team. Many players are unique, but which players top them all? Here is my list, hope you enjoy:
Left-handed pitcher Joe Nuxhall was born on July 30, 1928. In just 15 short years he was deemed Major League worthy,and took the mound for the Cincinnati Reds in his Major League debut.
In his very short performance he pitched 0.2 innings allowing 2 hits, 5 walks, and five earned runs. He was quickly sent down and did not pitch another game until he was 23 years old. He still holds the Major League record for the youngest debut made by a baseball player.
Cute kid..oh wait..that's Eddie Gaedel! The three foot seven inch, 65 pound batter for the St. Louis Browns is the sports all-time smallest player by a land-slide.
On August 19, 1951, Gaedel appeared at the plate as a publicity stint. In his first and only at-bat of his career he easily walked. The Browns went on to lose the game, but Gaedel did make history.
Al Hrabosky, aka the "Mad Hungarian", is known as one of the best relievers ever to play the game. He is also quite famous for his colorful personality that so appropriately earned him his nickname.
Hrabosky was mad, very mad. He would constantly storm across the pitchers mound in an angry fashion, and he would frequently have intense conversations with himself. Hrabosky is simply one of the games' oddest icons in history.
Los Angeles Raider (football), and Kansas City Royal (baseball) Vincent Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes of all-time. In his sports career, Jackson played four seasons in the NFL and eight seasons in MLB.
Jackson was a natural at both sports becoming the first and only athlete in sports history to all-star games in two different sports. Although other players may possess the talent to play a sport other than their profession, Bo Jackson dominated in both sports crowning him as one of the greatest pure athletes of all-time.
Pete Gray was an outfielder for the St. Louis Browns. Oh yeah, he also had one arm. After a childhood accident that resulted in the amputation of his right arm, Gray learned how to field and hit with his arm.
Gray played one Major League season in which he hit no home runs, stole five bases in six attempts, and hit two triples. His speed was a significant attribute that led to his Major League career, but after just one season, he left the Majors as a hero and a model for anyone who has a dream of playing in the Majors, but is limited due to body deformations.
Starting pitcher Satchel Paige is famous for many things. Paige spent the majority of his career in the Negro Leagues, but after Jackie Robinson broke the barrier for African American baseball players in the Majors, Satchel Paige took a shot at the mound.
Paige made his Major League debut at 41 years old, but that did not stop him from having an average sized career like other baseball players. The ageless pitcher appeared in games until he was 58 which earned him the title as the oldest pitcher ever to appear in a game.
Aside from his age, he also had some of the most unique, un-hittable pitches ever witnessed by batters and spectators. In his arsenal, Paige pitched different fastballs, which he gave names like Bat Dodger, Midnight Rider, Long Tommy, Little Tommy, and Bee Ball. Ultimately, Paige through mostly fastballs his entire career and in 2010, Sports Illustrated named him the hardest thrower in Major League history.
At the end of the day, a lot of Satchel Paige's pitches became illegal, but Paige still said, "I never threw an illegal pitch. Trouble is, once in awhile i would toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation" (Satchel Paige).
Babe Ruth is by far the greatest baseball player of all-time. Most people recognize Babe Ruth as a great hitter, but unlike most great hitters, The Babe could pitch too.
Over a span of 10 seasons, Ruth pitched in 163 games maintaining a 2.28 ERA while going an astonishing 94-46.
Arguably the most eye-popping fact about Babe Ruth is that he was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for a mere $125,000, three $25,000 notes every year at six percent interest, and a loan to Harry Frazee, the Red Sox owner, for $300,000 with the mortgage on Fenway Park as collateral, thus handing the Yankees the greatest baseball player to ever play the game.
Jim Abbott played for the New York Yankees, California Angels, Chicago White Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers with just one hand (his other hand he was born without).
Abbott truly showed the nation that a person can succeed with physical deformations when he pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees, leading them to a 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Abbott went a career 87-108 in 10 seasons while maintaining a 4.25 ERA and pitching 31 complete games, and six shutouts. His numbers look so similar to an average pitcher, that the only thing that differentiates the two is a right hand.
There are no pictures of Greg A. Harris.
Not to be confused with Greg W. Harris, Greg A. Harris had a special ability, a talent that had never been witnessed until September 28, 1995, when Harris threw to batter Reggie Sanders left handed, then pitched to the next two batters Hal Morris and Taubensee right handed.
Harris did not have a successful career like some of the other unique players on this list, however, Harris possess's one of the most unique talents ever witnessed, and it took until the second-to-last game of his career to use it.
*There is currently an ambidextrous pitcher in the New York Yankees' minor league system by the name of Pat Venditte, however he is yet to pitch a major league game which excludes him from this list.
Moe Berg was not the best baseball player, but hell he was smart. Moe was a graduate of Princeton University, and he knew how to speak 12 languages including Sanskrit. Everyday, Berg read any newspaper he could get his hands on, but due to his OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), he would not touch a newspaper that had already been read.
Berg, in terms of baseball, was no better than decent, however his wisdom did not define his character. Moe Berg played during World War II, and an all-star game was occurring in Japan which featured stars like Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig. Berg was invited, and it is assumed that while he was there, he took pictures for the American Army to help identify military targets.
After 15 seasons which he played for the Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox, and the Cleveland Indians, Berg retired and left a unique legacy as the most educated baseball players in MLB history.
There are many unique players in baseball history, so not everyone made the cut. Here the honorable mentions:
Jackie Robinson- First African American baseball player.
Antonio Alfonseca- He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.
Jim Thorpe- Athlete who played many sports, won a gold metal in the Olympics.
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