The 10 Best Musicians in Baseball History
Musicians, it is said, all want to be pro athletes. And pro athletes all want to be musicians.
I'm not sure if the former is actually true or not, but there is no doubt that the latter proves itself time after time.
From Shaquille O'Neal's appalling rap career (thankfully not included in this slideshow) to Bernie Williams' unique brand of guitar instrumentals, athletes in all sports have consistently pursued careers in the music industry during their free time.
More often than not, these efforts are...underwhelming.
But sometimes, they are decent. Occasionally they are even good. And rarely, they are great.
Without further ado, here are the 10 "best" musicians in MLB history...
10. Joel Zumaya (Fake Guitar)
Alright, so Joel Zumaya may not be an actual musician. But that is a mere technicality.
Zumaya rocks Guitar Hero so hard that he landed on the DL in 2006 after injuring his wrist playing the game.
Now that’s dedication to your (fake) music career.
9. Jimmy Rollins (Rapper?)
It has become all too common for professional basketball players to embark on subpar rap careers in their free time.
But a baseball player? That is something worth noting.
Rollins rapping may not be good. It may not be entertaining. But due to a total and complete lack of competition, he earns the title “best (MLB) rapper alive.”
8. Denny McLain (Organ)
Denny McLain will be remembered first as a two-time Cy Young award winner and a Hall of Famer.
But the man can bust out some lounge music with the best of them. Well, maybe not the best. But he’s pretty darn good.
McLain’s musical style ranges somewhere between Rat Pack wannabe and mid-level lounge organ player, but it did land him a record deal in 1969, which he used to record an album of his post-baseball work.
7. Barry Zito (Vocals, Guitar)
Barry Zito is like the Jack Johnson or John Mayer of this list—what he lacks in talent, he more than makes up for in laid-back-ness and female followers.
Zito is a notoriously quirky pitcher, and his penchant for playing acoustic surf jams is merely one of these quirks.
His repertoire may not be the most expansive in the world, but it has inspired "Barryoke" at AT&T Park, where fans attempt to name the song Barry is playing between innings (see video).
6. Omar Vizquel (Vocals)
Try to watch this video without grinning like an idiot. Bet you can’t do it. I know I can’t.
It’s amazing. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s hilarious. It’s great on every possible level.
Vizquel’s singing voice may not have the same flawless, silky smooth quality that his on-field defense does, but it is awesome in its own way.
5. Bronson Arroyo (Vocals, Guitar)
If you’ve ever watched Bronson Arroyo pitch, then his music will hold few surprises for you.
He is a little goofy, a little unorthodox and at times makes you wonder if he really knows what he’s doing. Although he won’t blow you away, he is ultimately effective and you can’t argue with his results.
In 2005, Arroyo released an album of rock covers, and can often be found performing at fundraisers and charity events, often alongside members of the rock bands he covers.
4. Jack McDowell (Guitar)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
“Black” Jack McDowell formed his band, Stickfigure, in 1992, and since then the group has released four full-length albums.
Although his efforts in the studio haven’t been as legendary as his on-field exploits, McDowell has made a nice post-baseball career for himself as a generally well-respected musician.
3. Aubrey Huff (Vocals)
I clicked on this YouTube clip of Aubrey Huff covering John Michael Montgomery’s “Letters From Home” expecting to find a typically Huff-like (goofy) version of the song.
But Huff actually has a nice voice for a country singer. With Huff’s penchant for playing poorly in odd-numbered years (seriously, look it up), maybe he should use 2013 as an opportunity to pursue a career in country music.
2. Ben Broussard (Vocals, Guitar)
Broussard’s MLB career may have been short and not especially memorable, but there is no denying—the dude can jam.
The former Cleveland Indian has recorded two full-length albums in his post-baseball career, and both have been fairly well received by critics.
Ultimately, Broussard’s love for music may have played a role in his retirement from baseball, as he chose to pursue his first love instead of continuing the grind of MLB seasons.
1. Bernie Williams (Guitar)
Bernie Williams plays guitar like he played baseball. Smooth, confident, understated and at a very high level.
In terms of record sales and industry respect, Williams has no equal in the baseball world. He is by far the most technically proficient and successful baseball player-turned musician of all time.
Even a Red Sox fan would have a hard time watching Williams’ version of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and not respecting the man’s chops (check it out here).