MLB Meets Comics: Picking 30 Players to Play Famous Superheroes and Villains
The new Captain America movie is set to hit theaters this weekend in the revival of one of comic books' greatest superheroes.
Many who grew up in my generation ('80s and '90s) did so while never having read a comic book—myself included—but rather we were taught how to "collect" them in hopes that someday we could strike it rich.
Thanks to people presumably much smarter than I, we have all been able to enjoy seeing some of our favorite superheroes and villains on the big-screen. Over the last two decades we've seen the likes of Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men, among many others, brought to life through cinema.
With so many larger-than-life personalities in MLB these days, it makes sense that there is a personality to match just about every superhero and villain we've ever known.
In light of this, I thought it'd be fun to match up some of the greatest superheroes and villains in comic book history with their counterparts in MLB.
Tried to have fun with it! Enjoy!
Captain America: Derek Jeter
Who else could be Captain America other than The Captain himself?
While Jeter won't be starring in the movie that's opening this week, he stars on the baseball field on a nightly basis.
Who would ever want to take down Captain America?
Red Skull: Kevin Youkilis
Red Skull is a legend in the comic book world, being one of the only arch nemeses to succeed in taking down the superhero.
Maybe this is a sign that Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox will take down Jeter and the Yanks in the ALCS this season?
Youkilis fits the mold of Red Skull perfectly—strength, dexterity and a little bit of craziness—and he is the skull of the Red Sox.
The Flash: Ichiro Suzuki
The Flash uses his quick feet and super-human reflexes to take down his villains while seemingly violating all laws of physics.
That is precisely the way Ichiro Suzuki plays on the field. No one is quicker to first base, and his batting stance alone provides a glimpse of his flexibility and reflexes.
Since Ichiro has no enemies, he is the only superhero on this list in which I didn't include an arch nemesis.
Daredevil: Josh Hamilton
While blind, Daredevil's remaining four senses are superhuman and he has the ability to go well beyond the limits of a sighted person.
I don't think anyone can question Josh Hamilton's Daredevil past, but he has turned his life around and is proving to have superhuman capabilities on the field.
Daredevil's signature weapon happens to be a specially designed billy-club while Hamilton's is a specially designed baseball bat.
Succeeding isn't always easy for Daredevil, as he has two arch enemies standing in his way.
Bullseye: Justin Verlander
As one of Daredevil's biggest nemeses, Bullseye can make almost any object a lethal projectile with pinpoint accuracy.
Justin Verlander has proven to be lethal on the pitchers mound—striking out his foes by the dozen while throwing two no-hitters.
So far Daredevil has had the upper hand in their rivalry, batting .364 with two home runs in 13 plate appearances against Bullseye.
Kingpin: Felix Hernandez
King Felix is Kingpin, Kingpin is King Felix.
Kingpin is the arch nemesis of Daredevil and wants nothing more but to destroy his enemy. Although he has no superhuman powers, Kingpin is very strong and very durable.
You can bet King Felix Hernandez wants nothing more than to take down Hamilton and his division rival Texas Rangers.
Averaging around 245 innings pitched over the past two seasons is proof of Kingpin's durability, and he will not let up until he takes down his arch rival.
Iron Man: Jose Bautista
Before Tony Stark was Iron Man he was just your average rich guy. All it took was a trip to a foreign land for Stark to become a dominant superhero.
The same can be said for Bautista, who was just an average baseball player before heading to the foreign land we know as Canada.
With 85 home runs since the start of the 2010 season, Iron Man seems to be swinging with an iron bat.
Bautista can't stop to enjoy his new-found success, as two villains want nothing more than to end Iron Man.
Iron Monger: Adrian Gonzalez
We all saw in the first Iron Man movie where Obadiah Stane put on the Iron Monger suit in an attempt to destroy Tony Stark.
I'm not saying that Adrian Gonzalez wants to destroy Jose Bautista, but Iron Man is the only thing standing in the way of a possible AL MVP award.
It bodes well for the Red Sox that Obadiah Stane was a champion chess player, as A-Gon hopes to be a World Series champion by seasons end.
Whiplash: C.C. Sabathia
Whiplash tried to take Tony Stark down in Iron Man 2, and had Obadiah Stane still been around, Whiplash would have tried to take him down as well.
Armed with a bullet-proof vest and cybernetically-controlled whips, Whiplash stops at nothing to subdue his opponents.
C.C. Sabathia—a member of the "Evil Empire" in New York—stops at nothing to take down his AL East foes.
The Hulk: Ryan Howard
The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets. His strength potential is limitless and he's the one guy you never want to make angry.
Ryan Howard's physical stature is a mirror image of Hulk (minor sarcasm). While Howard himself doesn't appear to get angry often, Phillies' fans are crazy and they will back up their monstrous slugger till their death's.
From 2006-09, Hulk slammed 198 home runs while showing off his massive strength, but of course, there is always a villain standing by with a plot take him down.
(Is it me, or in this picture does Hulk have a striking resemblance to one Jose Canseco?)
The Leader: Tim Hudson
The Leader may be a lesser-known comic book villain, but he is Hulk's most powerful nemesis.
With superhuman mental acumen that enhances his intuition and pattern solving, The Leader is able to predict probable outcomes of tactical and strategical scenarios.
Tim Hudson may be the clubhouse prankster, but when he steps on the mound he truly is The Leader. It appears as if we will witness some epic battles between the two foes over the remainder of the season.
Superman: Albert Pujols
As the most feared hitter and one of the most respected players in baseball, Albert Pujols definitely fits the role of Superman.
I, for one, wouldn't dare argue whether Pujols is stronger than a locomotive, and for his size he is pretty darn quick on his feet.
What could possibly be Pujols' Kryptonite? It could be his upcoming contract situation, his broken wrist or maybe that bum elbow that was nagging him over the past couple of seasons.
Yet, there is only one man to blame for the biggest problem Pujols is facing today...
Lex Luther: The Boss
Lex Luther possesses no superhuman abilities but he is empowered with a genius level of intelligence—the kind of intelligence that could build an empire.
George Steinbrenner and his business-savvy approach to baseball changed the game forever. The Boss was a nemesis to many yet respected by everyone.
The Boss is the main reason Superman will be let down during the upcoming free agency period. Giving A-Rod nearly $275 million inadvertently sabotaged the hopes and dreams of Pujols—who is deserving of a larger contract than A-Rod but will be lucky to reach $200 million.
Wolverine: Hunter Pence
Wolverine possesses animal-like senses with enhanced physical capabilities, and no one can better represent him than the Hunter himself.
While Wolverine is popular, he always seems to be on the outside looking in—very similar to playing for the Houston Astros.
Just as Wolverine has appeared in many different comics over the years, Hunter Pence may find himself surrounded by new mutants before the upcoming MLB trade deadline.
Cyclops: David Wright
Cyclops is the soft-spoken leader of the X-Men, using his "optic blasts" to subdue his enemies. He is generally overshadowed by many of the mutants around him.
David Wright is the soft-spoken leader of the New York Mets, using his swift glove and big bat to mercifully take down his opponents.
While Cyclops has been overshadowed in New York by the likes of Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Reyes, something tells me that's about to change.
Professor X: Charlie Manuel
Professor X has one of the most powerful mutant minds, having the ability to read, control and even influence human minds.
That sounds eerily similar to the way the lovable Charlie Manuel manages his Philadelphia Phillies squad.
One more note: Professor X's real name is Dr. Charles Xavier. The similarities keep on coming.
While Professor X and his X-Men hope to live a quiet and peaceful life, there is one mutant who seems to make that dream impossible.
Magneto: Tony La Russa
Magneto is sometimes considered a super-villain while at other times he's considered a hero. He has the ability to manipulate the earth's magnetic fields to achieve an array of effects.
When you think about a manipulative manager, the first (and only) name that comes to mind is Tony La Russa.
People seem to either love or hate La Russa. Both he and Magneto may just be misunderstood.
Spider-Man: Ryan Braun
We all know how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, and Ryan Braun's transformation into one of the best five-tool players in baseball made him an easy choice here.
Spider-Man is gifted with superhuman strength and agility, along with "spider-sense" enabling him to react to danger quickly.
Ryan Braun has power (16 HR), speed (19 SB) and the ability to hit for average (.315). Although not great in the outfield, he does make many highlight-reel plays that would make Spidey proud.
Unfortunately, Spider-Man has two super-villains trying to break his web.
Green Goblin: Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki would generally never be considered a villain, but the Green Goblin is tired of living in Spider-Man's shadow.
The Green Goblin lost out to Spidey for Rookie of the Year in 2007 when many would argue he more was deserving of the award.
The Green Goblin can sleep well knowing he'll be making $163 million through 2021 while Spider-Man will only be making a paltry $138.5 million over that time.
Doctor Octopus: Tim Lincecum
Doctor Octopus is a mad-scientist, so it only felt right for "The Freak" to take his place on this list.
Doc Ock is one of the most dangerous super-villains in the comic book world just as Tim Lincecum is one of the most dangerous pitchers in baseball.
With the abundance of scientists who enjoy an occasional dance with Mary Jane, it appears The Freak relates in that area as well.
Human Torch: Jose Reyes
The Human Torch is the "cool" member of the Fantastic Four, while he can fly and generate balls of fire.
Anyone who has seen Jose Reyes play this season has seen an eerie similarity. Jose Reyes can steal bases with the best of them and his "balls of fire" have produced 15 triples so far this season.
Torch was always the rebel in the gang, so only time will tell whether Reyes sticks around with his team or joins forces with another crew.
Mr. Fantastic: Buster Posey
Mr. Fantastic is the leader of the Fantastic Four—known for his brilliance, exemplified by his mastery in all aspects of aerospace, electrical and mechanical engineering.
Buster Posey didn't major in engineering, but he did earn a 4.0 GPA as a finance major at Florida State. It's no secret that catcher's are generally the smartest of the bunch (less Yogi Berra), which is why they typically make good baseball managers.
Good thing Posey can stretch beyond belief, which should enable him to be ready by that start of the 2012 season.
Thing: Prince Fielder
The Thing produces high levels of superhuman strength, stamina and the ability to resist physical injury.
No one can doubt Fielder's massive build and strength, and the fact that he's missed only a dozen games (none due to injury) through his first five seasons in the league tells you he resists physical injury.
While The Thing's body is covered with a rock-like hide, Fielder has a cover of his own in is rounded frame.
Who could possibly be willing to stand up to these members of the Fantastic Four?
Doctor Doom: Roy Halladay
There is only one Doc in MLB and that honor belongs to Roy Halladay.
Doom is a scientific genius—beating his opponents with his calculative and strategic nature—quite similar to the way Doc Halladay works on the mound.
The Human Torch is one of his most hated rivals, The Thing tried to take him down in the 2008 playoffs and Mr. Fantasic managed to outsmart him en route to a World Series victory last season.
Doctor Doom isn't messing around this season, and he clearly doesn't appear to be showing any mercy.
Batman: Mariano Rivera
Batman is awesome, but he went through no mutations nor did he get bitten by any spiders to give him superhuman powers.
In the same light, Mariano Rivera has never had dominating stuff. Yet similarly, Batman and Rivera have both routinely dominated their opponents.
Batman has his Batmobile and Rivera has his cutter, and they are both equally tough to catch.
Robin: Alex Rodriguez
That's right—A-Rod is second-fiddle to Mariano Rivera.
Robin is great and he always wants to be the best, but he can never be held in the same regard as Batman.
Robin also comes with a massive ego (at least he did in Batman & Robin), which matches A-Rod's personality perfectly.
Batman has five World Series rings while Robin only has one.
That being said, Batman and Robin must unite to prevent Gotham City from being overrun by super-villains this October.
Joker: Manny Ramirez
The Joker is the greatest comic book villain of all time, and no other player deserves this honor more than Yankee-killer Manny Ramirez.
Sure, he may be out of baseball at this point—but he is still plotting a way to take down the "Evil Empire" in New York.
The Joker is a master criminal with an odd sense of humor. Manny was Manny, and just like the Joker, he was exposed for what he was in the end.
The Riddler: Dustin Pedroia
The Riddler is quite the character. Not only is he funny and clever, but he's also an exquisite puzzle solver.
Dustin Pedroia is the clubhouse clown in Boston and with his .315 batting average against the rival New York Yankees, he has proven to be quite the puzzle solver.
The Riddler will continue to be a deathtrap for Batman and Robin.
Two-Face: Josh Beckett
Just as Two-Face was one of the best attorneys in Gotham City, Josh Beckett was formerly one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Although Beckett is having a bounce-back season so far in 2011, it's just further proof of his two-faced nature. It's time for him to become more consistent on the mound.
Two-Face does share the same hatred for Batman and Robin, so Red Sox fans can let him slide at this point.
The Penguin: David Ortiz
The Penguin is a master strategist who relies on wit and intimidation to get what he wants, proving that size isn't the only thing David Ortiz and Penguin have in common.
You can't let their rounded sizes fool you, as both are proficient in hand-to-hand combat. Ortiz recently proved he was similar to Penguin by taking matters into his own hands when he went after Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg.
Come October, we will see if the villains can team up to take down Batman and Robin once and for all.