10 Nerdiest Figures in Baseball History
Before we begin this jubilant experience dealing with the nerdiest players in baseball history, let us first discuss what exactly the term nerdy means.
From the mouth of Webster's Dictionary, nerd is, "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits."
Considering nothing we'll be discussing has to do with "intellectual or academic pursuits," I find it best if we agree on a couple less concrete things when it comes to the concept of nerd akin to sports figures.
1. Some of us WERE the nerd growing up, and so therefore, we find any sort of discussion offensive at its very core. And while I agree with you to some degree, I want to argue my point by stating all of us, at one point or another, have laughed at someone else's expense.
Example: person or persons tripping in public, unexpected flagellant, bad haircut.
2. Before reading an article of this nature, we toss out all Hollywood versions of our favorite stars. Agreed? I sure hope so, because some of our most beloved were better suited on Extreme Makeover.
3. This entire article is all meant to have a laugh. Some of my selections you will disagree on because all of us define things differently. The objective nature of the term nerd is enslaved to each of our generation's conceptualization of the term, and most importantly, our personal experiences.
4) Burt Reynolds' sexiness swings on an active pendulum from 1 to 10, 10 to 1. His pornographic mustache was a sexy trait for those in the 70s and 80s, who idolized getting tickled and kissed at the same time. My generation? Not so much. He will be key in our discussion.
I hereby grant all rights of the article's reflections, offenses, perceptions and witty outrageous phrases to the reader, and will not be held liable for that which you are about to behold.
Thank You Rollie Fingers, I Will Never Forget the Godly Curly Cue
I never forget the image of a good mustache.
After a night of youthful rebellion—one that included beer pongs and 40 ounce bottles of Mickey's Ice—I woke in my friend's bedroom, starry-eyed and aching. What happened next changed my life forever.
Slowly ascending a still spinning world with eyes thick as concrete, I stared into the gleaning face of Burt Reynolds from a spit stained pillow.
Why or how Burt, his mustache and a hairy chest got there, I will never know.
Before Burt there was Rollie. Before Rollie, there was nobody.
Yes, Rollie Fingers. The man with the most epic gestation of Burt Reynold's stache. The Godfather gifted with curling 19th Century lip hair.
I imagine Rollie's morning ritual included a female's hair curler, lather of Palmade, trimmer and several smiles in a bathroom mirror. If it lifted on an equal plane with his smiling lip, then all was well.
And all was well. Over a 17-year career, Rollie boasted a 2.90 ERA and finished with an impressive 341 career saves.
You're a Bob Hamelin
Little did I know at the age of 14, I coined a burgeoning description of a nerd.
During a pick up game on a steaming day—black top sticky as honey—nine of us gathered for a good game of swift moving basketball. All of us were athletes but one.
And considering we couldn't justify a 5-on-4 match, we needed a friend of ours to participate, a friend whose round torso jiggled and waved like a water bed.
More munchkin than man, the boy with cinnamon freckles touched the ball once, fouled often, fell over and ended the day throwing up in a bed of ice plant.
"You're a Bob Hamelin," I yelled.
My buddies bent over and spilled into laughter.
Hamelin is the fat kid who never grew up.
His forgettable career of 67 home runs over six years, with a lifetime .246 average, somehow in some way mustered an AL Rookie of the Year award in 1994.
In essence, the joke was on me. Being Bob Hameline'd was an American League sensation.
Hmmm....who would of thunk?
Big Bird with a Porn Stache? No, a Man Named Sid Bream
Big Bird was the fashion forward in the 80s and 90s. I imagine Major League management rigged the experiment known as Sid Bream.
Bream rounding bases was like seeing the tall bird in tights, starring in a bad rendition of a porn film. The quixotic nature of Bream's career will forever be befuddling.
When I rank lip hair, I think of Bream. When I rank all-time playoff starting first basemen, I rank Bream in the bottom of a list of 5,000.
Over a 12-year career, Bream hit .264 with a powerhouse pebble of 90 home runs. So much for his 6'4" frame.
The man was a porn star in need of little more sexual encouragement.
Who Is That? Well, Doesn't Matter, Just Look at Him
Recent text conversation with a fellow B/R buddy.
Me: Nerdiest athletes?
Me: Sid Bream?
Buddy: LOL. Big Bird
Me: Yes sir,
Buddy: Ross Ohlendorf
Buddy: Doesn't matter, just look at him.
And I did. I took a good long look at the dominating behemoth of a career 14-28 pitcher and slobbered in my appreciation of the man's brilliance.
I wish I had more to tell you.
After a long, 30 second breakdown of the man's perfectly average career, his leg kick and an extended Baboon-like buttock, I had made up my mind. Include the Princeton graduate, Ross Ohlendorf, and never look back.
Watching Ohlendorf play is worse than watching Roseanne Barr in a bikini contest. Enough said.
School Boy with a Beer Belly
If it were not for his pinpoint accuracy and a dominating mix set of moving change-ups and sliders, Greg Maddux would be better known as a man with an extended beer belly, chicken legs, skinny out-turning arms, flirtatious leg kick and a hat that made his ears stick out.
It seems Maddux's outrageous appearance worked wonders for him.
If I were an opposing hitter with little to any idea who Greg Maddux was, I would carelessly stand at the plate with a lazy aloof approach.
To my surprise, a whipping slider comes rearing over my frontward shoulder, breaking on the low corner like an exploding submarine torpedo.
Maddux smiling, his pudgy cheeks thanking the gods for his mysterious ability to pitch a baseball.
Dumbo in Cleats
Mossi has long been heralded as the ugliest athlete in MLB history. But to ease up a bit on the poor man's image, I'll include him in the nerd category instead, imagining his gift (not ugly curse) were his large ears that he might be the first man with natural ability of flight.
Dumbo and Urkel=the man Mossie, snorting his way to an all-star appearance in 1957 and a 17-win season in 1959. He is the string bean kid we all played with Little League.
The Mulleted Oaf
For a more epic image of Zane Smith, look here.
For an entire Summer in 1990, I opened each and every pack of Fleer baseball cards, (it seemed) only to find the mulleted oaf in his awkward half-smirking portrait.
It was terrible really. Not only were his cards were nothing and the man a below average looking pitcher, but it freaked me out really, and made me wonder whether or not I was haunted by the man.
Over a 13-year career Smith won 100 games, never to make an all star team. But he's certainly an all-star in another way if you ask me.
Stuck in a Trailer Park?
I don't care how many Cy Young awards you have; when you sport a mullet throughout the entirety of your famed career, you're officially a nerd just on your looks alone.
Three hundred and three wins is impressive. So are five Cy Young awards and 4,875 strikeouts over your career.
But I'm sorry. I can take a joke for a year, can take the Brian Wilson mullet/mohawk with the stylish beard, but I can't get over a tall man with the thin body of a sixth grader and the hair of a trailer park.
Randy Johnson is one of the greatest that ever coursed the mound, in more than one way.
The Man with a Single Word
Gene Walter looks like this.
He played four seasons and compiled four wins in his unforgettable career.
I imagine the man was the type of guy we all knew in school. Each and every time anyone said a thing to the quietly aloof kid, he grunted.
Walter is the one-cell amoeba too dumb to know how to put his hat over his long curly bangs.
"Hey Gene! What's up man?"
Braces and Baseball
Willie McGee is the man who abhorred the idea of braces. Unfortunately for you and me, we were stuck staring at his horse teeth for a long career.
I knew a boy named Jered who had teeth like Willie. He liked eating Cheetos. Every time one spoke to the rat-faced kid, he smelled of fake cheese and had orange dye stuck to his gums.
It is as if Willie chose to never grow up. Be the dork eating chips with stains in his teeth, playing a round of the Sims on his beefy computer.