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Baseball’s history books are full of all-stars and hall of famers, but some of our most favorite athletes to ever play the game aren’t necessarily the best. These ballplayers became legends because they took the field with their own unique fashion and style of play.
Here are 5 Major Leaguers who did it their own way and the players currently in the majors who most closely resemble their games:
5) Satchel Paige – Satchel Paige was one of the best pitchers of all time despite not making his Major League debut until the age of 41. He dominated the Negro Leagues, was known across the country for his pitching prowess and played in the pros until he was 58 years old. Clearly he didn’t care about his critics and pitched as long as he could.
Player Most Like Him Currently in the Majors: Mariano Rivera – Even though Mo is strictly a closer and supposedly retiring after this season, he has experienced the same type of dominance as Paige when it comes to the mound. There is no way he should quit when he is pitching this well and we all know fans would love for him to keep shutting the door in the Bronx.
4) Dave Kingman – The 6’6 slugger from Oregon will always be remembered for three things…hitting mammoth homeruns, striking out a lot and not caring about the media. Kingman once unloaded a 550 ft. bomb at Wrigley Field as a member of the Mets but he is probably most famous for sending a live rat to a Sacramento Bee reporter that he disliked.
Player Most Like Him Currently in the Majors: Adam Dunn – Dunn, also 6’6, is the king of striking out and hitting deep drives. His average is well below .200 at the moment but he leads the White Sox in homeruns and walks and seems perfectly content doing it that way.
3) Randy Johnson – The Big Unit was the most physically imposing pitcher in major league history. At 6’10 he stood much taller than other hurlers. On top of his distinguishable height, he sported a mullet haircut way past the acceptable era to do so. Randy also pitched into his forties, threw multiple no hitters and was the strikeout king for a decade.
Player Most Like Him Currently in the Majors: Jeff Samardzija – The Cubs starter is 6’5, sits in the Top 10 in strikeouts and has a similar affinity for the mullet haircut and facial hair style that Randy did. Though his stuff isn’t as electric, Samardzija is as close as we are going to get when it comes to being like Johnson.
2) Craig Biggio – Biggio played a ton of games for Houston, was hit by 287 pitches and was the ultimate hustle player in the majors for more than ten years. He was a 7 time all-star and he cleared the 3,000 hit mark with his gritty play. He played a different style and went about his business unlike most players of his generation.
Player Most Like Him Currently in the Majors: Dustin Pedroia – The Red Sox second baseman hits for a high average, walks a ton and is short in stature like Biggio. It isn’t hard to picture him in a Red Sox uniform for his entire career, just like Craig Biggio did in Houston.
1) Rickey Henderson – The most prolific base stealer in major league history was also a well known elitist, constantly referring to himself in the third person. Rickey once stole 130 bases in a single season (1982) and swiped a total of 1,406 in his career. The guy played with a furious passion, had a one-of-a-kind swagger about him and played the game the only way he knew how…fast.
Player Most Like Him Currently in the Majors: None – Nyjer Morgan spoke in the third person frequently but he is currently playing in Japan. And Billy Hamilton (Reds) may one day eclipse the single season 100 steal plateau but he is a one-tool player. Rickey truly was the best when it came to doing things his way and doing them well.