When we think about the best athletes in the world, we usually think about players who are in tip-top condition. They can run fast, jump high, and always seem to have a physical advantage over their competition. But when looking at the definition of the word athlete, we found the following:
a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength
So, technically speaking, a person can be an athlete even if they are not in the greatest of shape as long as they have the skills to be good at the sport or game that they play. Going by that, Babe Ruth should be considered one of the greatest athletes of all-time, despite being overweight and slow.
Then we got to thinking about some of the players who have played for the Detroit Tigers in recent history who have not exactly been in great shape yet still found a way to make it to the highest level of baseball.
Here is a list of the 10 most out of shape Detroit Tigers since 1990.
*Note: All heights/weights were obtained from BaseballReference.com
Jose Valverde (P) – 6’4″, 265 lbs
Good old Papa Grande made the cut! Not surprisingly considering he always seemed to be a bit out of shape. Valverde pitched for the Tigers from 2010-2014, racking up 119 saves along the way. His best season in Detroit came in 2011 when he saved 49 games and was named to the American League All-Star Team.
Esteban Yan (P) – 6’4″, 255 lbs
Estaban Yan only spent one season with the Tigers (2004), but at 6’4, 255 lbs, he was hard to miss. In his only season in Detroit, Yan had a record of 3-6 with a 3.83 ERA. He pitched in 69 games out of the bullpen and collected seven saves.
Joba Chamberlain (P) – 6’3″, 245 lbs
Joba Chamberlain pitched in 99 games for the Tigers between 2014-2015, all out of the bullpen. Once considered more of a power pitcher, Joba struggled to punch batters out with the Tigers, only striking out 7.8 batters per 9 IP.
Alfredo Simon (P) – 6’6″, 265 lbs
At 6’6″, 265, Alfredo Simon had the nickname of Big Pasta for a reason. The Tigers acquired Simon following his 15-10 All-Star season with the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately, he was unable to repeat his performance in 2015 with the Tigers, as he went 13-12 with a 5.05 ERA.
Juan Acevedo (P) – 6’2″, 245 lbs
Juan Acevedo only pitched one season with the Tigers (2002) and he was solid. In 65 games out of the bullpen, Acevedo posted a 2.65 ERA.
Freddy Garcia (P) – 6’4″, 250 lbs
Freddy “The Chief” Garcia may have only pitched in three games for the Tigers in 2008, but we had to include him on this list because of his size.
Bruce Rondon (P) – 6’3″, 275 lbs
Bruce Rondon is currently a member of the Detroit Tigers. In four seasons with the team, he has pitched in 123 games, all out of the bullpen, posting a 5.00 ERA while picking up seven saves. Hopefully Rondon can develop into the pitcher the Tigers hope he can become.
Brad Eldred (1B/OF) – 6’6″, 270 lbs
Brad Eldred only played in five games for the Tigers in 2012, but at 6’6″, 270 lbs, he is definitely one of the biggest players in team history. At that size, maybe Eldred would have lasted longer as a tight end in the NFL than he did in Major League Baseball.
Prince Fielder (1B) – 5’11”, 275 lbs
Good old Prince Fielder. At 5’11” 275 lbs, Prince Fielder is without a doubt one of the biggest players ever to suit up for the Detroit Tigers. Watching Fielder run the bases was like watching a train wreck, it was impossible to take your eyes off. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself.
Dmitri Young (LF/1B/3B) – 6’2″, 295 lbs
The winner of the biggest Detroit Tigers player since 1990 goes to non other than Dmitri Young. Young was large and in charge, that’s for sure! In five seasons with the Tigers, ‘Da Meat Hook’ hit .279 with 82 home runs and 267 RBIs.