Being a professional athlete may be rewarding due to sporting accomplishments and the celebrity lifestyles that many pro athletes enjoy today, but it’s tough. It’s tough to break into professional sports, but once there, there’s no let-up. The endless hours of training, dieting, dedication to your craft – all of this is to nurture and enhance your skills on the field, but it can certainly take its toll on the mind and the body. So when it’s time to say goodbye and walk away from professional sports, many athletes enjoy no longer having to stick to the regimented lifestyles and the punishing schedules that athletes endure.
Now let’s face it, baseball doesn’t exactly breed fit-looking athletes. It’s a sport where you can get away with being out of shape; there aren’t and haven’t been many Herculean physiques that have graced the baseball field over the years. Give the ball a tonk, deliver a fast pitch, and depending on your role, have some foot speed.
Since plenty of baseball players have been overweight during their MLB days, it’s no surprise, that without the little bit of fitness work and training they used to do, post-MLB they’ve just continued to balloon in weight. Some guys actually took care of themselves while they were professionals, but let loose afterwards, piled on the pounds and let themselves go. Others look terrific post-MLB as if they they could still take to the baseball field.
Here’s a look at 16 former MLB pros -- eight who look great and eight who let themselves go.
16 16. Great: Dmitri Young
We’ve mentioned how a lot of these ex-pros were fat during their playing days, and then post-MLB, just got fatter. But Dmitri Young bucks the trend; he did things the other way around. Young was huge during his playing days – he was massive and continued to pile on the pounds over his 13-year MLB career. He weighed an astonishing 295 pounds at his heaviest, making him the third heaviest MLB player of all time. But post-MLB, Young, now 43, looks terrific. He’s lost a ton of weight and is truly unrecognizable from his playing days. He hasn’t just lost weight, he’s actually skinny, and has lost about 100 pounds.
15 15. Let Go: Ken Griffey Jr.
Former outfielder George Kenneth "Ken" Griffey Jr. had a long stint at the top in MLB, playing for 22 years with three different teams. He spent the majority of his career with the Seattle Mariners, and it’s where he made a name for himself as a prolific hitter – one of the best in history. With 630 home runs, Junior was box office; fans loved him, as did other companies looking to get him on board, like Nike and Nintendo. He had a decent physique too – a powerful build, which just added to that star persona.
14 14. Great: Bip Roberts
13 13. Let Go: Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens used to be a big guy; he still is today, but in another sense. Broad-shouldered and muscular, Clemens pitched his way to the top – he ended his career as one of the best pitchers of all time in the MLB. Using the strength that he gained from his size, Clemens made a name for himself as an intimidating pitcher; those hard-throwing pitches would make the batsman quake in their boots.
Clemens was alleged to have used performance enhancers to build his physique, something that he’s always firmly denied. Whether steroids had a part to play or not, Clemens possessed awesome physical presence, which he used to his advantage on the baseball field.
12 12. Great: Cal Ripken Jr.
The Iron Man had a stellar career in the MLB. Across 21 seasons, he amassed 431 home runs and is a deserved MVP. What’s remarkable is that he spent his entire career with one team – Baltimore Orioles – with whom he won numerous accolades and gained plenty of accomplishments. Ripken was also one of the fittest players around; his staggering record-breaking feat of playing 2,632 consecutive games for the Orioles is a testimony to that.
11 11. Let Go: Pedro Martinez
Pedro Jaime Martínez is a former starting pitcher and played for five teams during his 17-year career in the MLB. He retired in 2009 with a record of 219 wins and 100 losses – one of the best win/loss ratios in MLB history. At his peak, Pedro was an eight-time All-Star and won numerous other accolades as a star pitcher, possessing an arsenal of different pitches which he executed day in day out with considerable control and perfection.
10 10. GREAT: Ron Darling
The darling of MLB had a glittering 13-year career in the sport. By the end of his career, he had thrown 1,590 strikeouts and had an 3.87 ERA. He was a glittering starting pitcher and deserved World Series Champion and Golden Glove Award winner.
9 9. Let Go: Pete Rose
The man known as “Charlie Hustle” played in the MLB for a remarkable 23 years. He also managed the Reds, and had a long and pretty decent career as a switch hitter, but it was a career that was marred by plenty of controversy, which is ultimately what will be remembered.
From tax evasion to gambling, Rose’s career was tainted due his antics post-MLB. He also had a somewhat volatile personality, and was once suspended for 30 days after pushing an umpire.
Despite these controversies, no one can doubt his skills as a slugger on the baseball field, and he’s deserved all the accolades that have come his way.
8 8. GREAT: Barry Bonds
One of the greatest MLB players of all time had a glittering career that was also littered with controversy.
Bonds was undoubtedly one of the sport’s greatest hitters; he could hit the ball miles, had an awesome level of strength and was one of the fittest guys on the baseball field. Bonds was fit and in good shape before he decided to take things to the next level. When he took steroids, he just blew up, packed on an incredible amount of size onto his previously slight and lean frame and began tonking the ball out of the ballpark for fun.
7 7. Let Go: Greg Luzinski
Gregory Michael "The Bull" Luzinski was never the fittest guy in MLB. At 6'1 and 255 pounds at his heaviest, Greg doesn’t resemble one of your modern day, fit and healthy athletes. Today, it might be frowned upon to be carrying a bit of excess weight, but back in the 70s and 80s when Greg was around, it was pretty much the norm. His size enabled him to pack a lot of weight and plenty of power behind his hits, and he became a renowned slugger for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox during the latter part of his MLB career. He may not have been technically brilliant, but his hitting was mightily effective.
6 6. GREAT: Derek Jeter
Think of the Yankees and you think of Derek Jeter. He walked away from the MLB a couple of years back a New York Yankees legend. Twenty seasons in the MLB resulted in him becoming one of the best hitters of all time, and his base running, fielding, and leadership skills were legendary, which meant that he retired having cemented himself as an all-time great.
5 5. Let Go: Fernando Valenzuela
Fernando’s another guy who obviously wasn’t too fond of the gym when he was playing in the MLB. Despite his paunch, he ended up being a formidable pitcher in the MLB, not because he was a hard thrower, but because of for the six teams he played during his 17- year career at the highest level.
Fernando didn’t really work on the fitness aspect of his game. He didn’t really need to as he possessed a tremendous amount of natural talent; he didn’t even look up at the plate when he was pitching!
4 4. Great: Mariano Rivera
Here’s another New York Yankees veteran who played alongside Derek Jeter for the majority of his career. Rivera spent his time with the Yankees as a relief pitcher, and was very successful at the role too. He was known for his consistency and when he walked away from the MLB in 2013, he had cemented his place as an all-time great reliever. A place in the Hall of Fame will certainly be his when he’s eligible.
3 3. Let Go: John Kruk
After calling time on a decade-long career, Kruk had amassed 100 home runs and had a batting average of .300. He was also a three-time All-Star for the Philadelphia Phillies before he ended his career with the Chicago White Sox in 1995 as a designated hitter.
2 2. GREAT: Randy Johnson
After 21 years in the MLB playing for six different teams, "The Big Unit" was a highly popular figure in baseball. The left-handed pitcher ended his career in 2009 with 4,875 strikeouts and 303 career victories. Johnson’s been the recipient of a number of awards and accolades throughout his career and deservedly so.
At 6'10, Johnson is renowned for often clocking 100 mph, and his signature pitch, the slider. He was an explosive pitcher and a recognizable one too, with his long locks and that stash.
1 1. Let Go: Boog Powell
Former MLB first baseman, Boog Powell, spent 17 seasons in the MLB. He was a powerful hitter, with 339 home runs, which included him being one of only a few players to hit three home runs in a game – he did on three occasions. During his glory years, he was a four-time All-Star, won the World Series twice, was an MVP in 1970, and was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame, for whom he played 13 years, from 1961-1974.
Powell actually had a decent physique when he was playing, but the weight began to pile on when he retired in 1977. He has a love for barbecues, and it shows. Powell owns a company called Boog's Barbecue and has appeared in a number of different commercials for Miller Lite beer over the years. Barbecue and booze – that’s a combination that’s guaranteed to pack on weight, and looking at Powell today, it certainly has.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!