With the exception of soccer, no other professional sports league has sexier players than Major League Baseball. NFL players are largely obese, over-muscled and brain addled from concussions (quarterbacks are the exception); NBA players are freakishly tall and look silly in their baggy shorts; and the NHL teams are full of players with missing teeth and "ice rage" issues. Granted, there's not a whole lot of running, jumping, or tackling involved in baseball. Still, the players look great standing around posing in their snug stretch pants that hug their groin, thighs, biceps and calves. And while they stand at home plate or out in the field waiting for next pitch it gives us fans time to ogle them as they play with their bat, adjust their cup, or stretch teasingly. Isn't this what fantasy baseball is all about?
Out of the 750 or so players on active rosters of Major League Baseball's 30 teams, here, in no particular order, are eighteen of the players I most enjoy seeing appear my TV screen (vital statistics as of April 2015):
- Jacoby Ellsbury/NY Yankees (31 years old/6'1"/195 lbs.) - The half-Navajo Ellsbury is one of the few ball players, as last year's World Series could attest, whose close cropped beard added to his sex appeal. However, now that he's with the Yankees there will be no more facial hair.
- Giancarlo Stanton/Miami Marlins (25 years old/6'6"/245 lbs). This strapping superstar's sex appeal increased tenfold when, at the start of the 2013 season, he chose to be called by his given first name, Giancarlo. And then his ogle-worthiness exploded that summer when he appeared in ESPN Magazine's fifth annual "Body Issue". Then in the fall of 2014 his team signed him to a 13-year-contract worth $325 million.
- Joe Mauer/ Minnesota Twins (32 years old/6'5"/230 lbs.). For me, Joe's All-American good looks bring to mind the character Joe Boyd, the ball player in the movie, and Broadway musical, Damn Yankees. In addition to playing baseball Mauer was also a TV pitchman for Head and Shoulders shampoo.
- David Wright/NY Mets (32 years old/6'0"/210 lbs.) - He's like a little puppy dog, i.e. always smiling and eager to please. His appeal is enhanced further by the fact that he's an All Star caliber player. Not surprisingly, he's the Mets' "golden" boy.
- Grady Sizemore/Red Sox (32 years old/6'2"/200 lbs.) - Definitely a cool drink of water. After spending two years mostly on the disabled list, he was traded from the backwater of Cleveland to the Red Sox, which should get his adorable mug even more media attention.
- Albert Pujols/LA Angels (35 years old/6'3"/230 lbs.) - A slab of 100% pure Dominican beef with a mighty bat. Three MVP Awards and two World Series rings got him a 10-year, $254 million contract from his new team, the Angels. Ay papi indeed!
- Sergio Romo/SF Giants (32 years old/5'11"/185 lbs.) - Romo may look like he stepped out of an Al Qaeda hideout in Afghanistan but he's actually a fun-loving Mexican American. As a relief pitcher for the Giants he's collected three World Series rings in the past five seasons.
- Ichiro Suzuki/Miami Marlins (41 years old/5'11"/170 lbs.) - Somewhat like Toyota, Ichiro is the Japanese import who has had the greatest success in the U.S., becoming one of the greatest hitters of all time.
- Carlos Beltran/NY Yankees (38 years old/6'1"/210 lbs.) - First, I've always had a weakness for the name Carlos. Second, I think he may have the sexiest mouth of any ballplayer. And although he's not of Cuban heritage, he has a vague resemblance to a young Desi Arnaz.
- Eric Hosmer/Kansas City Royals (25 years old/6'4"/225 lbs.) - He resembles a cross between the Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury (see above) and actor Ben Affleck. He came to my attention during the 2014 World Series when his team played the Giants.
- Matt Kemp/San Diego Padres (29 years old/6'4"/225 lbs.). Kemp is in serious competition with Giancarlo Stanton for title of alpha stud. Compared to the other players on this list, he easily had the most enticing pics to consider, making for a deliciously agonizing decision. This Dodger's little black book may be as filled as that of Derek Jeter (e.g. Rihanna, Eva Longoria) - and he's 10 years Jeter's junior.
- Nick Markakis/Atlanta Braves (30 years old/6'1"/190 lbs). One of the few players of Greek heritage, I'd love to see him in a toga debating with Socrates at the Acropolis as much as kneeling in the on-deck circle at Camden Yards.
- Angel Pagan/SF Giants (32, 6'2", 205 lbs). Pagan is the second member of the 2012 and 2014 World Champion Giants chosen for this list. Although he may not be considered a superstar in terms of his baseball skills (but he's still an excellent player), he's in the elite class of sexy players. And Angel is a perfect name.
- CJ Wilson/LA Angels (33 years old/6'1"/210 lbs.) - A pitcher who looks like he came from the same gene pool as the Indians' Grady Sizemore and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.
- Ryan Braun/Milwaukee Brewers (30 years old/6'1"/200 lbs). One of baseball's few Jewish ballplayers, his nickname is the "Hebrew Hammer". Unfortunately, he's one of the players whose stellar MVP-caliber career has been blackened due to his lying about his use of PE drugs.
- Jose Bautista/Toronto Blue Jays (33 years old/6'/190 lbs.) - If you didn't know his name you might think Bautista is of Israeli heritage, but like Albert Pujols he's from the Dominican Republic. Over the past few years he's become quite a home run hitter.
- Sean Rodriguez/Pittsburgh Pirates (29 years old/6'/200 lbs.) - With a career batting average of only .225 he won't be getting inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but this Irish/Cuban hottie is batting 1.000 in the eye-candy department. Rodriguez was recently traded to the Pirates, my hometown team, so I feel an even closer affinity towards him.
- Jose Altuve/Houston Astros (25 years old/5'5"/170 lbs.) - Like we do with a puppy, everyone wants to scoop this little guy up in their arms. At just 5'5" his teammates tower over him but his energetic play has endeared him to Astros fans. And he's an All-Star caliber player, winning the American League batting title in 2014 as well as leading the league in hits and stolen bases.
- Lastly, a new manager was named to the Tigers in 2014 who merits addition to this honor roll. His name is Brad Ausmus, 45 years old, and he gives most of the players a run for their money in the beefcake department. Before being named manager of the Tigers he managed Israel's national baseball team. Besides a body, he's also has a degree from Dartmouth.
And here are some others who appeared in earlier editions of this post who have since retired ...
- Carlos Pena/Last played in 2014 - Like Albert Pujols, Pena is big-batted Dominican known for hitting home runs. However, as his career winds down, Pena's strikeouts have become his defining feature. But he'd never have any trouble getting to first base with me.
- Andy Pettitte/Last played in 2013 - Along with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Pettitte was a big favorite among Yankees fans. And even as his hair grayed he maintained his boyish enthusiasm.
Johnny Damon/Last played in 2012 - Whether sporting the caveman look when he played with the Red Sox or clean cut after he was traded to the Yankees, Damon is adorable. He and a few of his Red Sox teammates appeared on an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy back in 2004. Without his beard and long hair Damon bears a striking resemblance to Republican senator Marco Rubio (they're just a few years apart in age and both live in Florida).