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MLB Oddballs: The 20 Freakiest, Funniest Crackpots In Baseball

Find out who the most hilarious guys are on and off the mound, including Ryan Dempster, Hunter Pence, Brian Wilson, Ichiro Suzuki, and more. 



Illustrated for Maxim by James Bennett | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

The Joker: Ryan Dempster

Illustrated for Maxim by James Bennett | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

What’s the greatest practical joke you’ve ever played?
Someone on the Cubs froze Will Ohman’s spikes in a bucket, and no one owned up to it. And even though I didn’t do it, I said I did just to see how Will would get back at me. So Will did typical stuff, like superglue my zipper and put eye black on the rim of my cap so it would end up on my forehead. After that I had a chance to really get him back.

What did you do?
I got some cameramen together and made up this story that there was a documentary being shot on left-handed re­lievers, and they were coming to see Will. Who’d watch a documentary on lefty relievers? Anyway, I got all four tires off his car and hid them around the ballpark. As he was being interviewed, I said, “Hey, Will, isn’t that your tire in the outfield?’’ He turned around and wasn’t too happy.

How’d you start doing the Harry Caray impression?
I was a fan of his for a long time. One of my favorite stories is from way before there was a kiss cam, and Harry was talking about a couple that was constantly kissing. He said [Harry Caray voice], “And he kisses her on the strikes, and she kisses him on the balls.” [laughs]. He was awesome.


MORE ODDBALLS: 

Jason Giambi, Cleveland Indians Designated Hitter
Where do you draw the line between superstitious and crazy? Ask the Giambino, who’s admitted that he breaks out a golden thong when in a slump...then shares it with teammates. Now try to erase that mental image.

Derek Holland, Texas Rangers Starting Pitcher
Forget Holland’s mid-90s heat. The dude’s ’stache has its own Twitter account, last season’s mullet put Billy Ray Cyrus’ to shame, and his nickname is the Dutch Oven (which is better than the Cleveland Steamer, but still).

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants Starting Pitcher
You’ve gotta love the Freak, whether it’s his Gumby-like windup, his old Professor Snape hair, or the physique that makes him look like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. He’s a Gumby-Snape-Mitch mutant! And God bless him for it.

A. J. Pierzynski, Texas Rangers Catcher
The frosted-tipped backstop has allegedly kneed a trainer in the nuts, he’s fought as a pro wrestler, and his ex-manager Ozzie Guillen said, “If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.” Aw.

Luke Scott, Tampa Bay Rays 1B, DH, OF
We’re not sure what’s the scariest thing about Scott. The military-grade arsenal, the survivalist tendencies, the birther politics, or the Wolverine-style chops. At least he no longer packs heat when he heads to the ballpark.
The Motormouth: Hunter Pence

Illustrated for Maxim by James Bennett | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

What was going through your head during the Giants’ postseason push?
I just lost my mind. I would talk about it with Brian Wilson, who’d say, “We’re getting outhit, outpitched; let’s do something!” So I started a parade. I’m not saying that’s why we won, and it might have looked crazy to fans and everybody else, but crazy worked for us. We’re the World Series champions. It’s not weird if it works.
 
Why would a grown man making millions of dollars take a motorized scooter to work instead of a limo?
Our chef, of all people, custom-builds these scooters, and they’re awesome. Wilson has one, and Marco Scutaro has one. It’s hard 
to drive in San Francisco, but there are bike lanes everywhere, so I try to take advantage of it.
 
How did you come up with the craziest stance in baseball?
Everyone hits differently. I might look kind of unusual, but the bottom line is, does it work? My swings have always been made fun of. But the joke was when the Astros signed me. For­tunately they didn’t mess with my swing.


MORE ODDBALLS: 

Carlos Zambrano, Miami Marlins Starting Pitcher
He was voted baseball’s meanest pitcher: After giving up five homers to the Braves in 2011, he fired two balls at Chipper Jones, then bolted, cleaned out his locker, and “retired.” For two whole days.

Brandon McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher
After fracturing his skull, the hilarious hurler had this to say: “Well, if being discharged from the hospital isn’t the best time to ask about a threesome, then I’m fresh out of ideas.” His wife was not amused.

R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher
R. A. not only has the craziest pitch in the game but reads books and stuff, too. Nutty! Even weirder? Risking his 2012 salary to climb Kilimanjaro. He went on to win the Cy Young, so maybe the altitude did him good.

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees Third Baseman
Where to start? The rumored centaur self-portrait? Trying to pick up fans? During the playoffs? While in a slump? But the craziest thing may be his latest alleged PED scandal. Did he learn nothing the first time?

C. J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitcher
It’s one thing to go straight-edge if you are an ugly, broke punk rocker. Quite another if you’re a handsome ace making $16 mil per year. No booze, no drugs, no sleeping around? Could be the oddest man in pro sports.

The Merry Prankster: Ryan Theriot

Illustrated for Maxim by James Bennett | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

How do you loosen up your teammates?
I grab a bag of sunflower seeds in the dugout and spill them all over someone intensely watching the game. It’s hilarious. Matt Cain didn’t like it very much, so I did it to him almost every day. Even when you were showering after the game, you would find sunflower seeds on your body no matter how much you shook them off.
 
How did guys get pumped during the Series?
It was easy because of Hunter Pence’s speeches. What I’d do when he was done was fire Swedish Fish, gum, Skittles, and chunks of granola bars up in the air on the players. The floor of the dugout was like bar gravy. I’d throw stuff toward the people in the first row behind the dugout. Those people got to eat for free.
 
What were you going to do if the World Series went back to San Francisco?
I was going to make it rain after Hunter’s speech. I was going to throw Monopoly money and a lot of dollar bills on the players and on the people in the front row. I’ll do it this season if I get back to the World Series.


The Glutton: John Axford

Illustrated for Maxim by James Bennett | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

What’s your pregame ritual?
I go to the bathroom and get rid of all of my nervous pee. And then, just before I hit the field, I grab two pieces of Big Red gum. I need to put something in my mouth.
 
Um, OK. For a skinny guy, you’ve got an interesting diet. Any staples?
The Krispy Kreme burger. You have a burger in a Krispy Kreme donut with cheese and chocolate-covered bacon. It’s very good.
 
Sounds healthy.
I pitch in Milwaukee—what do you want? At the state fairs I’ll tweet out to fans that if they get me a Krispy Kreme burger or deep-friend cheese curds, I’ll trade them tickets. If you’re really feeling it, you go for the deep-fried butter stick.
 
You’ve had more mustache looks than the Village People. 
Yeah, I’ve had it all, the Fu Man, the waxed, the chopper.
 
What’s most intimidating?
I don’t think it’s the look as much as the pitch. I have no fear when I get out there. I just let her rip once I get rid of all my nervous pee.
The Animal: Vance Worley

Illustrated for Maxim by James Bennett | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013 

You’re constantly talking on the field. For those of us who can’t read lips, what are you saying?
It’ll be “motherfuck” this, “motherfuck” that. One game last year I was really talking out there. “Motherfuck, shit, fuck.” I was striking out a bunch of guys, and the guys in the other dugout were whining about me talking. Fucking babies.
 
Do you play mind games with opposing hitters?
Yes. One of the guys I’ve had these games with is [the Mets’] Ruben Tejada, who is a really good player. I’ve faced him a lot in the minors and with the Phillies. Last April he came up, and I remember thinking, Take this motherfucker. I hit 94 mph on the gun, which I’d never done before. That was a lot of fun.
 
What kind of impact do all your antics have on the batter?
I think it helps. The more lippy I get, the more these guys probably think, Is this fucker crazy or what?

MORE ODDBALLS: 
Jonathon Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies Relief Pitcher
The Phils’ closer has said he gets so worked upM during games that he goes half-blind. He can’t sleep. He grinds his teeth. He gets paralyzing headaches. He seems like such a prick that we’re fine with all of it.

Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants Relief Pitcher
Is the Beard legitimately insane or just crazy like a fox? And do we care? No play­er is funnier than the spandex-tuxedoed “certified ninja,” who keeps a leather-clad gimp dubbed the Machine on call. Fear the Beard!

Nyjer Morgan, Yokohama DeNA BayStars Outfielder
The man known as Tony Plush has thrown balls at fans, charged the mound, and yelled obscen­ities on live TV. We love the guy, but we can’t say we’re surprised he’s playing in Japan in 2013. Come back Tony!

Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees Outfielder
The greatest Japa­­nese player ever gets his spot purely for his Yogi Berra–level words of wisdom. While the language barrier may be to blame, we have a sneaking suspicion Ichiro’s been fucking with us all along.

Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays Relief Pitcher
His hat’s crookeder than a D.C. lobbyist, his fastball has more heat than a Spring Breakers cast party, and his 0.60 ERA last year was skimpier than Giambi’s gold lamé thong. Sorry for the visual (again)!

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