Fat Tuesday: A look back at some fat Pittsburgh Pirates
By Tom Smith
Fat Tuesday is upon us. Which means it’s almost Major League Baseball season. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitchers and catchers will report to work and if all goes well, none of them will look like some of the fatter Pittsburgh Pirates on our list.
Of course Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday in English, at least that’s what they say on wiki. The celebration of one last night of eating fatty foods and drinking oneself into blackoutdom is upon us. For some reason it got us to thinking about fat Pittsburgh Pirates. No idea why.
It seems that MLB players used to be bigger, probably just the eye test failing us once again. But some of the better ones were thick. Babe Ruth was a fat fella. Tony Gwynn as well. Boog Powell. Pablo Sandoval is a helluva ball player and a bit big around the middle. Prince and Cecil Fielder as well as West Virginia’s own John Kruk were big boys too.
Most of my examples will be (a bit) more recent. Few will be in the league of the players mentioned above. We ask for your help in the comments section if you have a fat favorite we have left off the list.
Jumbo Diaz was a huge man. Our Pirates Minor League Sleeper of the Year candidate never panned out for the Bucs, but it’s easy to envision Jumbo donning a Mardi Gras mask. Hell, it’s easy to see him doing just about whatever he wants, perhaps just skipping the pomp and circumstance and celebrating Mardi Gras all year long.Jumbo Diaz
was a huge Pittsburgh Pirates reliever in the minor leagues.
Mike Fetters and the Pirates vest look of the early 2000s didn’t exactly mesh well. Although the Mike Fetters garden gnome promotional giveaway idea never took off, I still have my mock up. (Hat tip to Eric McElhone for the pre-pitch Fetters memories)Mike Fetters
Garden Gnome Giveaway Night would have been huge.
Mike Zagurski was a cult favorite for Pittsburgh Pirates fans.
Mike Zagurski fires a strike against the Rays.
Matt Stairs slugged 20 homers back in 2003 as a 35-year-old. Stairs ripped five bombs in a sixteen at-bat stretch at one point. The ice-in-his-veins slugging Stairs could eat enough steak to make Travis Snider blush, and would still have eight more seasons ahead of him to make buffet owners around big league ball parks bite their nails upon seeing him in their establishments.
Trivia question. What is uglier? The Pirates hat or Matt Stairs?
What is uglier? The hat or Matt Stairs?
One image comes immediately to minds of Pirates fans when the word fat Pittsburgh Pirates comes up. Yeah, Jabba Jimmy Anderson. Everyone has a picture like this that some jerk took and shouldn’t have. Mine happen often. But they never see sunlight, Jimmy wasn’t as fortunate although he spent six years in the big leagues, most of them as bad as the picture.
The infamous Jimmy Anderson picture.
Clint Hurdle is a monster of a man. Smart. Commands the room. Tries to hide his belly during awkard close ups.
Willie Stargell aged like fine wine. By the time Pops humiliated the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 World Series, he was a bit plump. Big deal. Pops made the chicks dance on the dugouts just the same.
One of the most beloved Pirates in history, Willie Stargell.
So there it is, we know we missed a few fat Pirates so help us out below…. Isn’t it funny, we will remember the big fellas much more than a skinny guy? Have fun on Fat Tuesday. Go Bucs.