Aroldis Chapman was featured in a recent issue of ESPN the magazine, but not just for his ability to throw 100 mile per hour pitches. Instead, the article addressed Chapman’s first career path, one that would require him to throw punches instead of fastballs.
“Chapman had oncewanted to be a boxer,” wrote columnist Eli Slaslow. “In Cuba his father was a trainer, which meant that Chapman’s family owned the only three sets of boxing gloves in his rural neighborhood.”
The future All-Star closer would spend most of his time thinking about boxing, frequently sparring with some friends.
“He possessed a knock out left hook, quick feet and a quicker temper, which sometimes caused him to fly into a rage,” Slaslow said. “His mother told him he had the temperament for a calmer game. She said try baseball instead.”
Thankfully, Chapman took his mom’s advice, for now he is one of the best hurlers in the big leagues. His interest in boxing, though, does make the Reds a good fit for him.
Not only does Cincinnati have a rich history of players, like Pete Rose, who were not afraid to throw a punch, but it also has its share of players whose names exude the sport of boxing. Here is a roster of Reds with boxing-related names, including Charlie Hustle at first base.
Boom Boom Beck
This pitcher for the 1945 Reds shares the same nickname as world champion Mancini, who later became the subject of a Warren Zevon song.
This hurler with the mighty surname was a mainstay for the 1983-87 clubs, before returning to the team in 1991.
A main piece of the pitching staff from 1917-20, his surname provides the perfect location for a sparring contest.
A shortstop for the teams of 1953-57, Bridges’ first name would later serve as the title for the best boxing movie ever made along with numerous sequels.
Blessed with lightning speed, this second baseman served as an exciting leadoff hitter for the Cincinnati squads of 1992-93,
Since avoiding punches is nearly as important as throwing them, this third baseman of the 1913 team has to be in the lineup.
The 1915 catcher was a Red in both moniker and member, and as a boxer his last name would be his goal each time he entered the ring.
Way back even a decade before the famous Johnson-Jeffries fight, the man with this punchy nickname patrolled the outfield for the 1899 Reds.
Though this outfielder of 1977-79 was never a champ for the Redlegs, he did win a pennant as a member of the 1984 San Diego Padres.
The Reds Hall of Fame outfielder would no doubt be standing when the ring signified the end if the last round.
ESPN the Magazine, 2/18/14