A World Series MVP at the age of 33 years old, this first baseman accrued 19.9 career WAR in 12 major league seasons. In that Fall Classic our mystery man had 16 plate appearances and slashed .357/.438/.1.071 and clubbed three homers, drove in four, and had 15 total bases.
Growing up around numerous ex-Negro Leaguers, he was even schooled by Satchel Paige to hone his understanding of the strike zone…at only 10 years old. Can you imagine how freaky it would be to stand in against Satchel Paige when you were only 10?!?
His father held Ph.D.s in Mathematics and Philosophy, but died tragically young from Leukemia. Our man of the moment never really new his father, but certainly took after him in the academic department, graduating high school at only 15! Then, in college, he was mentored by Martin Luther King, Jr. His family was close with the Kings. He developed into a three-sport star in college, playing baseball, football, and basketball. For his prowess in the latter sport, he was once offered a contract by the Harlem Globetrotters. Yet, baseball would become his sport of focus.
Once in the major leagues, his brightest four-year stretch would come between his age-28 and age-31 seasons. In that stretch, he slashed .285/.335/.455 with a 121 OPS+, knocking out an average of 17 homers and driving in 78 per season. He only ever led the league in strikeouts (twice) and sacrifice flies (once). Sooo, suffice it to say, he doesn’t have a lot of bold on his Baseball Reference page. He does have a World Series ring and Series MVP trophy, though. That’s something Joe Torre could never claim while he was a player (not a knock on Joe, I like him, even though I loathe the Yankees, but he was the first guy I could think of to fit the criteria).
Later in his playing career, he even served as a county detective in concert with the DA’s office during a couple of offseason’s. Expanding upon that, he earned a law degree from Duquesne University after retiring from baseball.
Who is this crusader for truth, justice, and championship-caliber baseball?