The Boys Of Summer -- And Beyond
A look at some of the biggest names in baseball who turn to golf when their seasons end
October 12, 2011
One of baseball's all-time great hitters was listed as a 10-handicap in Golf Digest's most recent ranking of the Top 150 Athlete-Golfers. A three-time National League MVP and two-time World Series champ during his time with the Cardinals, he also hosts a charity golf tournament every summer in St. Louis. A move to Southern California, though, thanks to a 10-year, $250-million deal with the Anaheim Angels, shouldn't cause his rounds per year to go down...
The Detroit Tigers' flamethrower tossed a second career no-hitter in 2011, but he can get hot on the golf course as well, as evidenced by a Handicap Index that's been as low as 2.7. Still, it's hard to imagine him being as intimidating when he's wearing a golf shirt as when he's staring down batters and hitting triple digits on the radar gun.
Born with prodigious talent, the Rangers' centerfielder has been nicknamed "The Natural" among other things. But with no public listing of his handicap, it seems golf hasn't come as easy to the 2010 American League MVP. Still, his uncanny power in the batter's box helped his golf game that season as well when he won a new set of clubs from Callawayfor hitting a mammoth 485-foot home run off Roy Oswalt.
With great-hitting catchers, there's always a debate as to whether they should be moved from behind the plate to another position to help prolong their careers. No matter how long he plays baseball, though, Mauer, the 2009 A.L. MVP and a three-time batting champ, will have plenty of time to concentrate on improving his 9-handicap.
An elbow injury forced the starting pitcher to play the role of cheerleader during this year's postseason run by the Cardinals, but he was the bullpen star for St. Louis when it won the 2006 World Series (left). Pitching every fifth day instead of in relief has helped his golf game too, as the runner-up for the 2010 National League Cy Young Award last reported his Handicap Index as 2.5.
The Yankees' captain, who reached the 3,000-hit milestone in 2011, said he likes the game, but needs more time to play when he estimated having a 35-handicap to Golf Digest in 2009. The aging star will get to practice a lot more when he retires, but until then, his main golf focus will remain on his annual celebrity tournament in Tampa, which he's hosted every year since 2004.
The Florida Marlins' ace has had trouble remaining on the field in his brief career, but when he pitches, he's been one of the best in the business. Apparently, undergoing Tommy John surgery hasn't affected his play on the links either, as he was voted his team's best player and has a career-best round of 72.
The switch-hitting first baseman estimated his handicap at a 10 in November 2009. He certainly has the means to improve that through lessons considering the eight-year, $180-million contract he signed with the Yankees earlier that year.
The star third baseman of the Tampa Bay Rays reported his official Handicap Index as a 12.6 in Golf Digest's most recent athlete rankings and he teed it up in the four-day 2011 Bob Hope Classic. Here's a video of him hitting a drive on the rangeusing a similar power stroke to the one that produced a walk-off home run to send his team to the 2011 playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
In 2009, the probable future hall-of-famer for the Braves estimated his handicap as an 11. With retirement imminent, though, there's no reason he shouldn't get that number into the single digits. Provided of course, that the switch hitter in baseball can pick one side to play from on the links.