MLB Players Who Hunt
By Martin Hobe, Petersen's Hunting
Baseball fans across the country flocked to the ballpark to enjoy Major League Baseball’s opening weekend this year. America’s most storied sport was at full throat over the Easter break and all eyes were on the stars of our National Pastime. Is this the year the Cubs finally win it all? Is Albert Pujols going to lead the Angels to a World Series? Will the Miami Marlins implode under Ozzie Guillen?
These questions are about as important to baseball fans as the rut is to our beloved whitetail junkies. So, we did some research to find out which MLB players share our passion. Here are some famous ballers both past and present that trade their pin stripes for camo the first chance they get. Maybe, just maybe, this will help all you hardcore killers connect with the stat-loving baseball geek in your life.
The Babe, the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat and all the other names used to identify No. 3 were all attributed to the way he killed the baseball. But Ruth killed more than that. In fact, he has been photographed with trophy <a href="http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/10760" target="_hplink">wildfowl, deer, bear and moose</a>. Babe was a renowned pitcher before he was a slugger, so one could only dream of his accuracy with a rifle.
Gehrig was an avid duck hunter, and went hunting with teammate Babe Ruth frequently. He was photographed <a href="http://www.skyauction.com/anyoffer/80393" target="_hplink">hunting with the Bambino</a> after the 1927 World Series. I'm sure it was quite the celebration.
The California native loved to hunt exotics. "The Kid" hunted <a href="http://darrengarnick.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/slaughtered/" target="_hplink">cape buffalo, kudu and other African game</a>. Legend has it, he always got his trophy on the first shot.
The Texas Rangers icon has stuck to the state that made him famous in baseball. Nowadays he bides his time hunting Texas whitetails. And he takes them down <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12745349" target="_hplink">faster than Robin Ventura</a>.
The Goose used to fire fastballs at his opponents. Now in his retirement, Gossage fires at elk in his free time. No <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=3977861" target="_hplink">pine tar</a> needed to pull the trigger.
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson spends his free time at <a href="http://www.buckfallsranch.com/Kirk.html" target="_hplink">Buckfalls Ranch</a> in Michigan, a ranch he co-owns with Jake Peavy and David Wells.
"Boomer" is best known for his perfect game against the Minnesota Twins, but he is now the part owner of <a href="http://www.buckfallsranch.com/david.html" target="_hplink">Buck Falls Ranch</a> in Michigan. The retired fastballer also loves hunting dangerous game in Africa.
The White Sox starter is the third <a href="http://www.buckfallsranch.com/jake.html" target="_hplink">co-owner of Buck Falls Ranch</a>. He was born in Mobile, Ala., and has been hunting all his life.
Biggio has a reputation as one of the most versatile players the league has seen. But when it comes to hunting, he sticks to deer and deer alone. He has <a href="http://www.awesomeantlers.com/member-galleries/p11592-craig-biggio-family-deer-hunt-.html" target="_hplink">made it a family affair</a>, taking the whole Biggio clan with him.
Drew is a Florida native, and has hunted deer all over the country, as well as a few gators. Drew reportedly has <a href="http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/22/j-d-drew-alligator-hunting-expertcrazy-person/" target="_hplink">attempted to take down gators</a> armed with only a knife and his blatant insanity.
The Braves captain is another <a href="http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-braves/chipper-jones-in-hunting-988276.html" target="_hplink">Texas deer hunter</a> starring in <a href="http://www.majorleaguebowhunter.com/" target="_hplink">Major League Bowhunter</a> on the Sportsman Channel. He's got a different and more imposing version of eye black for hunting.
LaRoche is a <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2011/01/adam_laroche_is_a_buck_command.html" target="_hplink">buck commander</a>. In fact, the Nationals first baseman -- who can be seen on many of the same outdoor TV shows as Chipper -- has a duck hunting tattoo on his left arm.
The Red Sox lefty <a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2010/03/lester_opens_up.html" target="_hplink">hunts turkey, ducks and deer</a> in the offseason at his home in Georgia. The PH staff has spent some time in the field with him, and he's as badass in person as he is on the mound.
Originally from Mississippi, Oswalt is an <a href="http://articles.philly.com/2010-08-01/sports/24969583_1_holmes-community-college-timber-business-weir" target="_hplink">avid deer hunter</a>. The three-time All-Star has taken to the Pennsylvania outdoors, but still owns a ranch back home to hunt whitetail.
Upton is known for his quickness between the bags, stealing about 40 bases a season consistently. But when bench coach Davey Jones asked Upton to <a href="http://http//www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/tampa-bay-rays-bj-upton-going-on-first-hunting-expedition-experienced/1176854" target="_hplink">attend a hog</a> hunt, he was caught off-stride. Nevertheless, Upton grabbed a bow and climbed into a treestand to kill some pigs.
Also a <a href="http://www.herraduraranch.com/" target="_hplink">hunting ranch owner</a>, Beckett owns and operates Herradura Ranch in Southern Texas. The ranch offers whitetail, turkey, upland birds, coyote and axis deer.
The central Illinois native is no stranger to deer hunting. Thome once told Sports Illustrated, "<a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1110649/index.htm" target="_hplink">Bowhunting is like hitting</a>. There are successes and frustration," adding that he also owns a hunting lodge near Peoria, Ill. -- not far from our offices (hint hint, Mr. Thome).