Seven things we'll always remember about Jonny Gomes now that he's retired
On Wednesday, it was reported that Jonny Gomes, baseballer, beard grower and professional teammate was hanging 'em up. While he likely won't be inducted into the Hall of Fame (Even if his tWAR -- teammate WAR -- is off the charts), we still thought it was important to say goodbye to the man, the myth, the legend, that is Jonny Gomes.
Without further adieu, here are seven of the most wonderful things about Jonny Gomes that we'll never forget:
1. The mere fact that he played at all
In all likelihood, Jonny Gomes should never have reached the Majors. Growing up, his family lived paycheck to paycheck, even going in and out of homeless shelters.
When he was 16 years old, he was a passenger of a car wreck that killed his friend, Adam Westcott. It was a tragedy that changed Gomes' life and he got a tattoo honoring his friend on his arm.
He was an 18th-round draft pick, and those don't tend to make the Majors very often.
He even came back from a heart attack. When he was 22 years old and despite being in amazing physical condition, Gomes had a clogged artery and nearly died. On Christmas Eve no less.
As he said before the 2003 season, when he would later make his Major League debut:
2. That is not even the craziest story
Somehow, Gomes' youth was even crazier. He was once attacked by a wolf. Yes, a wolf. We'll let Vin Scully explain:
3. Fashion maven
After winning his first World Series with the Red Sox in 2013, Gomes and his teammates got the rare treat of heading to the White House. But just like you have no idea what "dress casual" means on a wedding invite, what does one wear to meet the President?
For Gomes, that's not an issue. You just double down on patriotism.
Nailed it. pic.twitter.com/5a65OUogGo- Mike Napoli (@MikeNapoli25) April 1, 2014
Of course, Gomes can blend in anywhere he goes. Whether that's the White House, or he's on the search for 'gators.
4. Speech writer
If you ever need a toast at a wedding or a speech while running for student council, Gomes is probably the guy to go to. After giving an amazing speech at the Royals' victory parade after his second World Series victory (though he wasn't on their postseason roster, he was considered an important part of the team during their stretch run.) Now and forever, the October mic drop belongs to Gomes:
5. This hair
6. His gracious style of pitching
Even when Gomes was forced to the rubber last season, he remained as gregarious as ever. While he could have sulked and stomped around the mound after serving up a meatball to Chris Young, he instead took on the role of the everyman. He jumped back, shocked, as any would when faced with a blast being launched into the sky. And then he showed his "Mr. Baseball"-like respect with a tip of the cap.
7. The dingers
While the legend of Jonny Gomes and his off-field antics will only grow, with future generations speaking of him the way we do Johnny Appleseed or The Fonz, it's important to remember he could hammer ding dongs with the best of them. Gomes hit 162 career home runs and mashed lefties to the tune of an .855 OPS. He hit four walk-offs in his career, but his biggest was probably his three-run home run in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series, which would prove decisive.
Though Gomes didn't stay long with the Rakuten Golden Eagles before returning to the States to officially hang 'em up, he still hit plenty of long balls in Spring Training and had one beautiful regular season home run. I don't know what I love more -- that Gomes only swings about three-quarters of the way through the ball or the satisfied grunt of the announcer as the ball leaves his bat.
And that "bat flip?" Well, it looks an awful lot like a mic drop on his career, doesn't it?