Pete Incaviglia

That, boys and girls, is how a mullet should look.

Why we like him: It's safe to say that Pete Incaviglia was pretty good at hitting a baseball hard whenever he did, in fact, hit it. At Oklahoma State, Incaviglia, or "Inky," as he became more affectionately known, became one of the greatest power hitters in college baseball history, amassing 100 home runs in 213 games spread over 3 seasons and posting a .915 slugging percentage. He still owns the NCAA records for home runs (48) and RBI (143) in a single season. His propensity for pulverizing power was admired by many clubs heading into the 1985 draft, and it was the Montreal Expos who acquired his services with the 8th overall pick in the first round.

However, on the same day he signed, the Expos traded Inky to the Rangers for two laughably enormous stink-bombs, infielder Jim Anderson and pitcher Bob Sebra, prompting the league to institute the "Pete Incaviglia Rule," stating that a team cannot trade a drafted player until he has been under contract for a full year. I'm pretty sure the 'Spos would have liked to have had that trade nullified on the spot in retrospect. However, almost immediately upon his arrival in Texas in the 1986 season and without ever playing a minor league game, Inky became a fan favorite for his monstrous hacks and the occasional tape-measure long ball. Despite leading the league in strikeouts in two of his first three seasons, he still managed to put together a few decent offensive seasons for a completely undisciplined power hitter.

Perhaps even better than his wild and wicked flails at floaters and fastballs, was his defensive capabilities, which could be described as really not fantastic. In four full years as a legitimate "everyday starting outfielder," he finished in the top three in errors by an outfielder in three of those seasons and led the league in 1986 and 1987. Inky was never the kind of player you could count on as your everyday outfielder, but if you just had to have a player in your dugout who had the same odds of letting a fly ball hit him in the orbital bone as he did of hitting a ball 600 feet during a pinch-hit at-bat, then he was your guy.

Pete Incaviglia is a classic example of a player who should have been better than he turned out to be. There is no doubting his talent as a hitter, as his college stats can attest, but becoming the 15th player in the history of the game to make the leap to the majors at 22 without a single minor league game of experience was probably the single worst thing that could have happened to Inky's career. He never had the opportunity to fine-tune his power to become a better all-around hitter, and it was rather disheartening. His final stats: 12 seasons, 6 teams, .246 with 206 home runs, and out of the game for good at 34. He never batted .300. He never hit more than 30 homers in a season. He never drove in 100 runs. He was never an All Star. If you had told me that in 1987, I never would have believed you. But we loved Inky anyway. And I bet you did too.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pete Incaviglia, Ballplayer.

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