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May 20, 2011
Playing Baseball in the Land of Superheroes
I just wish Batman could appreciate a base on balls without having to bring RBIs into it.
As a nice, end-of-the-week bit of fun, I was hoping to write something about baseball in the world of comic books. You know, Batman or Spider-Man or even Aquaman playing a nice game of baseball while battling the evils of their respective worlds. Maybe the Joker or the Penguin slipped a bomb in the umpires rack of game balls, or the Green Goblin decided to attack Shea Stadium while Peter was taking Mary Jane to see the Mets, or Aquaman having to fight, um, underwater baseball playing megalomaniacs who... you know what I mean.
That was the plan anyway, until I discovered this excellent write-up of nearly the same topic over at the Comics Alliance. Needless to say, those guys over there are much more knowledgeable about the topic than I ever could be. There's no way, for example, I would ever be able to tell you about the Sportsmaster:
Deciding one day that he'd had enough, Crock decided to pursue a life of crime and after a while he took on the name and identity of Sportsmaster. In his adventures, he used a variety of sports skills and sporting equipment to accomplish his goals and took on any one who tried to stop him. He'd knock the guns out of police officers' hands with well-aimed golf balls and would use javelins or bows and arrows to hit enemies from a distance. Of course, more than once, he used baseballs and baseball bats, the latter of which was especially dangerous to the Green Lantern Alan Scott. Given that Scott's ring didn't directly affect wooden objects and had trouble dealing with plant matter, the hero could fly and walk through Wally, but a baseball bat to the back of the head affected him like any other regular guy.
Sportsmaster may now be my favorite comic book villain. I must find more comics featuring this brilliant character.
The rest of the piece features some tales of Batman, the Punisher, the Hulk (which must have been published in 2001!), and even Doctor Who(!), though that may be a bit of a stretch. Go read the piece and let me know what stories I should be looking for to expand this list. There have got to be hundreds of great examples.
And if you really enjoy the cross-over of baseball and comic books, I invite you to take a look at this, shall we say, interesting comic book that is actually from 2001 called "Texas Rangers - in Dangerland!". The illustrations of Ivan Rodriguez, Ken Caminiti, Rafael Palmiero, and Alex Rodriguez in their super-hero alter-egos are just classic. Here's a sample:
How can you not love that?