Could baseball’s fastest man challenge Usain Bolt?

August 22, 2008 by Tony Baldwin  
Filed under Baseball

New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes running the bases
Is New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes the fastest player in Major League Baseball?
Photo: Newscom

Baseball speed is usually measured in the 60-yard dash and the sprint from home to first. However, some players are called “fast” for stealing bases, covering ground in the field and having great base running ability. But, who’s the fastest? Did you ever wonder if any of the current MLB players would challenge Usain Bolt in a race? Well, it’s time for the 2008 MLB Track Olympics. Here are 16 guys that could give him a run for his money.

If Bud Selig decided to hold a MLB’s Fastest Man competition, there would be several players that would come to mind: Ichiro, Willy Taveras, Jose Reyes, etc… However, what if you lined them up on a track. No baseball uniforms and no batting helmets or gloves. Which speedy baseball player would come out on top?

My ideal 100-meter lineup would be comprised of two heats. Here are the competitors for heat number one:
Lane 1 - Joey Gathright, OF, Kansas City Royals
Lane 2 - Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Seattle Mariners
Lane 3 - Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Lane 4 - Willy Taveras, OF, Colorado Rockies
Lane 5 - Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
Lane 6 - Chone Figgins, 3B, Los Angeles Angels
Lane 7 - Carlos Gomez, OF, Minnesota Twins
Lane 8 - Juan Pierre, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Now that would be a fast, fast race. I think Figgins, Reyes or Gathright would out-run the others and cruise to victory. Add Pierre as the fourth place finisher and that’s my top four moving on to the finals.

Here is the lineup for heat number two:
Lane 1 - Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Lane 2 - Michael Bourn, OF, Houston Astros
Lane 3 - Curtis Granderson, OF, Detroit Tigers
Lane 4 - Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Boston Red Sox
Lane 5 - B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Lane 6 - Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles
Lane 7 - Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
Lane 8 - Fred Lewis, OF, San Francisco Giants

Not many people understand just how fast Michael Bourn and Fred Lewis are. They show up in this race and finish first and second with Brian Roberts and Jimmy Rollins also advancing.

For the finals, here’s a loaded lineup:
Lane 1 - Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Lane 2 - Juan Pierre, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Lane 3 - Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles
Lane 4 - Joey Gathright, OF, Kansas City Royals
Lane 5 - Michael Bourn, OF, Houston Astros
Lane 6 - Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
Lane 7 - Fred Lewis, OF, San Francisco Giants
Lane 8 - Chone Figgins, 3B, Los Angeles Angels

Before we analyze this race, I think this would be a heat that would rival Bolt’s competition at the Olympics. This is a lineup of world-class speed. Gathright and Bourn both have that speed that is so amazing when you watch them play the outfield, you understand why they are on the field. Roberts and Lewis are two guys that are under the radar with their speed, but both could challenge this field in a race. Everyone knows what kind of speed Pierre, Figgins, Reyes and Rollins bring to the table. It’s long been discussed. However, the winner of the ‘08 MLB Fastest Man competition has to go to Gathright, with Bourn and Figgins claiming second and third, respectively.

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Comments

7 Responses to “Could baseball’s fastest man challenge Usain Bolt?”
  1. paul says:

    what a total load of rubbish.

  2. Adam says:

    Baseball players Vs Professional track 100m sprinters….No its not happening

  3. Ryan says:

    Granderson is not all that fast… nook logan is faster
    Granderson would be a good 200m runner

  4. Tony Baldwin says:

    I agree, Ryan. However, Logan isn’t a current player. Hasn’t been since being named in the Mitchell Report. He is, however, in the minors with the Dodgers now. I remember watching him with the Tigers - he can flat out fly!

  5. james says:

    I think Pierre would take it followed close by Reyes.

  6. Biplob Kishore Deb says:

    That is a very interesting article.

    No doubt, it would be interesting to see Usaine Bolt lining up for the final sprint. It is true that Bolt might be more confident of winning the gold, but a silver and bronze for Gathright and Bourn would not be less important for the major league players.

  7. matt says:

    i think they should have compititions for speed home run distance accuracy fastest pitch durring the all star break like they do at pro bowl for football

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