Fall begins approaching, and the nights become cooler, sending imaginations into a frenzy. Thoughts and dreams start to run wild as hunting seasons approach. Postseason baseball is a secondary thought that always creeps into my mind with dropping temps. Hunting season and baseball season. Does it get any better than that? But what's the correlation between hunting and baseball? Why would I be mentioning these great American pastimes in the same breath? Sure, people highly anticipate the opening day of both every year. But there's more! Like you and me, some baseball players love to hunt once that cool weather starts. Unlike many other professional sports, the baseball season ends, and the offseason begins just in time to chase a different type of game in the primetime months.
Here are 10 Major League Baseball players, both former and current, who love to hunt! Some you may already know to be hunters, while others might surprise you. One thing is sure, though: no matter what teams these guys play for, the simple fact they enjoy the outdoors as much as I do makes me appreciate them.
No surprise here! Suppose you follow outdoor television or follow certain outdoor companies on social media. In that case, there's a good chance you've come across Chipper Jones donning camouflage instead of that legendary Atlanta Braves No. 10 jersey.
Jones is one of the hosts of Major League Bowhunter these days, chasing whitetail deer all over the country. After a stellar career that led him to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the 8-time All-Star spends much of his free time in the woods. After 15 years of handling third base for the Braves and adding records, All-Star appearances, and even an MVP award to his resume, the greatest switch hitter of all time now prefers a treestand. He's usually down south, as Chipper's favorite place to hunt is in the brush country of Texas.
Kyle Schwarber is a legendary name in Chicago after leading the Cubs to their first World Series win in 108 years in 2016. Schwarber played catcher for the Indiana Hoosiers in college, so I watched him play when they visited my alma mater for a weekend series.
I began to follow him from that day on. Back then, he was referred to as a future star, expected to make it to the big leagues. And what do you know, the scouts were right. He's been mashing long balls with the Cubs, Nationals, and Phillies for over a decade. I eventually learned that he also loved hunting and spent much of his time in the woods in the offseason. It's hard not to like him even if he did wear that dreaded Cubs jersey!
Schwarber still makes it a focus to hunt in the offseason and appeared on a "Fear No Evil" episode on the Outdoor Channel.
The big and burly left-handed hurler for the Arizona Diamondbacks has ice in his veins, pitching in some of the biggest baseball games a player could ever imagine. His postseason pitching stats are mind-boggling and put him up with the all-time best. And he has two World Series titles under his belt and a World Series MVP to round out his resume.
He is really, really good at throwing a baseball. We all know that. But what you might not know about is his outdoor and country roots. Bumgarner keeps to himself, and you won't find him in the media very often. But, from the little he has shown, it's easy to tell where his heart is. Carharrt even swept him up as an ambassador, and you might see some other hunting companies attempt to do the same. But then again, MadBum likes to keep to himself, so we'll see.
Adam Wainwright, like Bumgarner, has pitched in some massive postseason games. Helping the St.Louis Cardinals capture a few World Series titles in his tenure, "Waino" has made a name for himself. The dude is 41 years old and still going. That's more than 150 wins, three All-Star appearances, two Gold Glove Awards, and over 2,000 strikeouts (only behind the great Bob Gibson for the all-time Cardinals record).
For a guy with that kind of longevity, it's no surprise he keeps himself busy in the offseason. There's a good chance you can find him in the woods when he isn't pitching. When Wainwright found himself on the disabled list and missing baseball games because of an elbow injury, he wisely used that time to get a few hunts in. He's an avid deer hunter with some monster bucks to show for it. Wainwright has even been on outdoor television while hunting with the Drury clan, who are die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fans.
How can you not hunt with a name like that? I mean, he's destined to like the woods. Hunter Strickland has been throwing heaters in the majors for a few years since he assumed the closer role with the Giants in 2018. He was having a great year until an injury abruptly shortened it. He's bounced around with at least six different teams since then.
You might best know Strickland for his boxing match on the mound with MLB superstar Bryce Harper. What you might not know is that not only does he sling pitches and fists, but he also likes to sling arrows and bullets.
Strickland is an avid hunter and the co-founder and CEO of a waterfowl hunting clothing company called Aves Hunting. This pitching journeyman also wandered in the outdoors a lot growing up, and that passion hasn't diminished. You'll catch him in the marshes hunting ducks when he's not in the weight room or on the mound.
Another former Major League Baseball player who's deeply intertwined with the outdoor industry. LaRoche balanced hunting, family, and baseball for many years as a mainstay on the Buck Commander series.
After a productive career as an everyday first baseman with multiple clubs, the hard-swinging lefty has a lot more time to focus on deer hunting now that he's retired. His passion and big red beard are hard to miss in some of the content they produce. LaRoche has harvested many giant whitetails on film, and it's safe to say he's just as talented a hunter as a baseball player.
When you think of big dudes and long home runs, Hall of Famer Jim Thome's name certainly comes to mind. With 612 career home runs, Thome was no stranger to hitting the long ball. The left-handed slugger finds himself in the eighth spot on the all-time home run list.
While you used to find him on the infield of Major League games, you now can find him outdoors. Thome has always had a rich passion for the outdoors and hunting. He went toe-to-toe with an absolute monster of a whitetail on Drury Outdoors as he harvested a 193-inch stud of a buck on film with a bow! It was probably one of the most beautiful typical bucks you'll ever see. How fitting: a Hall of Fame player to take a Hall of Fame buck.
This might be the biggest shock of all on this list. The Los Angeles Angels generational talent Mike Trout put together one of the most impressive starts to a career in the rich history of baseball. He's now one of the greatest to play the game, passing legends daily in statistical categories, and is only 31 years old. Let that statement sink in for a minute. By the end of his career, health permitting, Trout may go down as the best who's ever done it. (I can't say the same about his Angels teams, who haven't sniffed the postseason while Trout's been etching his own Cooperstown plaque. Alas.)
But Trout is a very to-himself superstar. You don't see much about him in the media outside of what he does on the baseball field. Unless you go to Subway a lot. But the New Jersey boy loves to hunt and has since he was a 10-year-old kid. He's hunted everything in New Jersey, including deer, duck, rabbit, and pheasant. Now he likes to spend most of his hunting time in Missouri and Iowa. There have even been reports that Trout has been on a hunting trip with NFL quarterback Carson Wentz. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that hunt. Just imagine the conversations about never leading your teams to championships between kills.
When you thought you couldn't love Mike Trout anymore, you find out he's an avid hunter. Is this real life?
Bo knows! Bo knows just how excellent hunting is and is proud of it. One of the most prolific and gifted athletes of all time, Jackson dominated baseball and football and is the only player to be an all-star in both professional leagues. With some of the most impressive highlights, you'll lay eyes on, Jackson used to roam the outfield with great agility back in the day.
Nowadays, the only fields Bo wanders are the fields of nature as he chases wild game. Beyond hunting, Bo loves the sport of archery. Bo built a man cave where he spends countless hours putting together arrows and working on his trade. He once shot apples out of his teammates' hands! As a warmup routine before games! This guy! The famous slogan from his prime also applies to his love of bowhunting. Bo knows bowhunting!
Last is the clutch left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Jon Lester was still an effective starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs well into an impressive 15-year career. Lester made five all-star teams, won three World Series titles, earned the 2016 National League Championship Series MVP, and even recorded a no-hitter in 2008.
The baseball game was good to Lester, who's an absolute warrior when he steps onto the field and never has to buy a beer in Boston or Chicago again. Lester takes that mentality into all he does, and one of his biggest hobbies is hunting. Lester has hinted at the similarities between his pitching and his approach to shooting a bow. Both activities take a ton of mental focus, practice, and preparation if you want to succeed consistently.
Hunting is a huge part of Lester's life, and he even made it a point of importance to have an antlered chandelier in the living room of his home.
Be sure to look around for more hunters in the MLB. You wouldn't believe how many MLB players you've watched all your life spend their quality free time chasing deer, ducks, turkeys, and more, just like us. Ted Williams, Craig Biggio, David Wells, Goose Gossage, J.D. Drew, and Jake Peavy are all hunters, too, to name a few. Who can resist a good day in the woods?