Spring Training

Major League Baseball’s long tradition of warming up for the season with oddball adventures

Scott Yorko

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The Chicago White Sox embark on a world tour to promote the game, playing in front of Egyptian bedouin and posing for pictures atop the Sphinx.

Dominican pitcher Juan Marichal suffers a cramp and nearly drowns while spearfishing in the Caribbean.

During a hunting trip just before his first full major league season, future Hall of Fame pitcher Catfish Hunter shoots off his right pinkie toe.

First baseman Walt Dropo, during a trip to Peking to buy fireworks for his brother’s pyrotechnics company, smacks a ball over the Great Wall of China.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito surfs a remote wave in Tavarua, Fiji—a wave Surfer magazine credits Rob Machado with discovering the following year.

Venezuelan infielder Omar Vizquel, one of MLB’s oldest active player, takes a one-day crash course in bullfighting.

During a fishing trip in Brazil, Phillies pitcher Roy “Doc” Halladay helps save a native Amazonian after an anaconda bites him on the backside and rips the motor off his boat.

In January, New York Mets pitcher R. A. Dickey climbs Mount Kilimanjaro, despite his club’s threat to void his $4.3 million contract if he’s injured. Says Dickey, “I would never tell someone to summit Everest in the off-season. But Kilimanjaro? That’s a different story.”