Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts is one of the best players in baseball. Before he was winning awards and crushing homers, the younger Betts idolized two titans of the American League East: Manny Ramirez and Derek Jeter.
Betts discussed emulating the two legends in an appearance on the Talkin’ Shop podcast with Coach Ballgame and Coach Chop.
“Looking at how he [Jeter} played. [How he] played shortstop. My favorite hitter at the time was Manny [Ramirez]. I would try to hit like Manny and it would not end up looking anything like Manny. Just the mental of ‘I look like Manny’ – it would help me hit.”
Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 after an illustrious 20-year career. Manny has the stats to be in the Hall of Fame, but his PED past presents a considerable roadblock in his path to Cooperstown.
Regardless, both Jeter and Manny were prodigious players in their own right. Betts, like his two baseball heroes, has performed at a high level in the playoffs. Mookie’s home run in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series sealed the Dodgers first championship in 32 years.
Betts’s First Love
Oddly enough, baseball wasn’t even Betts’s favorite sport growing up. Early on, it was all basketball for Betts.
Well before Betts ever stepped foot in Los Angeles, the one and only Kobe Bryant was an athlete Mookie greatly admired. In addition to Kobe, guards Eric Snow and Allen Iverson were also big influences for Betts.
In his own words, Betts admitted that his on the field style is a blend of different players from different sports.
“You may emulate four or five different guys and bring those four or five different styles into one play. That’s what I have always tried to do.”
However he does it, Mookie is a rare breed with a style all his own.