Pitchers are often some of the quirkiest athletes out there.
This is a well-known, but often under-reported, aspect of baseball. And the York Revolution is deep in this department, whether it be because a pitcher has an impressive mustache or unique personality. On the whiskers side, there's starting pitcher Alain Quijano. The veteran left-hander is growing out an impressive beard this season because he feels it's a good-luck charm. On the personality side, there's closer Rommie Lewis, who has so many interesting takes on topics that he now has his own recurring segment on the pre-game radio show of Revs' play-by-play man Darrell Henry.
Then there's relief pitcher Beau Vaughan, who is a mix of the two. Vaughan is growing out his hair and not shaving this season. This isn't for superstitious reasons, though. Rather, he's aiming to look like a certain hairy TV show character for a Halloween party in October.
"I actually want to go as Opie from Sons of Anarchy," Vaughan said last week. "When I was in high school people said that guy who plays him is my doppelganger. So as soon as I saw that show I'm like 'oh yeah. I gotta do that for Halloween.'"
Then Vaughan lists his previous Halloween costumes, which all happen to be movie characters, such as Ron Burgundy (Anchorman), Big Ern McCracken (Kingpin) and Bill Lumbergh (Office Space).
"I go all out for Halloween," Vaughan said.
Given his quirkiness, it only makes sense Vaughan's first name isn't actually his real name.
"My real name is William Lee Vaughan IV," Vaughan said. "My dad goes by Bill. My mom's got a brother Bill and a cousin Bill. And she's just like 'I'm calling him Beau.' That's how that worked."
Some might question the sanity of Vaughan when they see him in the first few innings of every game walking back-and-forth in the bullpen. There's a perfectly logical explanation, though.
"That's something recent. In the 2011 season I sat out and finished my degree. I lost 60 pounds in five months," Vaughan said. "I had finished the 2010 season and I was 247 pounds. I said 'I can't do this.'"
So now the 6-foot, 4-inch right-hander has become a bit of a health nut and tries to walk a couple miles before a game and one mile during the game.
Reliable reliever: The Arizona native is more than just an interesting personality, though. Serving as York's long-inning reliever in his second season with the Revs this year, Vaughan has a 2.50 ERA in 54 innings of work through Monday.
"I was just running some numbers today for our team and found that Beau is only walking 5 percent of all the batters he's faced," Revs baseball operations manager Toby Crites said. "This is an exceptional rate and really speaks to his strengths as a pitcher in not beating himself and making the hitter beat him instead."
According to Crites, Vaughan's pitching repertoire consists of a fastball that tops out at 88 mph, a changeup that sits around 82-83 mph and a curveball that averages 76 mph.
A third-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2003, Vaughan has a career 4.66 ERA in 41 games at the triple-A level. But he last played affiliated minor league ball four years ago and turned 33 in June. This might lead one to wonder what his goals are with York. Does he still hope to get picked up by a big-league organization? Or possibly earn a fat contract from a foreign league?
"If it happens it happens. I'm not holding my breath," he said. "I'm happy playing here. I have a great time in this clubhouse and on the field."
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.