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Big League Stew

Meet Tom Wright, the 54-year-old knuckleballer who thinks he can be a major leaguer

Big League Stew

Tom Wright is 54 years old and says he can hit a baseball 500 feet and deadlift 500 pounds. He also throws a knuckleball and has his sights set on playing for a major league team. It's a story that could be equal parts Jamie Moyer, R.A. Dickey and "The Rookie" — or all parts delusion.

Wright was on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" morning show as part of a campaign to make the big leagues. He played catch with a reporter, told his story and said a couple teams have talked to him, including the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Fox News reporter seemed impressed, so ... sign him up!

Wright — who played two games in 1989 for the Single-A Miami Miracle — told Fox News:

“There’s no reason why I can’t throw the knuckleball,” Wright said. “It’s a technical pitch. I’m 50 to 60 miles per hour. My fast ball is still in the 80s. You know, I have a good slider, you know there’s no reason why I can’t pitch.”

A YouTube highlight video, released in 2012, makes him seem like a less sleazy version of Uncle Rico from "Napoleon Dynamite." In the video, Wright says he was once invited to New York Yankees spring training and played in the Mexican professional leagues for three years (was Jake Taylor his catcher?)

His video is kinda great, in that way cheesy YouTube videos are great. There's a training montage set to — big surprise! — "Centerfield" by John Fogerty and a segment where Wright gets interviewed by a kid who looks like he's on his lunch break from Office Depot.

You keep waiting for Sasha Baron Cohen or Will Ferrell to jump out and say the whole thing's a gag. Alas, they don't. But Wright does seems, if nothing else, earnest.

Baseball has reached the point where an ex-minor leaguer gets a shot because he won a reality show. Dickey re-invented himself as a knuckler and has become baseball royalty. Moyer won a game just last season at age 49.

Does any of that mean Wright has a shot? No, probably not. Unless the beat-up Yankees get really desperate. You can plainly see Wright hit off a tee without injuring himself. That's gotta count for something.

Spring training is here. Stretch out with us.
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