As I sat down to write this week's Top-5 - I decided to look into my childhood. What was I doing? What did I like? I found that one of the biggest constants from my youth was the 'Backyard Sports' series. I spent hours in the summer, between baseball practice and the pool, playing Backyard Baseball. It was a fun, simple game that had goofy characters and plenty of spinoffs. My go-to game was baseball, but I also played Backyard Football, Basketball and Hockey. They also ended up making both Soccer and Skateboarding (really?).
I'm going straight old school today. My rankings will come from the OG Backyard Baseball game. No pros. Just kids. Now for those who played any Backyard game - there's no question who the best kid in the neighborhood was (we'll get to that later). My Top-5 will mesh talent with the most creative character backgrounds. And let me tell you - some are better than others (looking at you Webber twins). Let's play ball!!
5) Pete Wheeler - 'Wheelie' was the fastest kid in the neighborhood and a must on every team. Just lay the bunt down and he's on first. Two quick steals later and he's on 3rd in a blink. Pete was never known as a high IQ player, but he had a love for the game that was infectious. The only downside was that he zoned out constantly and would occasionally miss a play in the field. No doubt - we've all played with someone like that.
4) Achmed Khan - The 'Axeman' was one of my absolute favorite players in the game. His raw power made him a natural middle of the order guy, and his air guitar home run celebration was one of the best. Khan may also be the first player ever to rock headphones while playing the game. But if rock music is what powers the Axeman's bat - I'm not turning it down.
3) Keisha Phillips - 'Flash' may have been the class clown, but she took the game seriously. Her combination of size, speed and strength made her a dangerous middle of the order bat. She is by far the most athletic girl around and had no troubles competing with the boys. Her joking nature also made her one of the most likeable characters in the neighborhood.
2) Kenny Kawaguchi - Don't let the wheelchair fool you, Kenny was the most dominant pitcher in the game. Give the 'K-Man' some juice and he'll strike out every batter that crosses him. As one of the coolest kids in the neighborhood, Kenny was liked by everyone (except maybe by his sister Vicki). He may have been handicapped, but it didn't stop him from trying his hardest on the field.
1) Pablo Sanchez - The undisputed GOAT of the game. The unanimous first overall pick was the anchor of any championship team. The 'Secret Weapon' was quiet in nature and let his play do the talking. Oh and when he did speak - it was in Spanish. Pablo may not have started the crop top trend, but he made it cool. And Ken Griffey Jr. may be iconic for wearing his hat backwards, but Pablo made it legendary.
That's my Backyard Top-5. Comment below and let's see your lineup!