If you were a kid in the early 2000s, there’s almost no way you haven’t heard of Backyard Baseball, a part of the iconic Backyard Sports series from Humongous Entertainment. The game would eventually come out on platforms like the GameBoy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2.
If you’re a true OG, you played that sh*t huddled around a bulky monitor that used a Windows operating system with three or four of your best friends looking over your shoulder. Sure, your disc probably got scratched once or twice, forcing you to buy an at-home disc repair kit or just a new copy of the game, but it was all worth it.
For us kids whose parents let us play computer games in the 2000s, Backyard Baseball was an after-school staple that gave us something to look forward to all through math class.
Everyone had their favorite Backyard Baseball character, even if they weren’t the most effective. The Backyard Sports lineups have always been thoroughly diverse, making these games ahead of their time in terms of inclusiveness and giving every kid a character that they could resonate with.
Certain characters had their unique strengths, certain characters were objectively great, and others couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. In a way, this game was fairly realistic in terms of bestowing certain kids with God-given gifts and others… not so much.
Now, a full 14 years after the original release of Backyard Baseball, let’s take a look back at this amazing game to determine who the most effective players in the game were. And, if you’ve ever played the game, you know who number one on the list is. He’s the do-it-all player, the glue that holds any team together, the G.O.A.T. of every Backyard Sports game. You know the name.
There’s no debate here. Pablo Sanchez is unequivocally the best player in Backyard Baseball. Anyone who dares debate this fact is no longer to be taken seriously on any of their opinions for the rest of their natural lives. What was Pablo Sanchez good at? A better question is: what wasn’t he good at?
Pablo was the best all-around player in the game by a longshot. He had amazing power for such a small body. And, unlike some of the other sluggers in the game, he was also an extremely skilled fielder. Not to mention, he had one of the best walk-up songs in the game. It was so good, in fact, that Minnesota Twins prospect Daniel Palka used it as his own walk-up song in a game. That’s a classy move, Dan.
Now, Achmed Khan is not one of the best fielders out there by any standard but, let’s be honest, Backyard Baseball is all about hitting dingers. The fact that Achmed is able to hit a homerun literally any time he gets up to bat makes him one of the most valuable assets in the game beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The reason that pitchers have nightmares about Achmed Khan is that he’s got the power to blast it over the fence on any pitch, but he’s also extremely difficult to strike out. Achmed is also fast enough to get on base consistently, making him one of the most dangerous players in the game when he’s in the batter’s box.
Do not put Pete Wheeler on the mound if you can avoid it. It’s not going to go well, trust me. However, if you’re looking for a player to stick in the front of your lineup who’s nearly guaranteed to get on base, you either choose Pete Wheeler or you’re a big dummy. All you need to know about Pete is his last name. The kid’s got wheels and he knows how to use them.
Here’s what you do: pick up Pete Wheeler for your team, stick him in the front of your lineup, bunt with him every time, and you’ll end up getting on base with incredible consistency. Pete also has some pretty impressive hitting stats and he’s also solid in the field. You can’t go wrong when you’re bringing the heat with Pete.
An absolute weapon in the batter’s box, Kiesha Phillips is not to be taken lightly despite her super-cute afro puffs and warm smile. Similar to Achmed Khan, Kiesha possesses a lethal combination of hitting power and speed, which makes her a virtual guarantee when it comes to base hits.
Yeah, Kiesha Phillips can’t pitch for anything, but put her in the middle of your lineup and she’s going to drive in RBIs until the cows come home. Plus, she’s definitely good for a home run or two every now and then.
While sexist proponents of the “hit-like-a-girl” mindset may choose her brother Tony, I would advise prioritizing Angela Delvecchio first. While her brother Tony is a solid hitter, he doesn’t slug it like his sister Angela.
That in combination with the fact that she’s undoubtedly one of the most useful pitchers in the game makes picking Angela Delvecchio for your squad an easy decision. How many pitchers do you know that can step to the plate and blast homers out of the park?
Unfortunately, Angela seems to get fatigued sometimes and her abilities in the field leave something to be desired. However, the positives in her game are far greater than the negatives, and skipping over Angela for your lineup would be a grave mistake for the aforementioned reasons.
Every team needs an elite pitcher, and Amir Khan is just that. In my opinion, he’s the best pitcher in the game and it may even be worth considering picking him over his brother Achmed. Just kidding; dingers or die! Regardless, Amir is a great asset on the mound and he’ll give you some reassurance even when the best hitters in the game are up to bat.
When it comes to the other facets of the game, Amir can also hold his own. He’s a consistent hitter with above-average speed. Should Amir be your first pick in the draft? Probably not. However, you’d be lucky to get him on your team as a late pick.
There are no stolen bases when Jocinda Smith is around. Stick her in the outfield and watch her gun down baserunners with her absolute laser beam of an arm. Seriously, she’ll toss it on a rope from the outfield wall to home plate with ease.
On top of her runner-thwarting abilities, she’s also an extremely consistent hitter that can be relied upon to make contact every time she gets up to bat. Jocinda’s tall and athletic and she uses those gifts to her advantage. This girl can play some ball.
Kenny Kawaguchi is an inspiration to everyone who’s ever played Backyard Baseball. The fact that he’s in a wheelchair and still one of the most formidable players in the game (as well as pretty much every other game in the Backyard Sports series) is a feat of pure will.
First of all, Kenny is one of the most effective pitchers that you can have on your team. Play Backyard Baseball enough and you’ll surely pitch more than one no-hitters with the kid Kawaguchi. On top of that, he’s also very quick from base to base, so your opponents will have to worry about stealing any time Kenny’s on base.