The K Zone
July 22nd, 2018
by Maddie Marriott
On any given night, centerfield for the Phillies is occupied by the freakishly athletic, always entertaining Odúbel Herrera. The 26 year-old Venezuelan fireball has certainly made his mark in Philadelphia since making his debut with the Phillies on April 6, 2015. Nicknamed “El Torito,” meaning “The Little Bull,” Herrera lives up to the name by playing both offense and defense with passion. Defensively, Herrera is known to rob a home run or two, in style, of course. He plays with flare, which usually means giving a little extra jump when pulling in a tough fly ball, just to keep us on our toes. His most memorable snag of the season has to be from April 28th against the Braves when he quite literally reached into the bushes of the Citizens Bank Park outfield to pull in a Freddy Freeman home run.
For all his defensive skill, his offensive performance has been nothing to overlook. With his obvious speed on the base paths and notable power at the plate, it’s no surprise that Herrera has racked up over fifty home runs and two hundred RBIs in less than two thousand at-bats. If it’s streaks that impress you, prepare to be amazed. Herrera reached base in 45 straight games this season, which is the fourth longest streak in Phillies history, behind some names you might have heard before: Mike Schmidt leads the pack with 56 during the 1981 – 1982 season, followed by Bobby Abreu with 52 in 2000 – 2001, and Chuck Klein with 44 in the 1940s. With this streak, he surpassed some other memorable names, like Richie Ashburn, Pete Rose, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley. He homered in five straight games in June, and has already passed his previous home run record and is set to pass his previous RBI record.
Aside from his athletic feats, there’s just something about Herrera that makes him fun to watch. First, let’s talk about his hair. Anyone who has seen Odúbel Herrera can probably agree that his most notable physical feature is his recently dyed dreadlocks. Only a few people could pull of the unique bronze color, but Herrera is certainly has the confidence to do it. “They love my hair,” he claimed in a quirky post-game interview with Gregg Murphy, “They call me Lion King.” When you watch Odúbel play baseball, you know he loves the game as well as his teammates and fans. Whether it’s flashing his signature bull horns to the dugout from second base or being caught with a goofy grin in the outfield, Herrera’s attitude toward the game reminds us why we watch baseball in Philadelphia in the first place; to work hard and compete, but have fun while doing it. I can’t speak for all Phillies Phans, but I certainly hope El Torito flashes his bull horns in Philly for years to come.
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