ESPN’s annual Body Issue is here and while every single athlete featured is a beautiful example of the athletic form — strong and powerful — there’s one person, in particular, that is making us go 😮 and that’s Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Báez.
In his interview with ESPN, the 24-year-old pelotero talked about his family, his Puerto Rican roots, and his inspiration.
“I’m strong as well because I’ve seen all the things my sister, Noely, has gone through. [Noely Baez suffered from spina bifida and died in 2015 at age 21.] But for me, my sister was never a crippled person,” Báez said. “The only thing she didn’t do throughout her life was walk. She is my biggest inspiration. She loved going to the ballpark; she never missed a game. She cheered a lot. We had a lot of fun together. I still cry for her. Whenever I go to Puerto Rico, I go to her grave and I sit there and let it all out. Sometimes I go on my own. I don’t tell anyone. I go there, sit down and talk to her. I laugh out loud remembering everything I have gone through with her. I told her about the World Series.”
In this behind-the-scenes clip, Báez reveals the origins of his tattoos (and how his mom hated them at first) and explains what it’s like being a World Series winner.
ESPN’s ninth edition of the Body Issue featured athletes from the worlds of baseball, football, skiing, rugby, hockey, basketball, figure skating, track and field, tennis, MMA and adaptive sports. Some of those include UFC’s Michell Waterson, tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki, and figure skater Ashley Wagner.
Previous Latino athletes featured in past editions include Brazilian pro skater Letícia Bufoni (2015), Seattle Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz (2009), and former professional boxer Sergio Martínez of Argentina (2011).