Tale of My Tattoos: Art of Pitching
Most people look at Nationals setup man Jon Rauch and think, There goes the tallest player in the major leagues. Tattoo artists look at his 6'11" frame and think, Now there's a canvas I could work with. The 28-year-old righthander has been happy to oblige them. Some of Rauch's body art is purely decorative (witness the licks of flame on his upper right arm), but he's also gotten inked to honor the big moments in his life. Of course, when you're 6'11", every moment is a big one.
"I've got Olympic rings on my left ankle, from being part of the gold medal team in Sydney," says Rauch, who gave up one run and struck out 21 in 11 innings during the 2000 Games. "Had to commemorate that." It's one of many special moments Rauch carries on him. "The two that mean the most to me: I have Roman numerals starting at my neck and going all the way down my spine that commemorate my wedding day -- Sept. 7, 2001," he says of his marriage to the former Erica Jurko. (The Chinese symbols are an homage to himself: They mean "tall fire.") "Then I had a little girl on Dec. 6, Aubree Elizabeth. I've got her footprints and her name and birthday on my right calf. I took the piece of paper with the footprints from the hospital to the guy who does my stuff. He did a stencil off that paper."