Jackie Robinson. Shoeless Joe Jackson. Barry Bonds. Pete Rose. Babe Ruth. That midget who pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns in 1951.
These are just a few of the players who changed the face of baseball. Some changed the game for good, some for bad, but in one way or another, all left a large footprint on our national past-time. All except for the midget, of course.
None however, will change the way that the game is played so much as one man, a person whose identity has been known only to the baseball elite, a secret society known only as The Brotherhood of the Black Glove, which consists of a tiny collection of owners, general managers and the Vatican, sworn to conceal the existence of this individual under penalty of death.
After hours of tedious research, clandestine back-alley meetings with shadowy individuals, and at no small risk to my own life, I was unable to uncover the identity of this man, whose achievements in baseball will someday dwarf those of all of the other names of players listed above. (Except, again, for the midget, who could out-dwarf anybody.)
That man, the one destined to change Baseball As We Now Know It is none other than Rubi Koko.
And he plays for the Royals.
Who, or what, is Rubi Koko?
Despite what you might be inclined to think, Rubi Koko is neither a precious gemstone nor a hot beverage.
none of the above
Instead, he is a 21-year old ballplayer that currently is a part of the Burlington Royals.
Actually, that is not entirely accurate. Koko is not a part of the Burlington Royals, he IS the Burlington Royals. Check out the Roster:
Now that may be a little hard to read, (original is here) but you may have noticed that Rubi Koko is the only person listed on the roster.
You might ask, why is that? Is he under quarantine? Is it some sort of detention center for for'ners? Is Rubi Koko the loneliest player in the minor leagues? The answer may shock you.
Rubi Koko is the entire team.
That's right: in addition to pitching, Rubi Koko plays every position for the Burlington Royals.
I'm sure you've heard of a five-tool player. Well, Rubi's the first ten-tool player, meaning that in addition to the other five tools, he can pitch, manage, drive the team bus, vend nachos in between innings, and play the organ.
And I have to tell you: you've never really lived until you've seen a 5-4-3 doubleplay completed all by the same person. But that's Rubi Koko for you: he is a one man baseball machine, and he'll be doing it all for the fans out in North Carolina.
But who is Rubi Koko, really? Well, as you might expect from a guy whose existence is being shielded from the public by some of the world's most powerful people, there weren't any photographs of him available on the internet. I did however, find an artist's rendition of him, here:
I'm guessing he's the one with the beard
One thing I did find out is that he's from Curacao, which means he would join Andruw Jones and Randall Simon as the lone representatives from that island nation in the majors.
That also means that if Koko ever makes it to the bigs, there's a 50/50 chance one of these guys will be in a whole lot of trouble:
My money's on number 4. Rubi hates the Polish
Despite his talent, and the fact that he has the coolest name outside of Rowdy Hardy, the future is still uncertain for Rubi Koko.
Will the player's association refuse to allow a single player to play every position, as it would likely eliminate a lot of jobs?
Will the Royals brass have the $1 billion available that will likely be needed to keep Koko through arbitration?
Or will Rubi Koko give up baseball to focus on crimefighting and saving us from asteroids?
I don't know the answer.
But I can't wait to find out.