LeBron James in Last: Sports Figures Who Beat the King back to Ohio

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Jul 11, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Nick Swisher (33) celebrates after hitting a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Swisher

Following a very successful four-year period with the Yankees that included a World Series victory and an All-Star Game appearance, Nick Swisher came home to the tune of $56 million (let that sink in for a moment…) to play first base/outfield/DH for the Indians.  Swisher has yet to sniff his production numbers from his days with New York and Oakland (an average of 25 homers, 87 RBIs, and an .850 OPS with the Yanks) with only 8 HR and an OPS of .622 so far this year, not to mention some frequent absences due to injury.

However, his fun-loving, loose personality makes him a great clubhouse guy on a team that has melded together through positive vibes under the guidance of Terry Francona, as displayed by their subtle “pants-up” homage to their teammate Justin Masterson following his abrupt trade to St. Louis.

Swish is a Columbus native by birth, but following his parent’s divorce at a young age, he was raised mostly by his grandparents in Parkersburg, West Virginia through his teenage years.  Following a successful high school career in both football and baseball, OSU was one of two schools to offer Nick, and he signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the Buckeyes.

Making an immediate impact in an average Ohio State program, Swisher would be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2000 after a 10 HR/48 RBI season in which he hit .299.  The momentum would continue through 2002 as he was voted to the All-Big Ten team as both a first baseman and outfielder, this time combining for 25 dingers and over a hundred RBIs in two seasons behind an average as high as .348 as a junior.  The Oakland A’s would draft Swisher before his senior season in the Scarlett and Gray.

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Like any alumni from THE Ohio State University, Swish doesn’t hide his school pride now that he’s back near his college roots.  Ohio State dedicated their all-turf field to Swish after a reported generous $500,000 donation to the facility, and the Indians even targeted his Buckeye soft-spot in their recruiting pitch back in 2013, creating a short highlight video with messages from Thad Matta, Urban Meyer, and head baseball coach Greg Beals.  The Tribe utility man has also shown his college pride numerous times on the field this season, signaling the O-H-I-O chant to the home crowd following his homers at Progressive Field.