Pretty often, in public and in private, Mike Schur and I discuss the best huggers in baseball. We have very strong feelings about what makes a good hugger based on these qualifications:
Capacity for joy
By these measures, we tend to agree that David Ortiz is probably the best hugger in recent baseball history. By scouting grades, he’s a 70 or higher in all three categories. Mookie Betts lacks the girth to be a world-class hugger, though we both feel like he would be a better hugger than expected because of his infinite capacity for joy. Mike Trout brings the joy, but he lacks cuddliness.
We suspect that our friend Brandon McCarthy, at an angular 6-foot-8 and with his general suspicion of cuddliness and unbounded joy, would be the starting pitcher on our worst huggers team, a judgment that Brandon takes more than a little bit of pride in.
In any case, though this has become something of an obsession for us, it is clear to me now that we have not spent nearly enough time describing the extraordinary hugging talents of one Frederick Charles Freeman.