While I admire the highly skilled, I am also much attracted to the guys who do a lot with less. It's good to throw 100 mph, but my hat goes off to the pitchers who succeed with little more than desire and guile.
I don't mean just baseball. I've been watching the NBA playoffs and I'm now prepared to name my All NBA Overachievers, guys, who, metaphorically, can throw 65 on a good day.
Center: Joakim Noah. The most awkward center in the league and one of the most effective. It's terrifying to watch him try to dribble the ball downcourt. His outside shot is, to say the least, unorthodox. But he works hard on every play and when he's knocked down, as is frequently the case, he bounces up like some mythological figure who draws strength from the earth. Plus there's not another center in the league who's fluent in French and Swedish.
Forward. Paul Pierce. Can't run, can't jump, but is a perennial all-star and the go-to guy at the end of a close game. I've seen him play hundreds of games (since he was at Kansas, in fact), and I've never seen him "fill the lane." He can't get there in time. Great shooter, though, even if you can't figure out how he does it, year after year.
Forward. Shawn Marion. He must have the ugliest shot in NBA history. He seems to hold it out in front of him and push it off with a stiff arm. And yet it goes in. He couldn't have gone to basketball camp as a youngster. He does everything "wrong" and yet he's tremendously effective. And he's an outstanding defensive player.
Guard: Andre Miller. He's slow, he can't jump, he has no muscles in his arms, and he can't shoot 3-pointers. But he's intelligent, makes the right decision, and throws the best alley-oop pass in the league. He's a marvelous player, way undervalued.
Guard. Omigosh, I can't think of another active all-overachiever guard, so I'm going to go with Mark Jackson, now retired, who's the archetype. Not particularly athletic, not big, not quick, not a leaper by any means, and yet third on the all-time assist list. Smart though -- a Brooklyn boy.