Five Fastest Rising Hobby Favorites of 2009
These five young up and coming players captured the eyes of fans and collectors alike in 2009:
Ray Rice, RB Baltimore Ravens
What's not to like about this guy. He's your classic example of the guy who is a few inches too short and a couple pounds too light to make it. Through work ethic, grit, and determination, he has become one of the most dynamic players in the NFL in only his 2nd season. On top of that, little Ray is already big Ray's (Ray Lewis) favorite Ravens skill player of all-time!
Pablo Sandoval, 3B San Francisco Giants
Sandoval's appeal is similar to that of Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, and David Ortiz. Pablo represents the other side of the Ray Rice coin. He's a few pounds too heavy and a step too slow to be one of the game's best players. After hitting .330 in 2009, Pablo sent a clear message to the National League's best that winning a batting title just got a lot harder.
Jonny Flynn, PG Minnesota Timberwolves
From the moment the Timberwolves drafted him with the 5th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, it became apparent why the Syracuse faithful would miss their Point Guard so dearly. It was refreshing to a player so enthusiastic to play for a team no one else seems to want to play for. On top that he has handled the Ricky Rubio situation with class, dignity, and a level of maturity rarely displayed by a 20 year old. With a contagious grin and gritty determination, Flynn has thus far shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to be a winner in the NBA.
Jared Allen, DE Minnesota Vikings
The perfect combination of on-field dominance and off-field comedy make the Vikings Jared Allen one of the single most entertaining players in sports. As a dominant pass rusher, he is near impossible to contain. His personality is perhaps even harder to contain. While other players are touting the college or high school they went to on Sunday Night Football, Allen claims to have gone to “The Culinary Academy". A cooking school to which he never went! His offbeat sense of humor, Ted Nugent inspired alter ego, WWE Showmanship, and shear skill make him one of the most interesting athletes in recent memory.
Hunter Pence, OF Houston Astros
When Craig Biggio retired, the Astros lost one of the game's all-time fan favorites. In 2009, the 27-year-old Pence did his best Biggio impression all the way to the All-Star game, making the team through the fan vote. The awkwardly tall and lanky outfielder ended the season with average stats (.282 Avg., 25 Home Runds), but his value isn't measured in numbers alone. Rest assured, with an underdog like Pence, the Astros will stand a fighters' chance against the National League's big dogs for years to come.