MLB

What Happened to Former MLB Tough Guy Kyle Farnsworth?

Kyle Farnsworth always looked as if he belonged in the NFL as opposed to Major League Baseball, didn’t he? At 6’4″ and 240 pounds, he looked more like a linebacker than a pitcher but that size certainly helped him throw pretty darn hard.

Best known for his time with the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees, Farnsworth pitched for nine teams in his big-league career and had a menacing fastball that sometimes clocked 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. If only he’d had a little better control.

While he’ll never be remembered as one of MLB’s all-time great pitchers, nobody can deny that Kyle Farnsworth was one of the toughest guys that baseball has ever seen. Just ask those unfortunate enough to brawl with him, of which there were more than a few.

So where is Kyle Farnsworth now?

The MLB career of Kyle Farnsworth

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Taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 47th round of the 1994 MLB draft, Kyle Farnsworth made his big-league debut in 1999 and played six seasons in the Windy City. Brought in a starter, he was moved to the bullpen in 2000 as a middle reliever and remained as such for the vast majority of his career.

Farnsworth was traded to the Detroit Tigers ahead of the 2005 season but was traded that July to the Atlanta Braves. In 2006, he signed with the New York Yankees and played parts of three seasons in the Bronx before he was traded back to Detroit in July 2008.

He then signed with the Kansas City Royals and spent a year and a half there before being traded back to Atlanta at the trade deadline in 2010. He then signed in Tampa Bay and played parts of three seasons with the Rays before being released in August 2013, at which point he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish the season. Farnsworth split the 2014 season between the New York Mets and Houston Astros before leaving Major League Baseball. He finished his MLB career with a 43-66 record with a 4.26 ERA with 963 strikeouts and 412 walks.

Kyle Farnsworth also spent time in the Mexican Baseball League in 2015 and 2016.

He was involved in some epic brawls

As the above numbers show, Kyle Farnsworth wasn’t the greatest pitcher in the world but he still spent 16 years in The Show, which is certainly impressive. But perhaps even more impressive were the times in which Farnsworth truly got to shine as one of the toughest guys in baseball.

Easily his most famous highlight, which you can view about, came in 2003 when Farnsworth was with the Chicago Cubs. In a June matchup with the Cincinnati Reds, opposing pitcher Paul Wilson was at the plate when Farnsworth threw a pitch that Wilson apparently thought was a little too far inside. Tempers flared and Wilson charged the mound, which turned out to be a huge mistake. Kyle Farnsworth charged back and essentially speared him like a WWE wrestler, knocking him to the ground before throwing a couple of haymakers before the benches intervened.

Two years later, while with the Tigers, the Kansas City Royals’ Jeremy Affeldt simply looked at Farnsworth wrong during a scuffle between the two teams and paid the price for it as Farnsworth picked him up and slammed him to the ground. Affeldt said afterward that he wasn’t even looking to get involved (h/t ESPN).

“He said, ‘Do you want to fight?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want to fight. What are you thinking, dude?'”

Jeremy Affeldt on Kyle Farnsworth

Former Royals catcher John Buck offered up what happened next.

“Affeldt looked at him wrong, or looked in his direction. Whatever he did, it made Kyle mad. He suplexed him.” 

John Buck on Kyle Farnsworth

Farnsworth, who is a black belt in karate, was involved in many more brawls in his career, once explained what went through his mind when things were about to get physical (h/t CBS Sports).

“You kind of just react to what the hitter’s going to do. Pretty much that’s it. You can think about and pre-plan, but in the heat of the moment you don’t know what’s going to happen and just react to the situation.

“I’m not going to let someone come at me. I’m going to defend myself. Everyone is going to be different. That’s me. If someone comes at me I’m going to protect myself. I’m not going to run from anybody. We’ll go from there.”

Kyle Farnsworth

But the diamond hasn’t been the only place where Kyle Farnsworth has tackled folks.

Kyle Farnsworth played semi-pro football after his MLB career and did quite well

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Following his MLB career, Kyle Farnsworth apparently hadn’t hit enough people. So in 2015, he decided to play semi-pro football with the Orlando Phantoms as a defensive end and played very well, leading the team with 11 sacks, according to NBC Sports.

He played multiple seasons with the Phantoms in the Florida Football Alliance and is now a joint owner of a gym in the Sunshine State that offers instruction in baseball, speed, and nutrition.