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Original Issue

Art of Pitching

A reliever's body is his bio
Author:

MOST PEOPLE look at Nationals setup man Jon Rauch and think, There goes the tallest player in the major leagues. Tattoo artists look at his 6'11" frame and think, Now there's a canvas I could work with. The 28-year-old righthander has been happy to oblige them. Some of Rauch's body art is purely decorative (witness the licks of flame on his upper right arm), but he's also gotten inked to honor the big moments in his life. Of course, when you're 6'11", every moment is a big one.

"I'VE GOT Olympic rings on my left ankle, from being part of the gold medal team in Sydney," says Rauch, who gave up one run and struck out 21 in 11 innings during the 2000 Games. "Had to commemorate that." It's one of many special moments Rauch carries on him. "The two that mean the most to me: I have Roman numerals starting at my neck and going all the way down my spine that commemorate my wedding day—Sept. 7, 2001," he says of his marriage to the former Erica Jurko. (The Chinese symbols are an homage to himself: They mean "tall fire.") "Then I had a little girl on Dec. 6, Aubree Elizabeth. I've got her footprints and her name and birthday on my right calf. I took the piece of paper with the footprints from the hospital to the guy who does my stuff. He did a stencil off that paper."

The Pop Culture Grid

How do sports stars fit in?

People say I look like ...

Favorite thing to chew

Reruns you can't stop watching

Last time you went to the dentist

Pairs of sunglasses you own

Favorite animated flick

DAN HAREN Athletics P

Peter Gallagher

Sunflower seeds

Seinfeld and The King of Queens

Four years ago

Five

Shrek

LEANDRO BARBOSA Suns F

Usher

Bubbaloo bubble gum

Entourage

December 2006

Two

The Lion King

BRETT MYERS Phillies P

Bert from Sesame Street

Juicy Fruit gum

The King of Queens

We see one every spring

Six

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

SEAN AVERY Rangers LW

Jaromir Jagr

Referees

Deadliest Catch

Last summer

20

Finding Nemo

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GARY BOGDON (RAUCH PORTRAIT)

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GARY BOGDON (ACTION)

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GARY BOGDON (TATTOOS)

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PHOTOFEST (SHREK)

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PHOTOFEST (BERT)

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BRAD MANGIN (HAREN)

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REED SAXON/AP (GALLAGHER)

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JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BARBOSA)

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MARK DUNCAN/AP (USHER)

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MATT ROURKE/AP (MYERS)

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ROBERT BECK (AVERY)

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CHUCK STOODY/CP/AP (JAGR)

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CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP (JUICY FRUIT)

THREE PHOTOS