CLEVELAND -- To his manager, he's a model player. To the editors at Men's Vogue, he's a model -- period. After much pleading from his agent, Grady Sizemore agreed to do a Men's Vogue photoshoot this summer, and the results were in the magazine's October 2008 issue.
Framed around a story that mentioned Sizemore's well-known disdain for public attention was a photo spread of Sizemore modeling an assortment of bomber jackets. It was a dichotomy, to be sure, but it was probably one the members of Grady's Ladies didn't mind. When asked about the clothes he modeled for the mag, Sizemore was quick to offer clarification. "Those aren't mine," he said. "Most of them didn't fit me. They were pretty tight. And I don't have $1,000 jackets to wear." Actually, Sizemore underestimated the duds there. According to the magazine's inset, he was shown wearing a Tom Ford leather jacket that retails for $5,425 and a YSL bomber jacket that goes for $4,390. So don't expect to see Sizemore on "The Price is Right" anytime soon. He'll have to continue to settle for "SportsCenter." Now, the snapshots in Vogue are all well and good. But manager Eric Wedge recently heaped praise on Sizemore, who is rated in the soon-to-be-released Bill James Handbook as the 24th-best player in the big leagues under the age of 30, for being the picture of a team leader. "Everybody in [the clubhouse] has so much respect for Grady," Wedge said. "When you see him help people [on the team], it goes a lot further." The Indians' well-documented losses of Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez to injury for a big chunk of the season put quite a bit of weight on Sizemore's shoulders. "What's remarkable is that the people who scouted us, he was the one guy they focused on," Wedge said. "And he still had an outstanding year." Outstanding enough for Sizemore to become just the 10th player in American League history and the second player in Tribe history to notch at least 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Sizemore drove in 90 runs from the leadoff spot, became the first Indians player since "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (1911-14) to lead the team in hits in four straight seasons (2005-08) and is once again a prime Gold Glove candidate for his work in center field. But Wedge was also quick to acknowledge that Sizemore was streaky at times in '08, particularly in the second half. Sizemore hit .243 in August and .259 in September, and his season average of .268 was by far the lowest of his four full seasons. Wedge thinks Sizemore, who started 157 of 162 games, wore down a bit as the year progressed, and that's something the Indians hope to address next year. "We need to pick our spots to give him more off-days," Wedge said. "He plays so hard, and he plays every day, but we need to pick our spots with him." In the meantime, Sizemore has a secure spot in the middle of a fashion magazine.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.