The Chicago Cubs, who haven't won the World Series since 1908, just gave whiz kid GM Theo Epstein a boatload of cash to end the drought. But they could have saved a few bucks by hiring a pig farmer.
There are 13 million people who put together a team by playing fantasy baseball, but none of them can bring home the bacon like Lindy Hinkelman.
It might sound like bunk, but the 59-year-old pig farmer from Idaho is the greatest fantasy baseball player in the country. Hinkelman has earned more than $300,000 by winning several fantasy hardball contests over the past three years.
It's stunning to think that while the average income for a worker in the United States is $46,300, Hinkelman's earned over six times that figure in the past three years.
The New York Times reports Hinkelman paid the $1,400 entry fee to beat out 390 players this year, winning the $100,000 National Fantasy Baseball Championship for the second time in three years. He bucked the 0.2 percent odds of winning to take home the big check. It might seem like a far-fetched story, but Hinkelman, a world-class fantasy geek, says spending time with swine has helped give him an advantage over computer nerds and Wall Street bigwigs.
"Raising pigs and this baseball thing really go together," he told the Times. "There are certain things in farming -- keeping track of productivity, indexes for your sows, the genetic lines there. To do well, you've got to be pretty proficient in numbers. Math has always been my strong suit. I can see things with the numbers. That's just my theory. I have no proof."
Nobody has won more prize money playing fantasy baseball than Hinkelman, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
You'd think after a 106-loss season, the Houston Astros would send a private plane to unincorporated
Lindy Hinkelman says he became a Dodgers fan because of Vin Scully
Greencreek, Idaho to offer the pig farmer a front office job. But this common man says he's not looking to join the big leagues.
"These guys working in front offices know so much more about this than I would ever dream of," he said. "These guys grew up in the game. I have no ambitions of doing that."
Hinkelman has earned more from fantasy baseball than his day job over the past three years. He has close to 500 pigs on his farm, which he sells to youth programs in April and May. During the heart of the summer, the pig farmer spends four to six hours a day watching Major League Baseball on DirecTV. Hinkelman, with four grown children, has a wife who's not a baseball fan.
Despite his insane fantasy skills, Hinkelman, a Dodgers fan, didn't play baseball growing up. The pig farmer says "none of the farm kids played baseball." He was a bench warming basketball player at the University of Idaho, now playing softball and bowling a few times a week.
Hinkelman used a version of Moneyball to pick his roster this season. He volunteered to draft 14th in his 15-team league, while looking for players who would bounce back in 2011. He picked Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson and Tigers ace Justin Verlander. All three players had career years.
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