Zito, Barry. (1978 - ) Baseball player.

San Francisco Giants pitcher known as much for his free-spirit personality as for his mystifying curveball. Formerly a member of the Oakland Athletics.

Zito was a highly unconventional draft pick when he was acquired in the first round in 1999 by the Oakland A's. His collegiate ERA at USC was highly unimpressive for a aspiring pro, and the Oakland draft staff was highly lambasted for making such a seemingly inexplicable decision.

In reality, however, he was drafted because Oakland A's scouts had realized that Zito's textbook lefty form caused his curveball to "drop off the table," providing an nearly unhittable target.

Helped by his mastery over this complex pitch, Zito proved himself one of the game's elite pitchers at the young age of 23.

Zito's story proved all the more interesting when his quirky but honest and open demeanor came into public view. Zito is an avid surfer. He would bring a teddy bear and lucky pink pillow with him on road trips. He dated a lingerie model before admitting in an interview that she "had broken his heart." His family reported that Barry enjoyed receiving toys for birthday presents. But perhaps most interesting was his highly developed philisophical and spiritual beliefs. Zito follows a self-created spiritual doctrine formulated around Zen.

He's also my favorite athlete, but that's just a personal thing. I think you guys can see why, though.

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