Willy Taveras was born in Tanares, Republica Dominicana on Christmas Day in 1981. The town of a little over 7000 was actually named for his family, but the doctors at the hospital misread his father's writing and put Taveras on the birth certificate. This was the result of his father writing his new son's name sloppily because he was in shock that his son had been born with a birthmark on his right thigh that looked like a baseball. Because of this, the father of Willy T made his son play baseball everyday from the day of his birth.
Willy came to resent baseball as a young boy but he really didn't have a choice in the matter because when you're eight years old and you have a baseball birthmark on your right thigh, you don't have a choice. He tried many times to get rid of the birthmark to release him from his burden, but every time he only succeeded in hurting himself. Once he used an eraser but only managed to rub the skin off. Then it got infected and he had to go to the hospital, the same one he had been born in. He liked the hospital. He liked the smell of antiseptic and bleach and rubber gloves and he decided that he would be a doctor one day. Except he had that baseball birthmark, even if it was seeping infected puss.
Willy became a teenager and he still didn't accept his fate as a baseball player. It came to the attention of some of the Dominican baseball pimps that Willy had the birthmark, so they fought over who would be the one to rule his life. It didn't matter that Willy wasn't very good. He had the Mark of the Fleets. He was gonna steal bases! No one ever realized that you actually had to get on base to steal bases.
A bunch of baseball dinosaurs took a vacation to the Dominican Republic that was to change the fate of the world. Get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in was written on the oversized t-shirts they wore to Dominicana's beautiful beaches. As they were lounging on the white sand and gazing out at the cool azure horizon, a boy came flying past them, kicking sand into their eyes. He was followed by an old fat guy who was out of breath and dropped to his knees in front of them. They asked him what was up. He told them the boy was a future basestealer but he was running away from baseball because he wanted to be a doctor. The dinosaurs were horrified.
"I know," said Willy's baseball pimp to the shaking heads in front of him. "And he has the Mark of the Fleets on his thigh."
"The Mark of the Fleets? Well, let's not just sit here. Let's get that kid!"
And they did. They captured him and put him in a "baseball academy," which was really just a prison where you had to play baseball for twelve hours a day, seven days a week. You were only released if you were bad, unless you had the Mark of the Fleets. They had a brainwashing program, and that's how Willy forgot he wanted to be a doctor and became a baseball player.
He was signed by the Cleveland Indians way back in "they say 2000 zero zero party's over it's out of time so tonight we're gonna party like it's" 1999. That means he signed when he was 18 years old for the mathematically challenged. Five years later one fateful September 6, the Houston Asstros decided to play him. That was five days before the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 that sucked (as opposed to the good one in 1985.) Is it a coincidence that Reds fans have already nicknamed him Havoc?
There were some transactions along the way to his Major League debut. Willy T is a transaction machine. He was drafted by the Asstros in the 2003 Rule 5 draft (what are rules 1-4?) but somehow didn't play for the Asstros until September 6, 2004, spending the season at AA. (Guess he didn't make the team out of spring but no one wanted him.) He had one MLB at bat that season but somehow managed to score two runs without taking a walk.
In 2005, he was runner up Rookie of the Year. Everyone thought he was an incarnation of Eric Davis. He was pretty mediocre after that and the Asstros traded him to the Rockies after the 2006 season. In 2007, he only played in 97 games. Then in 2008, as if the Mark of the Fleets really did work, he managed to steal 68 bases with only a .308 OBP. It's as mysterious as his scoring two runs in only one at bat with no walks during his debut.
Some time in August 2008, a few Reds fans began to joke that Willy T would end up on the Reds. Sure enough, Dusty Baker broke into Walt Jocketty's office and held a knife to his throat while Walt got on the phone with Willy T and gave him a contract. Dusty's violence was a result of being distraught over losing Corey P to Leatherpants.
In 2009, despite having a .176 batting average and a .177 OBP, seemingly impossible mathematically but, you know, it's Willy T, Dusty Baker started his burning meteorite in centerfield 152 games.
*Some of this is fake. Made up. Fiction. Some is real. Some is exaggerated. It's all in good fun, Willy. Hope you hit .300, have an OBP of .350, and steal 100 bases!