Meet the Real Max Scherzer, Baseball's Most Interesting Ace
Max Scherzer stares in, nods in agreement to his catcher, and uncoils another devastating pitch that leaves the hapless batter in the dust with a swing and miss. It’s a sequence that Washington Nationals fans witness over and over every fifth day — and baseball fans around the country can’t wait to watch on "SportsCenter" or MLB Network highlight shows.
In short, the right-hander’s dominance is one of the best parts of the summer.
By now, people have become quite familiar with the All-Star who terrorizes hitters from the pitcher’s mound, but there’s several interesting facts that most people don’t know about the three-time Cy Young award winner.
Thanks to the personal tidbits we’ve uncovered — some heartwarming, some obscure, and some hilarious — you can get to know one of the game’s most recognizable hurlers even better.
Different Colored Eyes
Most die-hard baseball fans are aware that Max Scherzer has two different colored eyes — his right is blue and his left is brown — but don’t know the reason behind it.
Scherzer was born with heterochromia iridum, a genetic anomaly that affects roughly 1 in 500 people, including fellow celebrities Dan Aykroyd, Christopher Walken, Kate Bosworth and Jane Seymour.
Favorite Movie Is 'Happy Gilmore'
There’s nothing better than watching a so-called hockey player take up golf, only to edge out the much-maligned Shooter McGavin on the Pro Tour in the end, right?
Well, Scherzer is right there with us. He claims he’s not the biggest Adam Sandler fan, but can’t get enough of the 1996 flick.
"I can watch 'Happy Gilmore' every single day. My favorite line is … the whole movie," he once said.
He Has a Sweet Tooth
He may be a world-class athlete — and at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, in very good shape — but Max admits he craves desserts. Like, a lot.
In an interview with ESPN, when debating which sugar-packed treat he loves most, he said, "You name it. Brownies, cheesecake, anything. I can't eat dessert, because as soon as I have one, I have five and then I have 10. I can't have one, otherwise I want 'em all. I love chocolate
He Loves to Scuba Dive
When he’s not striking out batters, you could probably find Scherzer in the water. It turns out, he loves scuba diving so much, he had language specifically outlined in his contract to ensure he can continue his hobby.
"The coolest place I ever dove was in Fiji," he said in an interview. "My wife and I did some shark dives there. The reef was outstanding, one of the coolest spots in the world. They had these huge things of chum and there was thousands of fish."
Grew Up a Cardinals Fan
Max, the son of Jan and Brad Scherzer, grew up in Chesterfield, Mo., which is located approximately 25 miles west of St. Louis. So, naturally, he grew up a huge Cardinals fan.
Come to think of it, it must have been difficult for Scherzer to decline signing with St. Louis out of high school upon being selected in the 43rd round of the 2003 MLB draft.
But after opting to attend college at the University of Missouri, he was taken 11th overall in the first round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006.
Played Quarterback in High School
Max played baseball, basketball and football at Parkway Central High School in his hometown — and it makes sense he used his golden arm in another sport.
He served as the varsity quarterback for the Colts, but still, it was baseball that made him a teenage superstar.
Threw a No-Hitter in his Final High School Game
In Scherzer’s final game on the mound for Parkway Central, he threw a five-inning no-hitter during which 13 of the 15 outs he recorded were strikeouts.
"It was pretty amazing," his former coach said. "At that point in his career, because he got better and better as his senior year went on, he was as unhittable as I’ve ever seen a high school pitcher."
Things haven’t changed much.
Bullpen Sessions in Solitude
Yes, you read that right. According to a report — and the accounts of two MLB players close with Scherzer — he will not let anybody watch his practice periods between starts unless they have "security clearance."
In the same story, David Price, a former teammate on the Detroit Tigers, offered an anecdote about how, one time, he "moseyed out to the bullpen to watch his old pal Scherzer ... throw between starts. He was greeted with paperwork and a pen."
"I had to sign a waiver to watch it," he said.
Four Rescue Dogs and Two Cats
According to a Northern Virginia Magazine feature, the Scherzers have four high-energy, mixed-breed rescue canines named Rocco, Gigi, Rafi and Bo.
Also, they have two cats named Buster and Nahla.
The Scherzers’ House Is Beyond Beautiful
Upon signing a $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals in 2015, Scherzer and his wife, Erica, purchased a home in McLean, Va., removed the existing structure and rebuilt a spacious, 10,000-square-foot mansion (7,100 without the wrap-around deck) with six bedrooms, a great room and a home gym.
The best part, though? The four-story home overlooks the Potomac River.
Passionate About Nonprofits, Volunteering and Charity
The Scherzers are heavily involved with the Humane Rescue Alliance, which works to connect homeless pets with loving homes while also offering adoption, training and medical services.
In addition, the family lends their time and efforts to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the Nationals First Ladies Wives Program, and the Night Out game for the LGBTQ community.
Meanwhile, Erica — a former softball pitcher at Mizzou, where she met her husband — joined Polaris, a global anti-human trafficking organization that helps victims and survivors of the crime, according to a feature in Northern Virginia Magazine.
Unstoppable at Connect Four
Sure, everybody knows Scherzer is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, but did you ever think he’d also be the master at something so, uh, random?
According to this funny anecdote told by SB Nation, the right-hander is a "soul-crushing" All-Star in the old, challenging game of vertical strategy that calls for two players to try and become the first to form a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of four straight circular game pieces.
Better With Age
According to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, only two men have thrown more than 600 innings in their 30s with a sub-3.00 ERA and a K%-BB% above 20 percent.
Those two men are Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and Scherzer.
So, yes, it’s fair to say a trip to Cooperstown will be in Max’s future.
Rare Company for a Bizarre Statistic
Well, maybe bizarre is the wrong adjective. Crazy? Mind-blowing? Whatever you want to call it, get this: According to ESPN Stats & Information data Stats & Information data, Scherzer is just the fifth pitcher in history to pitch multiple immaculate innings.
An immaculate inning is when a pitcher strikes out all three hitters he faces with the bare minimum of nine pitches in one frame. Yes, that’s as perfect as it gets. Three hitters. Three strikes to each. Nine pitches. Three outs. Total historic dominance in the smallest of samplings.
That feat, which he clinched in June 2018, put him in some very impressive company with four Hall of Famers: Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and Randy Johnson.
It Pays to Be Max’s Teammate
Back in 2015, Washington catchers Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton scored big — just because they did their jobs.
Scherzer bought flashy Hublot watches for both his catchers, who caught his no-hitter and one-hitter games. The luxury watches retail anywhere from $2,000 to $80,000, according to a report.
Oh, he also bought Brayan Pena, his catcher in 2013, a Rolex after winning the Cy Young award.