Glenallen Hill developed what he felt was an inaccurate reputation as an arachnophobe over the course of his professional baseball career.
Yeah, there was that one incident in 1989 when Hill was a rookie with the Toronto Blue Jays and had a nightmare about a spider, knocked over a table and suffered various lacerations. But the man whose teammates nicknamed him “Spiderman” never agreed with the characterization that he had an abnormal fear of the eight-legged creatures.
In order to prove it, Hill, who’s now the manager of the Colorado Rockies Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, decided to pose with a tarantula at the Isotopes’ media day in early April. Hill’s pose was made into a baseball card, which made the rounds on the internet this week.
Isotopes public relations director Kevin Collins told Denverite on Wednesday that the original idea was for Hill to take his team photos with a puppy.
“I like to do something a little different every year with the baseball cards to keep it fresh and not be the same old boring poses from Media Day,” Collins said in an email.
“When we ran the idea past Hill at spring training, he said he’s all for it, but he wanted a spider to put the urban legend to rest. I’m not sure he knew I was going to go out and get him a tarantula.”
The Isotopes players wound up taking their media day photos with puppies that came from a local animal shelter run by Animal Humane New Mexico. Hill took his with a pink toed tarantula provided by a local pet and supplies shop, Clark’s Pet Emporium.
“When we brought it in, he didn’t hesitate at all,” Collins wrote.
Hill calmly let the tarantula crawl on his arm and hand as an Isotopes team photographer went to work.
“Yeah boy,” Hill says toward the end of the video. “They’re actually kind of cool.”
“Pretty neat,” the spider handler says.
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