Hayden Parker was recovering from heart surgery in September of 2019, and while a little bored, decided to tap into graphic design. And at that point, MLB Minis on Instagram was born.
And boy did it take off. It managed to showcase some big moments in Giants history … in smaller doses, of course, as seen here with Buster Posey.
One night before bed, scrolling through Instagram, I discovered this brilliant account that would turn your favorite MLB stars into miniature versions of themselves -- unless you were Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve -- he and his 5-foot-5 frame didn’t acquire an edit.
If you haven’t heard of this account, trust me, you’re missing out.
Parker, 21, instantly connected with me as we realized we have a lot in common, mainly baseball and digital media. He’s a senior at the Nebraska Wesleyan University and pitches for the baseball team.
The Instagram account, which now has over 14,000 followers, came from Parker’s liking toward other mini accounts in various sports.
“I always kind of saw minis, I saw them starting to become a little more popular and being that I liked graphic design, I run my baseball team’s Instagram too, with a teammate,” Parker told NBC Sports Bay Area. “So then I was like, ‘I have all this free time on my hands and I thought, I could do that, but with baseball.’”
A few Photoshop edits later, a creative monster was born.
Parker started out small with high school and collegiate ballplayers, but the rest, as they say, is viral history.
“It’s been super crazy, and unreal the amount of people who have followed and liked and such,” Parker said.
Those people include Diamondbacks infielder Ketel Marte, who non-coincidentally became the first player to be “mini’d.” Parker is a Scottsdale, Ariz. native who loved watching Marte growing up, so that was an easy call.
But it was Baltimore minor league pitcher Conner Greene who was one of the first verified guys to reach out to Parker.
“[Greene] wanted one, so I made one for him and he posted it and I think I got a lot of followers from that,” Parker said.
Greene, who used to play in the Dodgers organization, made sure his buddy Cody Bellinger saw his own mini and Parker was happy to know he got a laugh out of it.
Various Giants players are plentiful on the mini’s page, including former ace Tim Lincecum, during the days where his hair would wildly show under his hat.
“I’m a pitcher so obviously I know Tim Lincecum, he’s very good at what he does,” Parker said.
Barry Bonds’ historic 756th home run was showcased as well.
Parker said he wanted to push this out around National Baseball Hall of Fame voting time, because well -- you know how people get.
And yes, Parker believes Bonds belongs in Cooperstown.
And then of course, the time Dodgers outfielder Max Muncy asked
Mason Saunders Madison Bumgarner to go get the home run he hit off of him in the ocean.
Parker mentioned there was a wave of requests from players who liked the mini versions of themselves pictured on the field having banter with one another. Or you know -- being a member of the Dodgers.
Naturally, the infamous Joe Kelly reaction toward the Houston Astros got the most likes on his account. People love to hate the Dodgers, and Parker admitted he isn’t a big fan of the team either.
But that’s the team that appears to get those most likes on the account.
Six-time All-Star CC Sabathia personally reached out to Parker to create one as well -- particularly of him yelling at the dugout.
Parker says he currently is working on a collaboration with MLB Player’s Association in a project leading up to spring training.
Other players like A’s infielders Matt Chapman and Tony Kemp have been featured as well. Kemp and his 5-foot-6 frame even joked his didn’t need much of an edit either.
Reds pitcher Amir Garrett liked his own edit -- one of him storming off the mound in a pitching change. And yes, it’s as funny as it sounds.
As far as who he hasn’t made into mini form yet? That would be six-time All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Since Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals from Parker's hometown D-backs in 2018, the jersey Parker used to sport with Goldy’s name on it has been figuratively “ripped up.” Parker said he’s still quite bitter about the deal, but is open to it.
“I need to though,” Parker said. “He still is a very good ballplayer and person.”