Baseball superstar Justin Verlander, starting pitcher for newly-crowned 2022 World Series champions the Houston Astros, has been an avid Ferrari fan more many years. He spoke exclusively to TOFM back in 2016 about his Ferrari collection
Words: Jonah Keri
A nine-time All-Star and the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player and two-time Cy Young award winner, Justin Verlander has established himself as one of the best pitchers of his generation.
And yes, he owns a pretty sweet collection of Ferraris too: a 458 Italia, a 488 GTB and an F12berlinetta. He also bought a Ferrari California T for his wife, Kate Upton. In this exclusive interview, he raves about the job she did designing the car, with its pearl exterior and tan leather seats. Turns out Kate has an eye for fashion.
The Official Ferrari Magazine: Were you into cars as a kid? And was your dad a petrolhead?
Justin Verlander: Yeah, my dad was. He loved cars. Anything he could happen to get a great deal on or maybe a steal, he would show up, and there would be a car in the garage. That got me started. I always had posters of cars on my wall.
TOFM: Was it always, “When I make it, I’m gonna get a Ferrari”?
JV: Yes. It’s one of those dreams realised type of thing. Like we said: kid, poster on the wall, Ferrari. Here I am lucky enough to be in this situation where not only are my dreams coming true in playing baseball, but I have the opportunity to do the real-life version of the poster on the wall, which was a pretty surreal experience. The first one I bought was the 458. I was a kid in a candy store. First Ferrari. Wow, full circle kind of moment.
TOFM: Take me through the progression of each. What were the different characteristics that drew you to each model?
JV: Obviously the 458 and the 488 are based on the same platform, and are the most similar. What drew me to both of those… well, the 458 was such a driver’s car. What an unbelievable vehicle they produced. And so that was my first Ferrari. And it wasn’t the V12, the naturally aspirated V12 that Ferrari had been known for. But they made an amazing car. And this is right when I was getting myself into the position where I could afford one. So that kind of hooked me. That was the first one. And then I love that style of car. So the 488 naturally just fell in place with that much more power.
TOFM: Is Kate much of a carhead?
JV: No, but she’s turning into one.
TOFM: I imagine you’d kind of have to be.
JV: With the Ferrari California T, she designed it and everything. She did an awesome job. You probably haven’t seen the interior yet.
TOFM: I kind of peeked at it.
JV: It’s sick. She did an amazing job. It came out really, really beautiful. And then the big boy, the F12. I mean that one’s fun. They’re all so unique. But the classic V12 Ferrari, if you’re a Ferrari enthusiast, which I am… I needed it.
TOFM: Do you have any life tip, or mantra? Something that is quintessentially “Justin…”
JV: I have no idea. [asks Kate] Honey, what’s quintessentially me?
Kate Upton: Do you want to narrow that down a bit?
JV: No, that’s how it was posed to me.
TOFM: It’s meant to be open-ended.
JV: I would say… I am über competitive to a fault.
KU: I wouldn’t start there. I would say that you’re very caring.
JV: Oh for God’s sake!
KU: And really goofy.
TOFM: Are you goofy?
JV: I am goofy.
KU: And one of the best dressers I’ve ever seen.
JV: [asks Kate] So I’m… What am I? I’m a great dresser, I’m goofy…
KU: I would say you follow your heart.
JV: I follow my heart… man, these are all great. This portrait we’re painting of me is amazing.
KU: But with a great sense of style and a great ass.
JV: And a great ass!