Is Alex Vega the Biggest Star of Spring Training?

Vega's The Auto Firm supplies the boys of summer with their rides each spring.

March 6, 2018 5:00 am

With a four-seam fastball that tops out around 97 miles per hour and a sinker that hits 94, Cincinnati Reds ace relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias understands what it’s like to throw fast.

As evidenced by the custom Lamborghini Aventador he brought to spring training, the 28-year-old knows a thing or two about what it’s like to drive that way too.

And though he might be one of a handful of MLB players who can truly burn up the radar gun, he’s far from the only big leaguer who can burn up the road with a bespoke beast of a ride. While Iglesias can thank the universe for his talent, he can thank Alex Vega for his Lambo.

Vega, 43, is the owner of The Auto Firm, an extremely popular customization shop located a relatively short drive away from South Beach in Miami. It’s a location that’s well known to prominent athletes ranging from Alex Ovechkin to Greg Norman, but is especially popular with pro baseball players and Vega’s custom creations are annual attendees at spring training.

Starting in 2004 when he customized a Hummer for Alfonso Soriano after the ballplayer saw a model he had modified for Rick Ross and wanted a similar job, Vega has had a steady stream of work coming his way in advance of spring training each year.

Players want to show up with a ride that will impress their teammates and get people talking – look no further than the flame-throwing Lamborghini Yoenis Cespedes once brought to spring training – and those who don’t have a car that’s been given the Vega touch, want one.

“Once you do that car and they take it to the field, the other players see it,” Vega told The New York Times. “They’re like, ‘Who did your car?’ And then word of mouth started spreading.”

With a list of at least 300 baseball customers – including Hanley Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Pablo Sandoval, Jose Abreu and Nelson Cruz – Vega has a number of repeat customers because, after all, sometimes one fire-breathing Lambo just isn’t enough.

So what exactly makes Vega’s cars such a, ahem, hit with MLBers that they keep coming back?

“Because my work differs from everyone else’s.” Vega told RealClearLife. “I love what I do.”

Alex Vega

That love is rooted in a childhood that was spent watching the vehicles in films and TV shows like “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The A-Team,” “Knight Rider,” “Batman” and “Back to the Future” and dreaming about the day when he’d create his own version of the General Lee or KITT.

It didn’t arrive as speedily as one of Iglesias’ fastballs, but that day has come. “One of the most rewarding parts of this job is at the end of the day seeing what I envision come to life,” Vega says. “I see myself as a designer, not a car shop trying to make a buck.”

Not to worry, Vega makes plenty of those as well as The Auto Firm’s renovation services can routinely cost six figures. Think it’s worth it? Take a look at some of the rides from this spring and decide if you think Vega’s work knocks it out of the park for yourself.

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