R.I.P. (Retire In Peace)
Here, we pay tribute to the careers of those big leaguers who have decided to hang up the cleats after years of memorable service. Space in our shrine is not limited to Hall of Fame caliber players, but it is limited to those players who have retired since the start of the Seeds All Day blog. All of our favorite baseball stars will be welcome here so that we all can come and pay our respects to the memories of their careers.
SP Ted Lilly June 4, 1996 (23rd round) – November 27, 2013 Drafted by the L.A. Dodgers in 1996, made his major league debut with the Montreal Expos in 1999, and made his final start for the L.A. Dodgers on June 4, 2013 – 17 years to the day after the club had drafted him. Finished with a career record of 130-113, an earned run average of 4.14 and 1,681 strikeouts. Started two games for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. On June 13, 2010 he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox before giving up a leadoff single to Juan Pierre. Also pitched for the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago Cubs.
RP Mariano Rivera 1990 (international free agent) – September 26, 2013 Career spanned 19 seasons, all with the Yankees organization. A failed starter converted to reliever, was named New York’s closer in 1997 and immediately became one of the best in baseball. Dominated hitters for more than 15 years relying primarily on a single pitch – a mid-90 mph cut fastball – that is arguably one of the best single pitches in baseball history. A 13-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. Holds the record for most career saves (652), most career postseason saves (42), and lowest career postseason ERA (0.70) among numerous others. Was the last player to wear number 42, which was retired throughout baseball to honor the legacy of Jackie Robinson while Rivera was still playing. Is arguably the best closer to have ever played the game.
SP Andy Pettitte May 25, 1991 (22nd round) – September 22, 2013 Played 18 seasons in the MLB, most of them with the New York Yankees. Is the only player in baseball history to pitch at least 18 seasons while never having a losing record. Won five World Series championships and is baseball’s all-time postseason wins leader with 19 career playoff victories. Made his major league debut in 1995 and finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Led the AL with 21 wins in 1996 and finished second in AL Cy Young voting. Won at least 12 games in each of his first nine season with the Yankees before playing three seasons for the Houston Astros. Won the ALCS MVP in 2001. Retired in 2010, but returned to the Yankees in 2011 and helped guide the team to a championship. Among Yankees pitchers, Pettitte ranks first in strikeouts (2,020), third in wins (219), and tied for first in games started (438). He won the most games of any pitcher in the 2000s. In 2007, admitted to using human growth hormone to recover from an injury during the 2002 season.
1B Todd Helton August 1, 1995 (1st round) – September 29, 2013 The eighth overall pick in the 1995 MLB draft, spent his entire 17-year career with the Colorado Rockies. Five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger award winner and three-time Gold Glove award winner. He holds the Rockies club records for most hits (2,519), home runs (369), doubles (592), walks (1,335), runs scored (1,401), RBIs (1,406), games played (2,247) and total bases (4,292), among other records. Many analysts accuse him of inflated numbers because he played his home games in hitter-friendly Coors Field, but statistics show that Helton was just as successful on the road as he was at home. Won the 2000 batting title after posting a .372 batting average. His average away from Coors Field that year was .354. In 2001, hit a career-high 49 home runs, 22 of which he hit on the road. Was diagnosed with a degenerative back condition in 2008, after which his power numbers began to steeply decline. Is the only player in MLB history to have back-to-back 100+ extra-base hit seasons (103 in 2000 and 105 in 2001).
RP Brad Lidge June 2, 1998 (1st round) – December 2, 2012 The 17th overall pick in the 1998 MLB draft. Made his major league debut in 2002 as a middle reliever for the Houston Astros before becoming the club’s closer in 2004. That year, he set an NL record for strikeouts by a reliever with 157. Infamously gave up a three-run home run to Albert Pujols in Game 5 of the NLCS. After a few years of struggle, he bounced back and sealed the 2008 World Series title for the Philadelphia Phillies with a strikeout of Eric Hinske of the Rays. He is the all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings (12.2 K/9) among pitchers with at least 200 appearances in their career. Struck out 799 total batters and notched 225 career saves.
OF Carlos Lee 1994 (undrafted free agent) – June 20, 2013 Made his major league debut on May 7, 1999 and hit a home run in his first at bat. Nicknamed “El Caballo” (meaning “the horse”), played 14 seasons in the big leagues, splitting time with the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Miami Marlins. Three time All-Star (2005-2007) and two-time Sliver Slugger Award winner (2005, 2007). In 2,099 total career games, hit .285 with 389 home runs, never once striking out more than 100 times in a single season. Had five consecutive 30-homer seasons and 11 consecutive 20-homer seasons. Stole double-digit bases seven times and played in at least 140 games in all but one of his major league seasons. Last played in 2012 when he hit .264 with nine home runs and 77 RBIs as a member of the Astros and Marlins.
SS Edgar Renteria 1992 (undrafted free agent) – May 21, 2013 Made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins on May 10, 1996. Won a World Series championship with the 1997 Florida Marlins. Hit a two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7, becoming just the 10th player in baseball history to clinch a World Series with a walk-off RBI. Won a second World Series title in 2010 with the San Francisco Giants, taking home World Series MVP honors. Competed in a third World Series in 2004, where his St. Louis Cardinals fell to the Boston Red Sox. Five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove award winner and three-time Silver Slugger winner. Batted .286 with 140 home runs, 923 RBIs and 294 stolen bases in 16 Major League seasons.
RP Jason Isringhausen June 3, 1991 (44th Round) – February 14, 2013 First appeared in the Majors as a starter with the New York Mets in 1995. Moved to the bullpen full time in 1999 after being dealt to Oakland. Recorded 300 career saves over the course of 17 Major League seasons. Was selected as an All-Star twice, with his best statistical year coming in 2004 when he finished 66 games and led the National League with 47 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals before falling to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. His hip injury in 2006 allowed rookie Adam Wainwright to step in as closer for the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series run that launched Wainwright’s career.