There have been some notable names this off season who have called it a career. There are some players who are on the verge of retiring but have not officially decided to hang up their spikes for good. There are some players who will try to play one more season and it could end up not so good.
The first and most notable retirement from this year was that of Randy Johnson also known as the “Big Unit.” Johnson stands at 6′ 10”. He showcased a left arm side arm delivery which earlier in his career hit would hit the upper nighties on the radar gun. Over his last few seasons Johnson has been plagued by back problems, this is probably due to his tall skinny frame.
Johnson spent last season with the Giants where he joined the 300 game winner club on June 4, 2009. Over his career he played for six teams over 22 seasons. He won the Cy Young award five times and is one of 18 pitchers in Major League History which has pitched a perfect game.
Another left handed pitcher who decided to call it quits in this off season was Tom Glavine. The situation with Glavine is a little bit different than that of Johnson because Glavine did not throw a pitch on a Major League Mound in 2009, so his hall of fame eligibility will start in 2014. Also on that ballot will be Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.
Glavine was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1984 in the second round. He had previously been drafted to play hockey in the NHL, but chose to play Baseball. He made his Major League Debut in 1987 and played for the Braves through the 2002 season. During the off season the Mets who play in the same division as the Braves offered Glavine a more lucrative contract and he accepted it. He spent the 2003-2007 seasons as a member of the Mets before returning to Atlanta on a one-year deal.
The 2008 season started ok for Glavine, but on April 18th he was placed onto the disabled list for the first time in his career. He came back in May and pitched through August until shoulder problems put an end to his season. When he left the mound in August he did not realize that he had thrown his last pitch on a MLB mound.
In February 2009 Glavine agreed on a one-year deal to return to the Braves for the 2009 season. Spring training started off well, but he suffered another shoulder injury and ended being projected to start the season sometime in June. Part of the structuring of the Glavine’s contract was that once he was added to the 25 man roster he would recieve quite a large bonus and he would continue to bonus if he stayed on the roster.
After completing his rehab assignments he arrived in Atlanta ready to go. He was called into the GM’s office and instead of being informed that he was going to start soon, he was given an ultimatum. Either retire as a Brave and have your pride or be released. The Braves had decided to go with Tommy Hanson in the rotation instead of Glavine. Glavine requested his release and pursued other teams in 2009, although it was assumed he would return for the 2010 spring training with a new team.
Last week Glavine announced it was a career and that he was going to be a special assistant to the Braves general manager. This comes at somewhat of a shock considered how his contract status and realease were handed by the Braves last season.
Known as the “Big Hurt” because of the way he crushed fastballs out of the park Frank Thomas announced his retirement this offseason. Thomas also last played for the Oakland Athletics in 2008, so he will also be on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot. Thomas played for the Chicago White Sox from 1990 to 2005. He left and signed a contract in 2006. After the 2006 season he signed a 2-year agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays with an option for 2009 that would kick in once he reached 525 plate appearances. He was benched by the Blue Jays and eventually releasedduring the 2008 season. He then returned to the Athletics in late April 2008 and played until August until he was hurt and eventually placed on the 60 day disabled list which was the remainder of the season.
In his career he racked up quite the accolades winning one world series during his last season with the White Sox in 2005. He was a five time all-star, 2 time MVP and won the Home Run Derby once. He finished his career with a .301 average, 521 hits and 2,468 hits in his 19 year career.
All three of the players will rightfully take their respective places in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Glavine and Thomas should make it into the hall on their first attempt in 2014, although if one of them doesn’t make it on the first try they should for sure make it in the next year with Randy Johnson.