After twenty seasons and 44 years of age, former Oakland Athletics first baseman and designated hitter Jason Giambi is retiring from baseball.
In a detailed and heartfelt statement today Giambi announced his retirement through the New York Daily News.
Among the people he thanked for support in his career, he mentioned his wife, children, other family, and assorted baseball personnel. He also thanked equipment and apparel companies such as Nike, Oakley, and Louisville Slugger.
Giambi was hitting just .193 in 83 games with the A’s this season.
Giambi was drafted by the Athletics in the second round of the 1992 amateur draft and made his debut in Oakland just three years later.
He spent his first seven seasons with the A’s and won the American League MVP award in 2000, and then finished second in MVP voting the following season.
He also thanked his brother, Jeremy for the two years they played together with the A’s, saying they were two of his favorite seasons.
Giambi was perhaps the perfect example of a Athletics hitter, showing tremendous power and patience throughout his career. He blasted 198 home runs and posted a .406 On-Base percentage as an Athletic.
Growing up I had the privilege of experiencing Giambi at his best, as some of his greatest seasons came in his early years with Oakland.
I was also witness to a great milestone in Giambi’s career. During his second stint with the A’s, on Saturday, May 23 2009 Giambi sent a Dan Haren fastball into the right field bleachers for his 400th career home run.
More than 20,000 fans were on hand that game as I’m sure they were hoping to share in that joy with our once great slugger.
Giambi may never reach the Hall of Fame for his playing achievements, but he will always be regarded as one of the great players in A’s history. A lot is said about player when he’s the reason the team can trade an all-time great such as Mark McGwire just to get him into the lineup.
That is who Giambi was. A talented hitter, but also a fan favorite and excellent clubhouse leader.
His leadership is one of biggest reasons teams like the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians have rostered him each of the past six seasons. In addition to playing for the Rockies from 2009 to 2012, he interviewed to manage the team, before current skipper Walt Weiss was hired.
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He finishes his career with 440 home runs, 1441 RBIs, a triple-slash line of .277/ .399/ .516, and 50.8 WAR.
He was an all-star in five-straight seasons from 200-2004, earned MVP votes each season from 1999-2003, and then again in 2005 and 2006.
He played for the Athletics, New York Yankees, Rockies, and Indians.
While his playing days are over, it would be no surprise to see his name appear in a lineup card again soon, but as a manager.
My only hope is that happens with the Athletics.