A man once referred to as “El Caballo,” will no longer be riding the horse that is MLB. Carlos Lee struck fear into opposing pitchers for the better part of 14 years, but the stout outfielder/first baseman has decided to hang up his cleats and retire from the game that made him famous.
The 37-year-old slugger wasn’t exactly a hot commodity this offseason and despite nine combined home runs for the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins in 2012, no team was willing to give the savvy veteran a two-year deal that Lee so desperately wanted. A native of Panama, Lee was serviceable in this year’s World Baseball Classic, but his numbers have only declined in recent history.
The three-time All-Star was an RBI machine as he drove in 100 or more runs six different times in his career. His powerful approach was something to watch, but for some reason No. 45 never seemed to stay with one team very long — Lee suited up for five teams in his career and is one of the very few players to have done so for both the Texas Rangers and the Astros.
Lee will be remembered for his glory days which came in between 2003-07 where he put together five straight seasons with at least 30 homers and 99 RBI. While he was often a liability in the outfield, power hitters like Lee aren’t paid to make diving catches, so you really can’t fault him for making the transition to first base later on in his career.
At the end of the day, Lee is a one-of-a-kind hitter who will be missed by fans, but won’t be missed by pitchers across the league.