Derek Jeter and 10 MLB Stars Who Retired Way Too Early
10 MLB Stars Who Retired Early
Derek Jeter announced recently via his Facebook page he will be retiring following the conclusion of the New York Yankees' 2014 season. Jeter is 39 and after a 2013 where he only played in 17 games, this cannot come as a major surprise. In the spirit of Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves and Jeter's teammate Mariano Rivera, there will probably be a very un-Jeter-like and also very cheesy farewell tour for Jeter where every baseball town he visits gives him a gift for his retirement.
The announcement before the season is very out of character since Jeter has been the king of privacy throughout his career, making his ability to stay out of the spotlight almost more impressive than how he thrives when he is in the baseball spotlight. Nobody ever seems to know Jeter outside of the Yankees clubhouse, and nobody knows what Jeter does during his offseasons in his Tampa mansion, which is so big it has earned the name 'St. Jetersburg.' Aside from Jeter being very private, he has also been the face of the Yankees for his entire career and is also the longest-tenured captain in team history.
Jeter is probably announcing his retirement now so he can go out on top if he has a great 2014, and it is pretty safe to say that everyone is hoping he does not stumble to the finish line. Jeter is also combating the prospect of an injury or a slow start, which will definitely bring his future into question. In the spirit of Jeter's retirement, here are 10 other stars who retired way too early.
10. Nomar Garciaparra -- Retired at 36
Garciaparra probably wishes he could have gone out like Jeter. The former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs shortstop and Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman had a solid 14-year career, hitting 229 career home runs while batting .313. Unfortunately, injuries were always in Garciaparra's way.
9. Bo Jackson -- Retired at 31
One of the most famous two-sport pro athletes, Bo Jackson made jaws drop in the baseball and football worlds. From 1986-1991, Jackson hit 112 home runs and slashed .249/.309/.477, as well as playing spectacular defense in the outfield. Jackson also rushed for a career 2,783 yards. Had he chosen baseball as a primary sport, Jackson would have been an all-time great.
8. Deion Sanders -- Retired at 33
Though he was a .263 career hitter and never played more than 115 games, 'Primetime' was able to utilize his speed in his time with the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. He has 186 career steals and was only caught 63 times.
7. Sandy Koufax -- Retired at 30
Koufax is considered one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time, and probably would have solidified that had it not been for arthritis in his pitching elbow. Koufax finished with a career .655 winning percentage and a 2.76 ERA for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Mariano Rivera -- Retired at 43
Normally, a player retiring in their early 40s would not be considered 'too early.' Of course, there is only one Mariano Rivera. There is no other closer who has done it as well and as automatically as Rivera. The all-time saves leader, Rivera easily could have closed into his 50s, but father time is unpredictable and undefeated.
5. Magglio Ordonez -- Retired at 37
A .309 career hitter with 294 career home runs, Ordonez was an offensive force for many years in his time with the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Sadly, injuries caused Ordonez to limp to the finish line in his career. Had he been healthy, he would have had 300-plus home runs, and probably would have been a fringe Hall-of-Famer.
4. Johnny Damon -- Retired at 38
Damon is a .284 career hitter, has 235 career home runs and is a two-time World Series champion. He deteriorated quickly in his final season with the Cleveland Indians, though he could still have been a productive player.
3. Jorge Posada -- Retired at 40
Posada had some trouble adjusting to a backup/DH role in his final years in the Bronx, and had he adjusted, he probably could have turned in some solid years as a part-time player. Posada did not want that, and retired as one of the key players to the 'Core Four,' having won five World Series titles.
2. Lance Berkman -- Retired at 37
Berkman is known best for his years with the Houston Astros, though he won his only World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals. Injuries caught up to Berkman in his final years, though had he come back this season healthy, he was still capable of at least 20 home runs.
1. Jackie Robinson -- Retired at 37
Robinson is easily the most famous baseball player of all time. He was a .311 career hitter and stole 197 career bases while only being caught 30 times. Robinson never struck out more than 40 times, and in his final season in 1956, Robinson posted a .275/.382/.412 slash line, going out on top.