Box-Toppers’ Stick-A-Fork-In-Them series has looked at 14 players whose careers are done or may be done. Included is a look at how they have fared in Box-Toppers points over their careers, reflecting their impact on the game over time. This is a summary of the 14 players featured with links to more detailed posts on each. Also included are eight honorable mention players who have announced their retirements:
It is rare for a baseball player to have the luxury of a formal news conference to announce his retirement. It is rare if they even issue a press release.
Most players who are skillful and lucky enough to make it even to the big leagues toil in relative obscurity. Their career fades, they are released, they are designated for assignment, no other team signs them—and the fact that their career is over is an almost personal, private matter that an overwhelming majority of the time goes unregistered even on baseball’s copious and comprehensive transactions wires.
Many players active in 2013 will not play in 2014. Some notable players have been given the grand treatment of a formal retirement, with ceremonies, gifts, retrospectives and news conferences—namely Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton and Roy Halladay. But other players may not be back in 2014. Some players may be limited by injury (Johan Santana). Some who still want to play another year may be limited by age (Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, both of whom did not play in 2013). And some may be limited by drug suspension (Alex Rodriguez and maybe Manny Ramirez, come to think of it).
This summary features the 14 players featured in the Box-Toppers’ Stick-A-Fork-In-Them series in recent weeks. It includes players whose careers are done or may be done. Not every player in this series has announced his retirement. In fact, some are continuing to try to play—even if they haven’t been on active rosters for more than a year.
1. Alex Rodriguez
The New York Yankees third baseman is suspended for the 2014 season under baseball’s drug policy. The earliest he could come back to the game is 2015, when he will be 39. But will he come back? Will he be too old? Will any team give him the chance given the baggage he brings?
If it is the end for A-Rod, baseball loses the player who has helped his team to more wins than any other active player, according to Box-Toppers statistics. Rodriguez is the active leader in Box-Toppers points with 179.3, ahead of Yankees teammate and starting pitcher CC Sabathia, with 172.3. Since Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995, Rodriguez is also the leading batter in points, ahead of Manny Ramirez with 167.2. Rodriguez ranks fourth on the “all-time” Box-Toppers points list among all players (from 1995 to 2013).
He is a three-time American League Most Valuable Player (2003 with the Rangers and 2005 and 2007 with the Yankees). However, only once did he lead the league in Box-Toppers points—in 2007, he led AL players with 18.9.
2. Roy Halladay
Halladay, 36, announced his retirement in December after injuries cut short his 2013 season. He won the Cy Young in both the American and National Leagues. He was Box-Toppers’ top NL pitcher in 2010 and among the top five pitchers in his league in Box-Toppers points in six different seasons.
He had 170.7 career Box-Toppers points, fifth among all pitchers and sixth among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He was the second-ranked active pitcher in Box-Toppers points until his retirement (CC Sabathia, with 172.3 is No. 1).
He won the AL Cy Young in 2003 with the Blue Jays and NL Cy Young in 2010 with the Phillies. In 2010, he also had the most Box-Toppers points of any NL player with 23.4.
3. Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez, 41, has not played in the Major Leagues since 2011 but he’s attempted comebacks in 2012 and 2013 and reports say he is not ruling out another try in 2014.
He is the second-ranked batter in career Box-Toppers points with 167.2, behind only Alex Rodriguez with 179.3 (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). Ramirez is ranked seventh among all players since 1995.
Ramirez had the most Box-Toppers points of any AL batter in 1999 (19.9 with the Indians). He’s been among the top 10 batters in his league in Box-Toppers season points eight times.
Ramirez’ glory years were with the Indians from 1993 to 2000, the Red Sox from 2001 to 2008 and the Dodgers from 2008 to 2010. In 2010 and 2011, he also played with the White Sox and Rays and late in his career was twice suspended under baseball’s drug policy.
4. Johan Santana
Johan Santana, Box-Toppers’ most dominant player of the mid-2000s, is attempting a comeback after a second shoulder injury that wiped out his 2011 and 2013 seasons.
Santana, 34, recently signed with the Orioles, though reports for the past year have questioned whether he will be able to continue pitching.
While with the Twins, Santana led all players in Box-Toppers points in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and led all American League pitchers in 2007. He won two Cy Young Awards during this period (2004 and 2006).
He has 166.6 career Box-Toppers points, sixth among pitchers and eighth among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He is ranked second among currently active pitchers, behind CC Sabathia with 172.3 Box-Toppers points.
Santana’s biggest year was in 2004 (26.8 Box-Toppers points). He was with the Twins from 2000-2007 and with the Mets from 2008 to 2013, where he has largely missed two of the last three seasons.
5. Jim Thome
Jim Thome, 43, last played in the Major Leagues in 2012 for the Orioles and in 2014, the Indians will erect a statue in his honor. But in December, he said he would not rule out a comeback. He is currently unsigned.
Thome has 146.7 Box-Toppers points, sixth among all batters and 17th among all players. He was among the season’s overall top 10 players in Box-Toppers points twice and among his league’s top 10 batters in five different seasons. (His career began in 1991, so his first four seasons are unrecorded by Box-Toppers, which didn’t begin record keeping until 1995).
Thome never led his league’s batters in Box-Toppers points, but finished as high as second among American League batters in 2002 with the Indians. He had 16.0 Box-Toppers points, just behind Jason Giambi of the Yankees with 17.0.
6. Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter will retire at the end of the 2014 season at the age of 40, ending a 20-year career, all with the Yankees.
He has 76.4 career Box-Toppers points, second among all shortstops, behind only Miguel Tejada with 102.3 (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). Jeter’s 76.4 Box-Toppers points ranks 60th among batters and 121st among all players on the career list.
Jeter is a five-time World Series champion, 2000 World Series Most Valuable Player, 1996 Rookie of the Year, a member of the 3,000-hit club (3,316 at the start of 2014) and Yankees team captain since 2003.
Jeter had one season with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points—he had exactly 10.0 in 1998, ninth among American League batters that year.
7. Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season at the age of 43 and ranks second among closing pitchers in career Box-Toppers points.
The all-time saves king has 126.4 career Box-Toppers points, just behind closing pitcher Trevor Hoffman with 129.4. Rivera, who spent his entire 19-season career with the Yankees, ranks 25th among all players and 16th among all pitchers in Box-Toppers points.
Rivera, with a reputation for postseason dominance, helped the Yankees to five World Series championships and earned World Series Most Valuable Player in 1999 and American League Championship Series MVP in 2003.
Rivera finished in the top 10 in Box-Toppers points among American League pitchers three times, he had four seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points and scored at least 1.0 Box-Toppers point in 17 straight seasons. His best year was 2008 when he had 14.0 Box-Toppers points, eighth among AL pitchers that year.
8. Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt, 36, has retired after finishing five times among the top 10 National League pitchers in Box-Toppers points.
He had 127.2 career Box-Toppers points, 23rd among all players and 15th among pitchers (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He played for the Astros from 2001 to 2010 and moved to the Phillies in 2010. He struggled with injuries from 2011 forward, spending 2012 with the Rangers and 2013 with the Rockies.
His best year was his rookie season, 2001, when he had 17.1 Box-Toppers points, fourth among NL pitchers and seventh among all players.
He had seven seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points and three seasons with 15.0 or more.
9. Andy Pettitte
Andy Pettitte, 41, who retired at the end of the 2013 season, was among his league’s top 10 pitchers in Box-Toppers points five different seasons.
He had 138.4 career Box-Toppers points, 19th among all players and 13th among all pitchers (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). Pettitte pitched for the Yankees from 1995 to 2003 before moving to the Astros from 2004 to 2006. He rejoined the Yankees from 2007 to 2010 and was retired for the 2011 season before returning to the Yankees for 2012 and 2013.
His best season was 2005 when he had 12.7 Box-Toppers points with the Astros, eighth among National League pitchers and 21st among all players. He had three seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points and 16 straight seasons with at least 1.0 point.
10. Todd Helton
Todd Helton, who retired at the end of the 2013 season at the age of 40, led National League batters in Box-Toppers points in two seasons and was among the league’s top three batters four seasons in a row.
Despite the impressive numbers, Helton never won an NL Most Valuable Player Award.
Helton, who played his entire 17-year career with the Rockies, had 116.4 career Box-Toppers points, the third-most among first basemen on Box-Toppers “all-time” list (record keeping began in 1995). He ranks 12th among all batters and 33rd among all players.
Helton’s most impressive period of his career was a four-season stretch from 1999 to 2002, when he was among the top three NL batters in Box-Toppers points and was the top batter two straight years, 2000 and 2001.
In 2000, he led NL batters with 15.2 Box-Toppers points and in 2001, he again led NL batters with 17.0 points (his best season).
11. Barry Zito
Barry Zito, 35, is taking a year off from pitching but says he is not retired.
Zito won the 2002 American League Cy Young Award and was the No. 2 AL pitcher in Box-Toppers points in both 2001 and 2002.
He has 117.4 career Box-Toppers points from 2000 to 2013, ranking 21st among all pitchers and 31st among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He pitched for the Athletics from 2000 to 2006 and for the Giants from 2007 to 2013, where he was on the 2010 and 2012 World Series-winning teams.
In 2001, he had 18.1 Box-Toppers points, second among AL pitchers. In 2002, he had 20.1 points (his best season), and again ranked second among AL pitchers (though he won the Cy Young).
Zito had four seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points, two seasons with 15.0 or more and one season with more than 20.0. He has scored at least 1.0 Box-Toppers point in each of the 14 seasons he’s played.
12. Chris Carpenter
Chris Carpenter, 38, who retired at the end of the 2013 season, led National League pitchers in Box-Toppers points in 2005, the same year he won the NL Cy Young Award.
Carpenter had 113.3 career Box-Toppers points, 24th among all pitchers and 37th among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He began his career in 1997 with the Blue Jays, moving to the Cardinals in 2004. He was NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2009 with the Cardinals and a two-time World Series champion with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011.
Carpenter was among the top 10 NL pitchers in Box-Toppers points four times.
His best year was 2005, when he had 21.0 Box-Toppers points, first among NL pitchers and second among all players. He won the NL Cy Young Award that year. Carpenter had six seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points, three seasons with 15.0 or more and one season with 20.0 or more.
13. Lance Berkman
Lance Berkman led all National League batters in Box-Toppers points in 2006 and finished among the top five NL batters three times, but never won the NL Most Valuable Player Award.
Berkman, who retired in January and is now 38, has 108.1 career Box-Toppers points, ranking 16th among batters and 46th among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). Berkman played most of his career with the Astros (1999-2010). He moved to the Yankees to end the 2010 season. He played 2011 and 2012 with the Cardinals (where in 2011, he won a World Series title and NL Comeback Player of the Year). He finished his career in 2013 with the Rangers.
His best season was 2006 with the Astros, when he had 20.8 Box-Toppers points, first among NL batters and second among all players. (He finished third in NL Most Valuable Player voting.)
Berkman had four seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points and one season with more than 20.0.
14. Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster, 36, says he will not pitch in 2014 but did not announce his formal retirement.
He has 95.2 career Box-Toppers points, 42nd among pitchers and 70th among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He began his career in 1998 with the Marlins, moved to the Reds in midseason 2002, played for the Cubs from 2004 to 2012 and finished 2012 with the Rangers before playing for the Red Sox in 2013. He won a World Series title in 2013 with the Red Sox.
His career best season was 2008 with the Cubs, when he had 12.7 Box-Toppers points, ninth among National League pitchers and 22nd among all players. Dempster had two seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points.
Derek Lowe, 40, retired during the 2013 season.
Lowe, who spent most of his career as a starting pitcher, had 91.5 Box-Toppers points over 16 seasons, scoring at least 1.0 point in each season he was active. He ranks 82nd among players and 47th among pitchers (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995).
He pitched for the Red Sox (1998-2004), the Dodgers (2005-2008), the Braves (2009-2011), the Indians (2012), the Yankees (2012) and the Rangers (2013). His best season was 2002, when he had 14.4 Box-Toppers points with the Red Sox, ranking fourth among AL pitchers.
Mark Prior had not made a Major League appearance since 2006, yet he made several efforts in subsequent years to come back. However, in December, he made it official and retired at the age of 33.
Prior played for the Cubs from 2002 to 2006. In 2003, he had 20.1 Box-Toppers points, second among National League pitchers. He had 44.2 career Box-Toppers points, ranking 315th among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He scored his last Box-Toppers point on Aug. 19, 2005.
Prior helped lead the Cubs to the NL Championship Series in 2003 (which they lost to the Marlins). Injuries hampered his career from 2004 on, though he attempted a comeback as recently as 2013 with the Reds—he was released in June 2013.
Ted Lilly, 38, retired at the end of the 2013 season after a 14-year career as a starting pitcher.
He had 93.3 career Box-Toppers points, 76th among all players and 44th among all pitchers (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995).
His best season was 2010, when he had 13.7 Box-Toppers points. He recorded 6.7 points with the Cubs before being traded in midseason to the Dodgers, where he recorded 7.0 more points. He ranked 12th among National League pitchers and 22nd among all players that season.
Lilly had two seasons with 10.0 or more Box-Toppers points. He recorded his last point May 18, 2012, with the Dodgers.
Michael Young, 37, retired prior to the 2014 season after a 14-year career mainly with the Rangers, primarily at shortstop and third base.
He had 73.1 career Box-Toppers points, 67th among batters and 132nd among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995). He ranks fourth among shortstops on Box-Toppers “all-time” list (since 1995), behind Miguel Tejada, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra.
His best season was 2006 with the Rangers when he had 8.5 Box-Toppers points. He was American League batting champion in 2005.
Aubrey Huff, 37, who led American League batters in Box-Toppers points in 2008, announced his retirement in January after a 13-year career.
Huff had 61.6 Box-Toppers points for his career, 91st among batters and 184th among all players (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995).
But his best season was 2008 with the Orioles when he led AL batters with 12.5 Box-Toppers points. (He finished just ahead of Torii Hunter of the Angels with 12.4.) Huff finished 16th in AL Most Valuable Player Award voting, which was won by Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Pedroia had 3.7 Box-Toppers points, 76th among AL batters.
Huff finished seventh in AL MVP voting in 2010, when he had 7.5 Box-Toppers points. He split that year between the Orioles and the Tigers.
Huff played primarily for the Rays, but also had stints with the Orioles, Giants (where he won two World Series titles in 2010 and 2012), Astros and Tigers. He played a variety of positions also, including third base, designated hitter, first base and outfield.
Huff did not play in 2013. He scored his final Box-Toppers point on July 23, 2011 with the Giants.
Mark DeRosa, 39, retired in November after a 16-year career.
DeRosa, who played primarily third base and second base, had 47.1 career Box-Toppers points, 288th among all players since 1995. He played from 1998 to 2013 primarily for the Braves (1998-2004), but also had stints with the Cubs, Rangers, Blue Jays and Giants.
His best season was 2006 with the Rangers when he had 9.7 Box-Toppers points. He had 6.5 points in 2013, his final season, with the Blue Jays.
Carl Pavano, 38, the starting pitcher who helped the Marlins to the 2003 World Series title, announced his retirement in February.
Pavano had 55.8 career Box-Toppers points, 221st among all players since 1995.
His best year was the 2003 championship season when he had 12.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 11th among National League pitchers. In 2004, he had his second-best season with 10.7 Box-Toppers points, also with the Marlins, 13th among NL pitchers. He also finished sixth in Cy Young Award voting that year.
Pavano played 14 seasons from 1998-2012 primarily with the Twins, but also had stints with the Marlins, Expos, Yankees and Indians. He did not play in 2013. His final game was June 1, 2012. He scored his last Box-Toppers point on Sept. 28, 2011.
Rick Ankiel, 34, retired this month after an 11-year career begun as a starting pitcher and improbably resurrecting himself in mid-career as an outfielder.
Ankiel had 32.6 career Box-Toppers points, 490th among all players since 1995. But he goes down in history as the first player since Babe Ruth to win 10 games and hit 50 home runs.
He was a starting pitcher from 1999 to 2004. His best season was 2000 with the Cardinals when he had 13.4 Box-Toppers points, sixth among National League pitchers. He finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. However, in the 2000 postseason, Ankiel began to pitch wildly and ineffectively. After being sent down to the minors and after injuries, he took a chance of switching positions to the outfield and gradually worked his way back to the Majors.
He did not play in 2002 with injury and in 2005 and 2006, did not play in the Majors as he developed in his new position.
He debuted as an outfielder for the Cardinals in 2007 and had his best season at the plate that year with 6.5 Box-Toppers points.
During his career, he recorded 14.4 Box-Toppers points as a pitcher and 18.2 as a batter.
He played primarily for the Cardinals, but also had stints with the Nationals, Braves, Royals, Astros and Mets. He played his last game with the Mets on June 8, 2013. He scored his last Box-Toppers point July 4, 2012, with the Nationals.
Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. Players earn Box-Toppers points for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.