Carlos Delgado To Retire

As first reported in Puerto Rico’s El Nueva Dia newspaper, beloved former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado will announce his retirement today.

Delgado played for parts of 16 seasons in the big leagues with the Jays, Florida Marlins and New York Mets, accumulating 473 home runs and appearing in the top ten for MVP voting four times. However, hip injuries have gotten the best of him in recent years and today’s announcement is anything but unexpected.

As any good player upon his retirement deserves, Delgado’s Hall of Fame credentials will be debated over the next few days, then forgotten, then argued all over again in December. It’s hard for a Blue Jays fan to have an unbiased opinion on Delgado given he still holds several team records including most runs (889), doubles (343), home runs (336) and walks (827).

However, they don’t pay me the big bucks to be a sentimental homer.

As we can see by the graph above, Delgado’s numbers are far below the career cumulative WAR of Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff and even John Olerud. Unfortunately, with only two All-Star appearances and three Silver Slugger Awards, combined with comparisons to other first baseman in his era, I wouldn’t even consider Delgado a borderline case.

However, just because he doesn’t stack up too well against the best of the best doesn’t mean he should be any less celebrated in Toronto. If Delgado is open to it, the Blue Jays would do well to give him one of those meaningless roles that really good players get so that they’re always associated with the team for whom they performed best.

People often forget that Delgado was a catching prospect in the Blue Jays system before the team tried to turn him into a left fielder and eventually a first baseman.

Delgado, always acting in the best interest of the team tries to asphyxiate Eric Hinske with a towel and some sort of chemical concoction.

Delgado takes a mighty cut at the ball against the Seattle Mariners in August of 2003.

After a dozen seasons in a Jays uniform, Delgado left Toronto as a free agent ahead of the 2005 season. Here he is shaking hands with the devil.

Delgado only lasted a single season with the Florida Marlins before he was traded to the New York Mets ahead of the 2006 season. Their new first baseman led the team to the NLCS where they eventually lost to the World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals. After missing out on the series, Delgado was consoled by being awarded the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

Eventually, Delgado was joined by former Blue Jays teammate Shawn Green in New York.

Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009, ended up being Carlos Delgado’s last game in the Major Leagues. He hit a double and was hit by a pitch in five plate appearances.

Comments (13)

  1. Delgado’s four HR game vs Tampa Bay is one of my fondest Blue Jays memories. And that smile. That damn smile.

    As Drew put it on Twitter: “Long Live The King.”

  2. Also remember the first time he came back, as a member of the Mets, the standing ovation he got, and that he had to step out of the box and acknowledge the crowd.

  3. I love Delgado. He’s my all time favourtie Jay. I have to admit though that I was shocked to see how unkind FanGraph’s WAR is to him. Awhile back, I ran a bunch of graphs to see if FanGraph’s WAR supported the claim that Alomar is the best position player to play for a Canadian team (for the record it doesn’t, Gary Carter and Tim Raines have equally strong claims to that titles according to FanGraphs). The most surprising thing I noticed when I ran all these graphs was not that Delgado doesn’t measure up to HOF players like Gary Carter and Roberto Alomar (that’s to be expected) but that he doesn’t measure up to guys like Olerud, Barfied and Rusty Staub either.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs/1297_1000537_1093_1012440_ograph_%20_4_13_2011.png

    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs/1297_860_1000537_1093_ograph_%20_4_13_2011.png

  4. Love the colour and look of that Jays uniform Delgado has on in the picture of him with catchers gear.

  5. The thing that has always shocked me is just two All-Star apps. Who were the Jays sending in ’96-’99? (Well, there was Clemens, I guess…)

  6. Yes, if you go by WAR then he will not be in the Hall of Fame, but I think you are overlooking the importance of who votes for the hall of fame. It isn’t some guy with a blog, and most of the time writers have been hesitant to embrace these statistics. King Carlos has 473 career home runs. No one (who’s eligability has run out) that has that many homers or more has not made the Hall of Fame. Couple this with the fact that a lot of baseball writers won’t vote for accused P.E.D users (which Carlos wasn’t) and therefore will look more favorably on a clean player, he has an outside chance of making the hall based on his power alone.

    • I don’t think that a hitter with than 500 home runs will get in over hitters (like McGriff) with more than 500. There is such a glut of this type of player in the Hall, the bar is set pretty high.

  7. I don’t know whether Delgado deserves to be in the Hall, and he probably doesn’t I guess, but I feel like cumulative WAR shouldn’t be the beginning and end of the discussion.

    He carried some of those Mets teams (or at least he was represented as carrying those teams*). I wonder if that will buy him any votes.

    *Not like any of those teams won anything, either.

  8. I don’t think he actually carried the Mets. And obviously any success the Mets had was dependent on more than one player. But I do remember one year (if it’s not 2006, then maybe this point is moot), where the rise of the Mets in the standings was correlated to a Delgado surge midway through the season by “National Sports Media Organizations”.

    Could be I was just young and impressionable, still looking for the silver lining in my Delgado-less heart.

    The more I think about it, though, except for that one hazy remembrance, he definitely wasn’t the focal point of any of the teams he played on after the Blue Jays.

  9. It would be great to have a metric that adjusted career numbers for steroid use. Mark McGuire, I would argue, has a better chance of being elected to the Hall of Fame than Carlos. The same McGuire who has (finally) openly admitted to using steroids. However, his stated goals for using banned substances was to improve the quality and speed of his recovery from injuries. Had Carlos done the same, how many fewer games would he have missed due to injury? How much more productive would the games that he played in while injured have been? How many more years could he have played? It’s not beyond the realm of plausibility to suggest that Carlos could have at least approached 600 dings had he been willing to take banned substances, but I wonder how possible it would be to quantify the disadvantage that his career numbers at are because he chose not to.

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