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.