Gary Sheffield Retires

“I am sure it will be mentioned and debated but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame.  A lot of them don’t belong in the Hall of Fame.  If someone wants to debate me, check the stats.  I wanted to retire after I played for the Mets.  My family said wait one year, that there was no need to rush it.  I gave it a year and now it’s time to say goodbye.”

Sheffield is one of the last exciting personalitys in baseball and now he has retired.  Baseball is losing it’s luster bit by bit.  Let’s look at his career stats: 509 home runs, 1,676 RBIs and a .292 career batting average.    Think about those stats.  All-Time he is 24th on home runs and 25th on RBIs.

His career was long and solid, 22 years for 9 teams.  Hall of Fame, of course.  It’s not like he was a system player of some sort.  He put up BIG numbers for soo many teams in both leagues.  A 9-time All-Star (1992–93, 1996, 1998–2000, 2003–05).  A 5-time Silver Slugger Award Winner (1992, 1996, 2003–05).  He was the first player to hit at least 25 home runs for 6 different teams.  He was also one of 2 players in MLB history, along with Fred McGriff, to have 30 or more home runs in one season for 5 different teams (Los Angeles Dodgers [×3]; New York Yankees [×2]; Atlanta Braves [×1]; Florida Marlins [×1]; San Diego Padres [×1]).

So what if the man couldn’t behave himself to save his life?  He kept it interesting.  He also gave us some good quotes, quite insightful.  Sheffield has often put himself in controversial situations with his confrontational attitude, which sometimes leads to remarks construed as offensive but don’t we love that stuff.  

We all remember in the June 2007 issue of GQ Magazine, Sheffield (a Detroit Tiger at the time) was quoted saying that there are more Latin baseball players than black players because Latinos are easier to control:

  “What I said is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out. … (It’s about) being able to tell (Latin players) what to do — being able to control them.  Where I’m from, you can’t control us.  He went on to elaborate,  they have more to lose than we do.  You can send them back across the island.  You can’t send us back.  We’re already here.”

 

And my favorite quote of his of all time, during an July 2007 interview with HBO’s Real Sports, Sheffield said that Yankees manager Joe Torre treated black players differently than white players during his time there.  He also said that he thought that biracial Yankees player Derek Jeter wasn’t “all the way black.”

Then some people are mad about steriods which everyone was doing in the 90′s.  Sheffield was named in the Mitchell report on PED use in Major League Baseball, but Sheffield said his inclusion in the report should not cloud his candidacy for the Hall of Fame.  On page 116 of the report, Sheffield is among the players who are alleged to have purchased “the cream” and “the clear” from BALCO founder Victor Conte.  On page 136, a FedEx receipt from Sheffield to BALCO found during a 2003 search of trainer Greg Anderson’s condominium is referenced.  On that same page, an excerpt from Sheffield’s book “Inside Power” where he acknowledges receiving a bill from BALCO for “vitamins” is mentioned. His testimony before the BALCO grand jury — he testified not knowing whether “the cream” contained steroids — is also referenced.  “The thing about the Mitchell report is that I cringe about it because the guy who wrote the report didn’t talk to me.  If he talked to me I would respect that no matter what. But I cringe on that because he didn’t.”

Let Sheff in the Hall, he has the stats for numerous teams.  Can’t be a bunch of fuddy duddys about his gangster rapping personality.  He brought a flair and a sense of self that has been rarely qualed in the history of sports.

Farhan Latif writes exclusively for CloudFantasy.  Emai him here

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