Former “milk and cookies” captain Mike Sweeney let it be known that he will retire if he isn’t on a major league roster on opening day.
Injuries demolished his career, but as Royals fans, we can’t forget that in a four year span (1999-2002) he turned in four of the ten best seasons at 1B in franchise history. I loved him while he was here because he was a wonderful player on the field and a wonderful person off the field. Sweeney publicly stated that he wanted to stay in Kansas City, and unlike so many others who said the right things, it was Mike who actually followed through and signed the contract. What happened to his body, and more specifically his back, after he signed that contract is just one of the many cruel twists of fate that fans of this franchise have been forced to endure since the team last finished second back in the strike-shortened 1995 season.
That very season Mike Sweeney made his debut for Kansas City as a catcher and appeared in four games. Naturally I wish he had been able to stay healthy all those summers with the Royals, but those days are long gone. I’ve got nothing but respect for Mike Sweeney, the player and the person. If he does retire in the coming weeks I wish him the best of luck in his life outside of baseball. He might not be leaving the game completely on his terms, but he can be very proud of his 15-year major league career and slash line of 0.298/.367/.487. If 2009 was his last season he closes the chapter of his playing days with 207 career home runs, 508 BB, 592 SO, and a career OPS+ of 118.
While on the topic of former Royals:
The Oakland Athletics are learning about life with Coco. That’s right folks, Coco Crisp is already injured this season and no one seems to know how long his pulled hamstring will keep him out of action.
Former Royals’ Rule 5 selection, LHP-Andrew Sisco, has signed with the San Fransisco Giants after missing the last two seasons thanks to Tommy John surgery.
LHP-John Bale is returning to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Carp.