Former Royalty: Mike Sweeney to retire?


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.

Kansas City Royals Photo Day

Photo courtesy of Yardbarker.com

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.

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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.

C-Sal Fasano was the Royals 37th round draft pick in the 1993 draft.  Fast forward to 2010 where he will be managing the low-A Lansing Lugnuts in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system.

LHP-John Bale is returning to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Carp.

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(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

Tags: AL Central Andrew Sisco Baseball Coco Crisp John Bale Kansas City Royals KC Mike Sweeney MLB Royals Sal Fasano

  • http://www.babeslovebaseball.com Sooze

    Remember when Sweeney was a tough out? Where the hell has the time gone?

  • Sean

    Sweeney is hittin almost .800 this spring.. Just tearing the cover off the ball.. I dont think he will be just retiring yet!

  • Wally Fish

    He says he won’t retire if he is on a roster opening day, but if he isn’t I can see him walking away regardless of how impressive his spring stats may be.

    Sweeney is a class act who has always been true to his word. I see no reason to doubt him now.

  • BrettFan1

    I’d be willing to bet that Sweeney could better the numbers that Jose Gullen puts up this year. Regardless, the Royals should take a page out of Boston’s book and bring him back on a minor league deal to retire as a Royal, if that is his decision. I’d love to see him get another couple of healthy years with 400-500 ABs.

  • kw

    Made my one trip to spring training a few years ago when Sweeney still was with the team. Can’t tell you how impressed I was with the time he took to chat with fans and how he handled himself as a person. I’m one of those who has grown cynical about pro athletes over the years; I think most of them are ego-driven jerks at best, and criminal thugs at worst. But Sweeney as a true exception. Wish his career had been blessed with good health, but when you look at those numbers, you realize how talented he really was.

  • Wally Fish

    Sooze, I ask myself where the time has gone pretty much every day. Especially since my first son was born almost 6 years ago.

    Sweeney is still a pretty tough out (106 OPS+ in 2009 at 35 years old), but back in the early 2000s he was without question one of the toughest outs in all of baseball. I just wish the Royals had been a better team so more people would have taken notice of him.

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