For those few readers that have been around since the start of WSBGM's (basically I'm referring to myself, Corey, and some poor loser that randomly stumbled upon this site) Mike Lieberthal hasn't been looked upon or spoken of kindly. Today that changes. Why? First off, he's not longer a Phillie, sucking up millions ($7.5 each of his last 3 seasons), playing shoddy defense, or hitting into double plays. Second, he announced his retirement. I don't have the cash to purchase him a gold watch, so I figured I'd throw a nice tribute post his way as a farewell instead.
After spending the first 13 seasons of his career in Philly Lieberthal moved on to Los Angeles to become their backup backstop last season. Russell Martin went on to become an All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in the NL for catcher, so needless to say Mike's playing time was limited- 38 games and 77 at bats. Then October rolled around and the Dodgers neglected to pick up Lieby's $1.5 million option, hence retirement. At this point in the year, he was used to getting ready for the annual rite of passage into the upcoming season of pitchers and catchers reporting, but this year he's chillin' instead. Mike might be packing away his catcher's gear, but he did express a desire to stay in the game in some capacity, probably broadcasting, because as he put it "no desire to coach because it would require to start again in the low minors and work his way up". Enjoy the rest of your life Mike, I will actually have fond memories of you, because this blogger must step down from his cynical pedestal some times and give credit/thanks where it's due, and it's due to you.
Baseball-Reference has Jason Varitek listed as Mike Lieberthal's most comparable player...not bad company. Lieby's career line: 1212 games, 534 runs, 1155 hits, 257 double, 150 homeruns, 610 rbi, .274 average, .783 OPS, 2 time All-Star, and 1 Gold Glove. Ironically enough, Lieberthal said "I'm done" in Carson, California where he was playing in a celebrity soccer game headed by teammate Nomar Garciaparra and his wife Mia Hamm. Peace out Lieberthal.