Sunday, January 27, 2008

Peace out Lieberthal

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.

~Carson

12 comments:

JohnDewar said...

You had me nostalgic for awhile there, but then you went and compared Lieby to Jason Varitek.

Jason Varitek? Yikes, I don't Boston would have ever traded Tek, the consummate team leader, for a wet blanket like Lieby. Yeah, I know the numbers compare, but there is much to be said for leadership and chemistry; neither of which could be said of Lieberthal.

On the other hand, with Terry Fran-coma in Boston, maybe they would have wanted Lieby in his prime....

GM-Carson said...

Baseball-Reference.com searches its database and compares stats of players to other players and Varitek happened to be Lieberthal's closest comparison accordingly.

GM-Carson said...

I know it had nothing to do with Lieberthal, but it is weird that the Phils last made the playoffs in '93 before Lieby debuted in '94 and made the playoffs last season right after he left the team.

GM-Carson said...

Today is the infamous day in Phils history that they traded the slick fielding Larry Bowa and young Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus...such a shame.

Happy birthday to Fat Mike Zagurski and that Headcase known as Gavin Floyd.

furiousBall said...

I actually studied one night with Varitek during my illustrious academic career at GT, he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but like most college athletes had awesome test examples from which we all aced the exam the next day.

Corey said...

lieby had a great year in '99 and a decent year in '00. the knee injury really hurt his power ability. he had some decent averages since, but little power. i think he would be remembered differently if that injury never happened. and from the outside looking in, i was never convinced he was great with the pitchers. he was brutal behind and at the plate towards the end.

also, what the hell does a guy dressed up like "mario" have to do with mike lieberthal?

Los said...

Lieberthal never reached expectations, in my opinion. At times (many times, it seemed), he just didn't look like he was putting enough time in the "film study" aspect of catching ... sometimes looking lost behind the plate.

SirAlden said...

Lieberthal was a lazy cancer, who got very lucky having 6 weeks of hitting in August and Sept before signing his 3 years 22 million dollar contract.

Typical Dave Montgomery guy.

Terrible calling games, went to ownership behind Bowa's back. He had everything to do with the long
drought during his run here.

Gillick realized that and it was his first action to get rid of him, he knew how addition by subtraction would help the clubhouse. And it did.

BenJah said...

the problem with lieberthal is that he suffered a career altering injury exactly at the time he was becoming the player that everyone expected him to be. he really started to get a handle of the league and then hurt his knee and couldnt ever do what he and everyone else wanted from him. his clubhouse problems may have stemmed from that frustration.

furious: are you saying that veritek took (academic) performance enhancers in college??

Bob D said...

What kind of "test examples"?, Furiousball.

Lieberthal had a decent career with the Phils, unfortunately his last 2 years was below average and most think of that more than his solid D and above average hitting for a catcher. With Todd Pratt backing him up we had some good years of catching. Now Ruiz/Coste have given up some more good catching with Jaramillo, LaForest, and Marson waiting in the wings. The future looks good for the Phils at catching.

GM-Carson said...

Sadly enough, Lieberthal retires being the Phils best offensive catcher ever...mostly out of longevity, but also because Daulton didn't play enough and the Phils have had crappy catchers.

Mario is giving the peace sign, and since the post was titled "Peace out Lieberthal"...I went with it.

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