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Gregg Zaun to retire

Mar 7, 2011, 8:22 AM EDT

Gregg Zaun AP

Spring Training is usually thought of as a time for renewal, but there are always a handful of downer stories too. I think “cool catcher like Gregg Zaun retiring” qualifies as a downer. Sportsnet Ontario:

Sportsnet has learned that San Diego Padres catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire from Major League Baseball.

Zaun is expected to officially announce his retirement Monday.

The 39-year-old catcher played 1232 games in his Major League career, posting a career batting average of .252, with 88 home runs and 446 RBI.

That 39-year-old catcher actually turns 40 next month. And he missed most of last season following June shoulder surgery.  That said, if healthy and able, he stood to be a better option for the Padres than Nick Hundley did. It’s probably safe to assume, however, that at his age and with his shoulder, he was no longer healthy and able. And even if he was, he was obviously no longer willing.

It’s always amazing to me that, despite being the position in which guys take, by far, the biggest physical beating, if you have an old dude on your team, it’s more than likely that he’s a catcher. It speaks to the fact that catching is a place where fine-honed skills and brains count for hell of a lot.  Zaun certainly had both.

And of course, he also had Z-Game.

Fare thee well, Gregg.

  1. westtribetobe - Mar 7, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    I think I speak for the entire baseball fan community when I say THANK GOD

  2. proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    Zaun has a future in broadcasting. He has often appeared as a playoff analyst in Canada for Sportsnet. I am not surprised that they got the news first.

    • missthemexpos - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

      Enjoyed the Z man as a player with the Jays, and after leaving the Jays found him to be a natural in the broadcast booth covering the playoffs. Zaun was able to offer great insight in the pitcher/catcher combination of came calling.

      • cur68 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:02 AM

        I saw him a lot, too, with the Blue Jays. He was one of the reasons AJ Burnett did rather well with them. A savvy catcher and he could apparently read minds; he always seemed to know when a guy was going to steal. Not that he could always make the throw, mind you, but he was never surprised that much. You could tell by the look of disappointment on his mask as the ball dribbled up to 2nd base. Sigh. Wish he was 10 years younger and still with the Jays. I see him as a future manager.

  3. genericcommenter - Mar 7, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Rick Dempsey’s nephew put together a nice career.

  4. The Common Man/ - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Poor Gregg Zaun, can’t even generate enough respect from Craig to get his name spelled right in the headline. 😉

    • The Common Man/ - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      Whew! Crisis averted.

  5. micker716 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    “if healthy and able, he stood to be a better option for the Padres than Nick Hundley did.”
    Umm, what? Hundley might not be Yogi Berrra, but he’s still young and has improved offensively and defensively every season. Zaun was just a non-roster invitee called in to compete with Rob Johnson for the back-up slot.

    • spindervish - Mar 7, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      Craig has little need for minor details like that. He’s very meta about this whole baseball thing, you know. What, you expect a professional baseball blogger to know the intricacies of the roster of an irrelevant NL West team? He’s a busy man, what with all that “moist-hoisting” on NBC’s tab.

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