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Two-time All-Star Mike Hampton retires

Mar 26, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Mike Hampton AP

After allowing 12 runs on 18 hits and 11 walks over 9 2/3 innings as a non-roster invitee with the Diamondbacks this spring, veteran left-hander Mike Hampton has decided to retire.

According to Mark Bowman of, Hampton told Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson on Thursday that he was leaning towards retirement. He returned to camp this morning to inform them of his decision.

“It just wasn’t there,” Hampton said. “In fairness to them and fairness to myself I’m just done. It’s not a decision that’s easy to make. It’s not one you make overnight. It had been two weeks that different thoughts have been creeping in my head. Then all of the sudden I felt, I think this is going to be it.”

Hampton, 38, has been limited to just 56 games since the start of the 2005 season due to a laundry list of injuries. He returned from rotator cuff surgery to toss 4 1/3 scoreless innings with the Diamondbacks last September. Besides all of the injuries, we’ll probably remember Hampton best for an eight-year, $121 million contract that is considered one of the biggest free agent blunders in baseball history.

“It’s unfortunate,” Hampton said. “I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Shoot, when I sign a big contract, I want to be underpaid, not overpaid. Even though I wasn’t as successful as I would have liked to have been, it wasn’t from a lack of trying or lack of work or lack of want. I did everything in my power to be on the field and help my team win a World Series. I can look in the mirror and face the guy looking back and know he’s telling the truth.”

A two-time All-Star, Hampton calls it a career with 148-115 record and a 4.06 ERA over parts of 16 major league seasons with the Astros, Braves, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Mets and Mariners. He earned a Gold Glove Award in 2003, five Silver Slugger Awards and finished second in the NL Cy Young voting in 1999 after going 22-4 with a 2.90 ERA as a member of the Astros.

  1. Utley's Hair - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Wait…so, signing for $121 million, he wanted to be OVERpaid as opposed to UNDERpaid? Does that mean he had no intention of living up to the contract? Or was that a mistype? I hope to hell it was.

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      Upon re-reading the quote, I guess he actually did say that he would rather be overpaid—which I guess is human nature, though I would never admit to that. So, essentially he is saying that it’s not his fault that he inked his name on a contract and failed to live up to it. Now that’s class.

      • aramji55 - Mar 26, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        The source article has it the opposite way. Hampton actually says he’d rather be underpaid.

      • D.J. Short - Mar 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        The original article had it flip-flopped. Hampton isn’t a money-hungry jerk. He’s just a rich guy that got injured a lot.

      • Utley's Hair - Mar 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        Well, that restores some of my hope in humanity.

        Mike Hampton, if you’re reading this in your newfound free time, I wholeheartedly apologize.

        I usually read the links provided in cases where I am flabbergasted about what a guy may have done or said, but I neglected to do that this time.

  2. florida76 - Mar 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Hampton is a poster child for the flaws in the MLB economic system, where the players union has too much power. Guaranteed contracts are a joke, which often hamper clubs when that player gets injured. Hampton deserved to be cut loose when he proved he couldn’t fulfill his contract. Unbelievable.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 27, 2011 at 5:02 AM

      And players who over-perform their contracts, they should also have the right to demand an upward renegotiation, right? No?

      Funny, nobody ever seems to think that bargains should be a two-way street. Either we have guaranteed contracts, and there’s a chance that one side or the other will draw vastly more value from it than they provide, or we go with the Charley Finley plan, and only have one-year contracts.

  3. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 26, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I hope they have good schools wherever his retirement state is.

    • henryd3rd - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:09 AM

      The one time the Mets got a break. Too bad they didn’t get another one when it came to owners. Where are the Doubledays and the Paysons when you need them?

  4. Professor Longnose - Mar 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Retiring in spring training is sad.

  5. micker716 - Mar 26, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    12 runs on 18 hits and 11 walks over 9 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks? Shouldn’t he be their closer?

  6. BC - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Aw bleep!!!!!!
    Now my “When Will Mike Hampton Be Ruled Out For The Year” Pool is defunct.
    I need to start a new one. Anyone have any suggestions?

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 28, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      Carlos Beltran?

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