Skip to content

The ten worst career-ending performances

Sep 26, 2011, 11:01 AM EDT

Eddie Murray Dodgers

Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times makes the best lists. No, they may not get the kind of traffic that lists like “the 101 hottest wives and girlfriends of relief pitchers” get, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy.

Today’s list: the ten worst career-ending performances of all time. Specifically, the worst final games of guys who were otherwise awesome. No, the list doesn’t purport to make some grand assessment — the fact that Yogi Berra struck out three times in a game in the mid-60s means nothing for him as a player — but it is worth noting that not every Hall of Famer ends his career Ted Williams-style. And it’s kind of fun to remember where some of these dudes ended up playing at the end, both geographically and existentially. Everyone likes to remember Bob Gibson on top of some tall mound in the 1960s. The image of him ending in the mid-70s while wearing double-knits isn’t one that readily computes.

Like with most of Chris’ work, the background and story is more interesting than the list entry itself. What can he do? Dude’s a historian, and that’s just how good historians roll.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Palmiero #10? I thought his career was stricken from the record books?

    I love Eddie Murray’s WPA change on his last at bat…DP with the bases loaded down a run in the 9th with 1 out. LOL.

  2. nolanwiffle - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    If I’m Ellsbury, I retire this morning……if only to avoid the ignominy.

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    “…a grand slam by pinch-hitter Pete LaCock.”

    I can’t believe the content filter in my office let me read that at work!

  4. Francisco (FC) - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    I must protest #6. If their teammates don’t get on base, then those ground balls aren’t double plays. I thought we clearly established that a batter has no control of the men who get on base before him :)

  5. plmathfoto - Sep 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Honorable mention should go to Mickey Mantle, although I’m not sure about his last game, but he hung on just long enough to go below .300 for his career.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      He want 0 for 1 with a pop out to SS. He was replaced after the first inning by Andy Kosco. He managed a 142 OPS+ his final season in the offensive wasteland that was the 1968 season. His .782 OPS ranked 9th(!!!!) that year.

  6. dihigosghost - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    The Dude’s a historian, can’t he find something more positive and uplifting than the last gasps of dying ballplayers. We all get old, why not remember our best moments instead of our worst.

    • Detroit Michael - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:30 PM

      If you didn’t like the article’s premise, all you have to read is the headline and then move on. Let Chris Jaffe decide what Chris Jaffe wants to write about.

      • dihigosghost - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        I didn’t read the article, didn’t have to. If you like going to funerals, so be it, to each their own. I would rather read about human success stories than failures.

  7. Francisco (FC) - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    This comment should cater to Craig’s origins since it’s about lawyers, albeit fictional ones. In the dramedy Boston Legal, William Shatner’s character Denny Crane, is a famous lawyer known for his epic courtroom battles, having “never lost a case”. However since the beginning of the series he’s only a shadow of his former self, a prop if you will. The onset of old age and possible Alzheimer’s disease mean he can’t really focus anymore or argue cases.

    In one of the best lines I’ve ever heard a character utter in TV, Denny Crane is sitting by the sidewalk in front of the building his law firm operates with a fishing pole in an open sewer, and the younger seasoned veteran lawyer (and best friend) Alan Shore walks by and asks his partner what the heck is he doing there sitting. His answer:

    “You know, if God takes away your abilities and your greatness, the least he could do is also take away your memories of being great…”

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:45 PM


Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2634)
  2. G. Stanton (2574)
  3. D. Span (2433)
  4. Y. Puig (2412)
  5. B. Crawford (2334)