Skip to content

Report: Nick Johnson chooses retirement at age 34

Jan 28, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

nick johnson getty Getty Images

Former Yankees, Nationals and Orioles first baseman Nick Johnson, one of the great what-ifs of the last 15 years, has opted for retirement, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports.

A phenomenal hitting talent, Johnson missed his first full season in the Yankees system before even arriving in the majors. He hit .345/.525/.548 in 132 games in Double-A in 1999, then sat out 2000 because of a wrist injury that required surgery. He debuted with the Bombers in 2001, but he struggled to establish himself as he continued to deal with wrist problems. After he hit .284/.422/.472 in 96 games as a 24-year-old in 2003, the Yankees traded him, Juan Rivera and Randy Choate to the Expos for Javier Vazquez.

Johnson played 4 1/2 seasons for the Expo-Nats and had his best year in 2006, hitting .290/.428/.520 with a career-high 23 homers and 77 RBI in 147 games. Unfortunately, his season ended on Sept. 23, when he suffered a broken leg in a collision with Austin Kearns. He went on to miss the entire 2007 campaign, and although he returned in 2008, he played in just 38 games then due to a torn wrist ligament.

Johnson’s last hurrah came in 2009, when he hit .291/426/.405 in 133 games for the Nationals and Marlins. He finished second in the NL in OBP to Albert Pujols. After that, he played in 24 games with the Yankees in 2010, missed the 2011 season and then played in 38 games with the Orioles last year.

Johnson, now 34, finishes his career with a .268/.399/.441 line in 2,698 at-bats over 10 seasons. That .399 OBP is 62nd all-time for players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. Had Johnson been able to avoid his initial wrist problems and stay relatively healthy, it’s pretty easy to imagine him putting together a career in which he had a few .300 seasons, several top-three finishes in OBP and maybe 300 homers over 15-18 seasons. Maybe that’s not a Hall of Famer, but with the possible .420 OBP, some would have argued for him.

Latest Posts
  1. Giants release infielder Everth Cabrera

    Sep 2, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Everth Cabrera Everth Cabrera

    Cabrera signed a minor league deal with San Francisco in mid-July after getting released by the Orioles.

  2. Mike Rizzo thinks Matt Williams “pushed all the right buttons” last night

    Sep 2, 2015, 5:43 PM EDT

    Mike Rizzo Getty Images

    He said the job he did was “masterful.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  3. Cardinals skip Michael Wacha from start to limit innings

    Sep 2, 2015, 5:07 PM EDT

    wacha getty Getty Images

    Left-hander Tyler Lyons will start in Wacha’s place against the Nationals.

  4. Bat Flipping in Korea: not-so-serious business

    Sep 2, 2015, 12:43 PM EDT

    Puig Bat Flip

    And, I would guess, it wont be such serious business here after a few years either.

  5. The Marlins are going to change everything except their biggest problem this offseason

    Sep 2, 2015, 11:31 AM EDT

    jeffrey loria getty Getty Images

    Of course their biggest problem is not going anyplace, as he owns the team.

  6. Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi disagree on whether A-Rod should play first base

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Alex Rodriguez

    A picture of A-Rod from yesterday — not this one — seems to be the tiebreaker here.

  7. Elvis Andrus stole home. On a straight steal. Not one of those BS double steals

    Sep 2, 2015, 9:51 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.49.09 AM

    He caught Kevin Quackenbush napping. Almost literally napping.

  8. Ryan Goins had himself a good night

    Sep 2, 2015, 9:37 AM EDT

    Ryan Goins Getty Getty Images

    A great catch and an extra innings walkoff homer.

  9. Settling the Scores: Tuesday’s results

    Sep 2, 2015, 7:04 AM EDT

    Zack Greinke AP

    Was this a . . . statement game?

  10. Twins GM Terry Ryan noncommittal about callup of top pitching prospect Jose Berrios

    Sep 1, 2015, 11:34 PM EDT

    jose berrios getty Getty Images

    Would it endanger or enlighten Berrios’ career to give him a few starts in a postseason race?

  11. Cal Ripken Jr. throws out first pitch on 20th anniversary of breaking Lou Gehrig’s record

    Sep 1, 2015, 10:49 PM EDT

    Cal Ripken Jr AP

    It was Cal Ripken Jr. Night on Tuesday at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, with the Orioles celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ripken taking over Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played …

  12. Giancarlo Stanton now doubtful to return Friday

    Sep 1, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Giancarlo Stanton AP

    Stanton has been on the disabled list since June 27 because of a broken hamate bone in his right hand.

  13. Video: Manny Machado becomes youngest player in Orioles history to reach 100 doubles

    Sep 1, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    And he did it on the night the O’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2772)
  2. C. Correa (2620)
  3. Y. Puig (2618)
  4. G. Springer (2579)
  5. H. Ramirez (2503)
  1. B. Crawford (2491)
  2. H. Pence (2398)
  3. M. Teixeira (2328)
  4. J. Hamilton (2289)
  5. J. Baez (2271)