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Carlos Lee retires after 14 seasons and 358 homers

Jun 21, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT

Image (1) Carlos%20Lee%20waving.jpg for post 6503

Carlos Lee, who played last year with the Astros and Marlins, has announced his retirement at age 37 after 14 seasons in the majors.

Lee came up with the White Sox as a 23-year-old in 1999 and the man nicknamed “El Caballo” by Hawk Harrelson also played for the Brewers, Rangers Astros, and Marlins. He made three straight All-Star teams from 2005-2007, hit .285 with 358 homers and an .821 OPS in 2,099 games overall, and earned more than $130 million.

A rare power hitter who never struck out 100 times, Lee had five consecutive 30-homer seasons and 11 consecutive 20-homer seasons. He also stole double-digit bases in seven seasons despite looking like the last person you’d expect to do any running and was very durable, playing at least 140 games in all but one of his full seasons.

Among all right-handed hitters since 1990 he ranks 12th in RBIs, 15th in total bases, 16th in extra-base hits, 17th in hits, and 18th in homers, although Lee falls to 67th in Wins Above Replacement because defensive metrics show him as significantly below average in the outfield.

  1. dboydc - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Congrats to you El Caballo. I loved watching you in a Stros uniform. Thanks for all the memories

    • stex52 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      A talented and smart hitter. He was one of the best I ever saw at shortening up the power swing to go to the opposite field on a 1-2 or 0-2 count. His contract got dinged a lot, but the problem with the Astros in those years was a general decay of an aging team, not Carlos. The man loved to play and was fun to watch. And he played well, too.

      I guess he’ll be a neighbor full time down the road in Wharton, now.

  2. BPKay - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    #83 all time for grounding into double plays.

  3. deepflakes - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Great player — I was a little surprised he didn’t get signed this year, but a nice career for Carlos. As a Twins fan, was glad when he lef the ChiSox.

    • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      He pretty much said last season that he was going to retire and spend his time with his family and learning to be a better rancher. His retirement was well earned, and it was nice to have a classy guy like that finish off his career with the Feesh, where “class,” to the extent it existed at all, was limited to the clubhouse.

  4. paperlions - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Any time I heard him called “El Caballo”, all I could think about was a South American dish called “bife al caballo” that is popular in rural Paraguay. Mmmm.

    • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      “I can find job satisfaction in Paraguay.”
      – Juan Peron in Evita

      Yep, and you can find rumors of oil – not to mention fossils of dinosaurs that haven’t been named yet and, if you’re really into them, blue-crowned parakeets – out in the Chaco. I know of no recipes for blue crowned parakeets, which, on a dinnerplate, are indistinguishable from flat-chested quail.

      • paperlions - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        Most content I’ve ever been was running around the Paraguayan chaco doing mammal survey work. 12-14 day trips, wouldn’t see another soul on some trips, como dicen, “No hay gente por alli, solomente soldados y indigenos”….and not many of them.

      • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        Mammal surveys in a region with no women? How many of them did you count? I sure hope that whatever it was, it was an even number. Learn any Guarani?

      • paperlions - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        Guarani is freaking hard. I learned (and still remember) the names of a lot of animals, how to say things like boy, girl, man, woman, and important things like “there is ____”, “let’s eat”, and “it’s hot”, fire, tree, water, earth and such basics….but man, the grammar is a disaster. I learned Spanish on the fly, which really only took about 4 months since I was culturally embedded and had a bilingual person to ask questions about translations so I could learn faster…..Guarani was just too far out there…it’s like a foreign language.

      • paperlions - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Every time in the field (i.e. not in Asuncion), I saw a woman I that I thought was hot, I got slapped/hit by one of my female co-workers…she would inevitably say “she’s 14 (or 15)”, and if I asked for confirmation from my Paraguayan male collaborators, they would confirm that the guess was pretty close….but they didn’t see why that was a problem.

  5. Bob - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Good hitter, good two-strike hitter. No range whatsoever, but if the ball was hit to him or near him, he would make a decent effort to catch it. Epitome of a designated hitter, which is why it’s a shame he couldn’t end his career in the AL.

    • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      It’s a shame he never learned to run better. Finishing up as a designated hitter is like Pu Yi finishing up as a local gardener.

      • Matt S - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Amen for the Pu Yi reference. Well played, well played.

  6. kollin7 - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Can someone get the audio of Bob Uecker making horse noises after Carlos Lee hit a home-run?

  7. valarmorghuliss - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Jack Morris and Andy Pettitte thinks Carlos is a Hall of Famer

  8. seanmk - Jun 21, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Carlos lee was also the batter at the plate in “the wire” season 3 when bunk and jimmy went to the orioles game.

  9. 27xwschamps - Jun 22, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Adios amigo !!!

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