Sheff Checks Out

SheffieldHeadSo Gary Sheffield is calling it quits.

Had he not played for the Tigers, I wouldn’t give this much thought, but he did, so I do.

That’s because there’s been no other Tigers player in my lifetime that has left me wanting more than Sheff.

Sure it would’ve been nice to see something, anything from the likes of Edgar Renteria, Juan Gonzalez or Fernando Vina, but Gary Sheffield was a superstar at just about every stop in his career — and he was bringing his act to Detroit. This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

But a collision with Placido Polanco in July 2007 essentially ended what was shaping up to be a Sheff-like season: .265, 25 home runs and 75 RBI over 133 games. His OPS that season was a hefty (Shefty?) .819.

Alas, we were robbed of what could’ve been three of the most quote-rich years in club history.

In ’08, he appeared in 114 games and hit just .225 but still smacked 19 homers.

Sheffield finishes his career with 509 home runs, 1,676 RBIs and a .292 career batting average. He is 24th on the all-time home run list and 25th on the career RBIs list.

(snip)

Sheffield will be eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame after the 2014 season.

“I am sure it will be mentioned and debated but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame,” Sheffield told the newspaper. “A lot of them don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats.”

If Sheff had three full, healthy seasons in Detroit, the stats would’ve been more impressive than they already are.

As it was, this quote from him after the ’07 injury pretty much sums up his Tigers career:

“I can’t be myself,” Sheffield said. “Guys throwing 88 miles per hour, and I can’t do nothing with it.”

Even though he was always one perceived slight from becoming a team’s bad seed, he
was an exceptional player — even though we only saw glimpses in Detroit.

I think Gary Sheffield’s a Hall of Famer. Do you?

2009 Player Profile: Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield #3

  • Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 215
  • 2008 Stats: .225 – 19 HR – 57 RBI

SheffieldHead.jpgGary Sheffield entered the 2008 season looking to improve on a sub-par debut campaign in Detroit. A shoulder injury sustained in an outfield collision in ’07 required surgery and off-season rehab, and it slowed Sheffield at the plate during the season’s first two months. A left oblique strain landed him on the disabled list at the end of May, leaving little time for a strong first-half finish. Sheffield posted a .217 average and just five home runs before the All Star break.

The second half featured flashes of the power stroke – 14 homers in 220 at bats – that might eventually put Sheffield in the Hall of Fame. Tigers fans are still waiting for the Gary Sheffield of old to arrive in Detroit, but at age 39, they are in for a long wait. Still, he remains a dangerous presence in the lineup and at the plate, lashing pitches down in the zone and scorching line drives to the left side of the diamond.

Sheffield begins 2009 one home run shy of 500. If he can stay healthy, watch for this motivated veteran to make up for lost time – and hits.