It’s been a notable year of retirements for important players on the last two good Chicago Cubs teams. It started with Mark DeRosa, disproportionately beloved given his time with the Cubs, who retired a little less than one year ago. Given how well he performed with the Cubs, given that he was a big part of those playoff teams in 2007 and 2008, and given his magnetic personality, I can understand why fans have always hearted him.
And then there was Ryan Dempster, who took off last season before ultimately deciding to retire. I’ve said a great deal about Dempster this year already, so I won’t do it again here. Each of Dempster and DeRosa will be at the Cubs Convention, by the way.
Joining the two in retirement now, officially, is Alfonso Soriano. After 16 years in the big leagues, seven of which were spent in whole or part with the Cubs, Soriano is hanging ’em up at 38. A huge part of those 2007 and 2008 teams, Soriano will always hold a special place in the heart of Cubs fans who can get past the contract for which he became infamous (which, by the way, he totally earned).
Here’s hoping the Cubs are able to get Soriano back into the organization somehow, because he clearly had a way of connecting with young players, and his work ethic and attitude are some things you wouldn’t mind seeing rub off on everyone else.
For his career, Soriano finishes with a .270/.319/.500 line and 38.6 WAR. He was spotty defensively at second base, and didn’t take many walks, but the guy could rake (and he sprinkled in some nice defensive seasons in the outfield, too).