Despite his willingness to play another season, at 36-years old it might all be over for Nomar Garciaparra.
The six-time All-Star is currently on the outside looking in on the free agent market this winter, as no one has been calling for his services. Several reports have said that he’s planning to retire anyway, while others claim he’s actively looking for a job. Like Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas before him, Nomar might be the latest aging bat to take his final hacks with the Oakland Athletics.
It’s easy to forget the impact Garciaparra had in his first few seasons. With mounting injuries, his marriage to Mia Hamm and the perception that he was a whiner who wasn’t tough enough to be a clubhouse leader, his actual accomplishments were obscured. Though he may have been the anti-Jeter in more ways than one, Nomar was one of the best hitters in the American League at one point. He appeared to be the next great Red Sox player before being unceremoniously dumped on the Chicago Cubs.
He won back-to-back batting titles in 1999 and 2000, hitting .357 and .372 in those seasons respectively. He was a six-time All-Star (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006), won the Silver Slugger in 1997 and Rookie of the Year awards in 1997 and was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year in 2006.
In stints with the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and A’s over 14 seasons, Garciaparra has compiled a .313 career batting average, 229 home runs, 936 RBI, 1,747 hits and an .882 OPS.
Aside from giving us the one funny thing Jimmy Fallon has ever done (NOOOMAAAAHHHH!) – other than doing “Pants on the Ground” as Neil Young – Nomar will always be remembered as the guy who got traded, thus facilitating Boston’s first World Series championship in 86 years and the breaking of the “Curse of the Bambino.”
That’s a tough legacy, considering Garciaparra never got a World Series title of his own.