Jeff Suppan, a veteran of seven teams but best known for his 2006 NLCS MVP award with the St. Louis Cardinals, announced his retirement yesterday.
A second round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 1993 draft, Suppan pitched in the bigs for 17 seasons, amassing a record of 140-146 with a 4.70 ERA, 1,390 strikeouts and 871 walks in 2542.2 innings. All but 31 of his 448 career games came as a starter. After spending the early part of his career in Boston he made stops in Arizona, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, another brief stop in Boston, St. Louis, Milwaukee, back to St. Louis and finishing his career in 2012 with the Padres.
Suppan gave a statement yesterday:
“After 17 Major League seasons, I’ve squeezed everything out of my ability,” Suppan said. “I am both honored and blessed to have played the game with some of the greatest teammates and coaches. Baseball will always hold a special place in my heart and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
To his credit, he probably squeezed more out of his ability than most guys of similar ability do, as his 17 years in the majors attest.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.