June 2, 1986
Officially ending his Hall of Fame career about six months after MLB owners did it for him, Rod Carew announced his retirement. A victim of collusion after the 1985 season, Carew failed to get any suitable offers for what would have been his age-40 campaign. Nine years later, he’d be awarded $782,000 in damages for his lost wages.
Carew finished his career hitting .280/.371/.345 in 127 games for the Angels in 1985. It was the only one of his 19 seasons in which he wasn’t named to the AL All-Star team. On Aug. 4, 1985, he became the 16th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits. He ended his career at 3,053.
Carew hit .328/.393/.429 with 92 homers and 1,015 RBI in 12 seasons with the Twins and seven with the Angels. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1967 and its MVP in 1977, when he hit .388/.449/.570 and drove in 100 runs for the only time in his career. He ended up winning seven batting titles and finishing first in the AL in the OBP four times. Both the Twins and the Angels retired his number 29.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.