Carlos Delgado: Potential Future Hall-of-Famer Officially Calls It a Career

Jason Lempert@MetsPride84Correspondent IApril 13, 2011

Carlos Delgado announced his retirement from baseball on Wednesday.
Carlos Delgado announced his retirement from baseball on Wednesday.M. David Leeds/Getty Images

Yes, Manny Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend.

But Wednesday, another slugger officially announced his career was over—Carlos Delgado. reported that Delgado announced his retirement at a news conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For well over a decade, Delgado was one of the premier hitters in all of baseball. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent in 1988 by the Toronto Blue Jays at the ripe age of 16. About five years later, he made his Major League debut as a cup of coffee with the Jays.

He spent the '94 and '95 seasons bouncing back and forth between the minor and major leagues. But the slugging first baseman (who originally came up as an outfielder) had his first breakout season in 1996, when he smacked 25 home runs and drove in 92 runs in 563 at-bats.

That was only the beginning.

Over the course of the next eight seasons in Toronto, Delgado would go on to hit 299 more home runs, was a two-time All-Star and a three-time Silver Slugger winner. He is still the last Major Leaguer to belt four home runs in a single game—a feat he accomplished in 2003.

He had a career-high 42 home runs that year, on his way to being the runner-up for the American League MVP (he lost to Alex Rodriguez).

The 2004 season would be his last with the Jays. In January of '05, he signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Florida Marlins. Despite having a good year in Miami, the cost-cutting Marlins traded Delgado to the division rival New York Mets after the '05 season.

In return, the Mets sent three prospects, the highlight piece being Mike Jacobs.

Delgado joined an already powerful Mets lineup, one that included David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd. Delgado's first season in New York would bring the Mets one win shy of the National League pennant.

The power numbers remained at a constant pace for Delgado. Between 2006-2008, he averaged 33 home runs and 105 RBI for the Mets. In a June 27 game against the cross-town rival Yankees, Delgado drove in nine runs en route to 15-6 whopping.

But his success came to a screeching halt in 2009. Delgado, who had always been a constant cog in any lineup, reached at least 500 at-bats in each season after his breakout '96 campaign.

That is, until '09, when he only appeared in 26 games for the Mets.

He underwent surgery on his bothersome right hip in May, which forced him to miss the remainder of the season. He has not played a Major League game since. Delgado attempted a comeback in 2010, playing in five games for Boston's Triple-A affiliate.

But after undergoing two more hip surgeries in hopes of a clean bill of health, he has decided to hang 'em up.

Delgado, who has been regarded as one of the nice guys around the game, finishes his career with 473 home runs, good for 30th all-time and most ever by a Puerto Rican-natve. He is still the Blue Jays' all-time leader in home runs (336), RBI (1,058) and several other offensive categories.

His name never openly appeared in any steroid talk over his 17-year career. And although the 38-year old has never won a World Series ring or was never a league MVP, he could find himself enshrined in Cooperstown before all is said and done.