NEVER FORGET THOSE LAST MAGNIFICENT SEASONS OF WALKING TO FIRST BASE MORE OFTEN THAN HE RAN THERE
“I still could play right now, but with this body and I’m 41. I can walk away and say I was just as good at the end as I was at the beginning, probably better because I was much smarter. It’s just one of those things that you can’t play forever.”
-Former MLB first baseman Frank Thomas, officially announcing his retirement this week.
“Our conversation was as warm as they all have been over the years. People think we had a rocky relationship, but we haven’t.”
-Thomas, on his relationship with the owner of the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf.
“Everyone who enjoyed watching Frank Thomas perform during his outstanding career with the White Sox quickly realized we were watching one of the greatest offensive players of all time, a player destined to re-write our club’s record books.”
-White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf
“People told me you’ll know when it’s really over. Physically, I still can do it, but mentally, I’m not there anymore to play. I’ve been away 14 months, spending time with my family. It shows you there are things more important than being an entertainer out on the field.”
“When your career comes to an end and your body of work is compared to Hall of Famers like Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams, you truly rank among baseball royalty.”
-Reinsdorf (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
WE CAN ONLY REGRET WE DIDN’T HAVE SIERA WHILE THIS GUY WAS DEALING
“It’s hard to narrow in on one thing that was so much better than the others. When you look at the whole body of work, not just from a personal standpoint. You look at 1987 and I lost 17 games, and we lost 100 games. We lost 100 games for three years, and then you look up and – boom – all those flags are hanging from the rafters. I mean, it’s pretty remarkable.”
-Former MLB starter Tom Glavine, retiring last week, on his favorite moments in the game.
“He was the spokesman for the players during the strike of 1994 and ’95, and I was the spokesman for the owners. We worked very hard to keep it professional and not let it get personal. It was a very difficult time for both of us. We managed to [keep it professional]. Sometimes we would fly to meetings and fly home from meetings together. We were able to do our jobs without getting personal in our relationship.”
–Nationals president Stan Kasten, on the time he spent with Tom Glavine.
“While I want to at least get my foot in the door with the game of baseball on the business side of it, as opposed to being a player, quite honestly I’m not sure what I want to do. There’s a lot of things that interest me, broadcasting being one of them. So this opportunity we’ve come up with gives me a tremendous amount of flexibility to experience a number of things in the organization.”
“One of the biggest things I learned pitching with Glavine was to realize you don’t have to be 100 percent to win. You have to take the ball and you have to go out there. That’s what he taught me. Sometimes it’s really easy to say, ‘I need another day or two.’ But in Atlanta, we pitched.”
-Former Braves starter Greg Maddux (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
AND ALL 32 OWNERS SENT HIM THE CUTEST THANK-YOU VALENTINES
“It did come down to the wire. As I told Timmy all those times before, when he was trying to decide about going to college and after he got drafted, it always comes down to Timmy, and he made the last choice.”
–Tim Lincecum‘s father Chris Lincecum, on his son accepting a two-year contract from the Giants that avoids the arbitration process until 2012.
“I’m very happy for Timmy. He worked hard for the things that he has achieved so early in his career. I’m looking forward to being able to play alongside him in the future.”
-Giants starter Matt Cain, on his teammate’s agreement.
“It’s a win-win for both sides. I had no idea. I was not expecting a settlement at all. I don’t know what changed. It’s always ideal to have something both agree to as opposed to a third party figuring it out.”
-Vice president of Giants baseball operations Bobby Evans (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)
HE BASICALLY STOLE SECOND ON GOD
“I stopped doing my Bible study, I stopped praying, I stopped doing those things for three weeks and thought I could have a drink. It didn’t work out too well.”
“Before I left the game, my priority was baseball, and that’s it. That almost cost me everything-baseball, my family. When I recommitted my life to Christ after my lowest point, my priorities were God first, family, and baseball.”
“He wants to come back and be the ballplayer he knows he can be, and we certainly need him to do that. He doesn’t have to be a 30-home-run man. He doesn’t have to be a 125-RBI man. Just contribute.”
-Rangers manager Ron Washington, on his expectations for Hamilton in 2010.
“When you have God first, now everything else will balance out the way it’s supposed to be. That’s my recovery. That’s what works.”
-Hamilton (Jeff Wilson, Fort-Worth Star Telegram)
ARE YOU SURE IT WASN’T JOHAN’S ELBOW THAT WAS WARM AND TINGLY?
“It does make you a little warm and tingly all over. He’s getting the extension he wasn’t getting last year. It makes you feel really good.”
–Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, on the recovery of Johan Santana.
“We have to get our fans back, and these guys are here to make sure we get it done.”
“I thought we left spring training with the best pitching staff last year, or at least the best two or three. … I know Omar and all of them are trying their best to give us the best team.”
IT’S JUST A COINCIDENCE THAT HE’S VOICING THESE REGRETS AROUND VALENTINE’S DAY
“I love Johnny. I don’t appreciate, obviously, Scott’s representation of the events, because we just had a different opinion, that’s all. When I saw he said we never made an offer, he knows that wasn’t the case.”>
–Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on the debate over who spurned who in the Yankees’ negotiations with outfielder Johnny Damon.
“I get it. I understand what’s going on. It’s spin doctoring, damage control. Scott and I are fine, Johnny and I are fine. Things with Johnny basically ended for us a month ago. There’s no bad blood. Scott is a tremendous agent and we’ll do business again. We might disagree. It won’t be the first time. I don’t need to call Scott about it and Scott doesn’t need to call me about it.”
“I wish he was on the Yankees. He will help someone, no doubt. If I was an opposing GM and I had the money, I’d sign him. He’s a winner. But the bottom line is, the value he wanted and what we assessed were different. I hope he gets his number. I hope he doesn’t get a number we would’ve accepted, because that would hurt. That would make it disappointing for me because that’ll mean he should’ve been here.”
-Cashman (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
“I don’t know what our greatest need is today. As we move forward and get into spring, we should have a better idea of what that might be. It may be nothing. But it usually is always something, and more than something.”
–Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak (Matthew Leach, MLB.com)
“We have somebody who can play a good right field at Fenway Park, which is hard to find, and get on base at a really high level and hit for power. That’s a rare combination, someone who could hit in the middle of our lineup and play that position. So it’s a valuable asset to the club. He’s done a really good job since he’s been here. I think a lot of times there’s a tendency to pigeonhole players or label them based on things we think we know about them by the way they act. Then in J.D.’s case, you combine that with the fact that his game, the things that he does extraordinarily well, which actually really help teams win, are subtle. Home runs and RBIs, just to keep it in the most basic terms that are really obvious to people, everyone wants to say, ‘Oh, this guy is 30 and 100.’ The fact that J.D. is going to have close to a .400 on-base percentage, close to a .500 slugging percentage, no one talks about that.”
–Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on right fielder J.D. Drew. Drew hit .316/.414/.584 after the All-Star break last season. (Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe)
“We’re disappointed. While it appears this may have been the result of taking a legal drug, it demonstrates poor judgement that Danny didn’t let us know he needed a TUE, and that violates MLB’s program. It’s a setback, as he appeared ready for a strong year beginning in Frisco’s rotation. With hard work, that’s still possible.”
-Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on the 50-game suspension levied on right-hander Danny Gutierrez for testing positive for adderall. (Richard Durrett, ESPN.com)
“I don’t think Pedro did anything wrong. A lot of people said he threw an old man down. I’ll be honest with you. I went after him. I wanted to get in his head, in his chest, bowl him over. As it is, my legs gave out.”
-Rays adviser Don Zimmer, on his brawl with Pedro Martinez in the 2003 ALCS. (Mike’d Up, WFAN.com)
“It’s not noticeable to me, but it may be noticeable to the people around me. My wife says I fall asleep anytime, anywhere.”
-Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron, on fallout from his concussions. (WFAN.com)
“I know personally what a lot of guys do, and I know it’s not this. I’m not saying nothing bad about other people, but I just like to kind of take myself a little further sometimes.”
–Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carl Crawford, on his off-season workout regimen. (Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.