Baseball has its fair share of class acts, and on Saturday, Baseball sees one of those acts take that proverbial ride into the sunset. Michael Cuddyer, age 36, called it a career.
Cuddyer was selected 9th overall by the Twins in 1997. He dominated the minor leagues and in 2002, when named to the postseason roster, hit over .300 against the Oakland A’s and Anahiem Angels. Cuddyer would continue to be a staple for the Twins in the infield and outfield for years. He grew close to Twins legend Harmon Killebrew, who sadly passed away when Cuddyer left. He was named to his first All Star team by managers choice in 2011. He left the Twins that same year.
He signed on with the Rockies in December 2011. He wore number 3 to honor Killebrew. Cuddyer set the world on fire in 2013, going on a 27-game hitting streak. He was also named to his second All Star Game and won the National League batting title that year, hitting .331. He hit for the cycle the following year, becoming the 30th player to do so more than once and just the third player to do it in both leagues.
Then, he signed with the Mets. A two year contract that I’m sure he fully intended to play through. However, 2015 was the year that injuries plagued him. He had stomach surgery, wrist tendinitis, a bruised left knee, and a sports hernia. He was due to make $12.5M in 2016. Mets GM Sandy Alderson released this statement:
“As everybody knows, Michael throughout his 15 Major League seasons has been a complete pro. He embodies and defines what the word “professional” means — on and off the field.
While battling injuries this past season, he was one of our team’s true leaders in the clubhouse, playing a significant role in our National League Championship. He leaves an indelible, positive impact on our organization.
We salute Michael on his career and thank him for his contributions to our success in 2015. We wish him, Claudia and their kids all the health and happiness.”
Cuddyer will most likely be remembered as an outfielder who had a great career. But, he was more than that. He, as Sandy said, embodies the term “professional”. He was a classy person and let nothing deter him, even a childhood virus that leaves him deaf in his left ear. He does not even classify himself as hearing impaired.
Congratulations Michael. You had a hell of a career. I, along with everyone else here at The Athletes Hub, wish you the best in your future endeavors, even though you probably won’t read this.