There Was Only One Sheriff in This Town
Peyton Manning, widely known as “The Sheriff” in the NFL, recently retired after winning his second Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. Manning wasn’t the first, and surely won’t be the last athlete to “go out on top” as athletes dream of the moment that Manning enjoyed.
Timing is everything when it comes to retirement, as a player wants to make as much money as they possibly can before leaving the sport that they love to compete in. However, they don’t want to drag out their careers to the point that everyone is sitting waiting for it to finally complete.
Some players decide in the spur of the moment that enough is enough after winning a championship to call it quits, and timing like that can’t really be argued with.
Listed below are other athletes that retired after winning a championship, followed by MLB players approaching the ends of their careers with chances of following suit.
The cohost of Live! with Kelly and Michael and football analyst for Fox NFL Sunday, won his first Super Bowl after the 2007 season in his 15th season (all with the New York Giants) and retired in the following off-season.
Strahan is also known for holding the single-season sack record with 22.5 in 2001 when he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year and being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2014.
“The Bus” as many know him, retired after the 2005 season after winning his first Super Bowl, in his first appearance, in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Bettis announced his retirement on the championship podium to the crowd following the game. Bettis was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2015.
Frequently referred to as “The Admiral” in the NBA, Robinson retired following the 2002-2003 season with a championship ring. Nicknamed after being the only NBA player from Navy, Robinson is a two-time champion and the mentor for Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.
Landon Donovan (MLS), Bobby Jones (Golf), John Elway (NFL), Ray Lewis (NFL), Joe Dimaggio (MLB), Tony LaRussa (MLB Coach), Bill Russell (NBA), Ned Jarrett (NASCAR)
MLB Players Retiring
There are several MLB baseball players retiring or could possibly retire following this season. Some have a chance for a run to the World Series. Let’s see who they are.
Big Papi’s Farewell Tour
David Ortiz, 40, has already formally announced that he will be one of the MLB players retiring following the 2016 season and Red Sox fans would be thrilled if he brought home one last World Series trophy. Ortiz was pivotal in bringing the city its first World Series trophy in 86 years in 2004, and followed with two more in 2007 and 2013.
The signing of David Price to his $217 million contract in the off-season and the core young outfielders emerging in Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts provide Boston with a solid chance at a deep run in this postseason. Red Sox fans just hope that Ortiz’s farewell tour isn’t similar to Derek Jeter’s.
The Old Workhorse
It has seemed as if Bartolo Colon has found the Fountain of Youth, as he is continuing to pitch into his 43rd birthday this season. Last year Colon went 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA as the end of rotation starter for the Mets and helped them to the World Series where they fell to the Kansas City Royals.
Colon has been known for his ability to eat up innings, and hopes to continue to do so in his 19th season for the Mets. Though he’s not the same pitcher that was once traded for Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and Cliff Lee, Colon has still proven to be an effective major league starter.
Colon resigned with the Mets for a one year, $7.25 million contract and the Mets have the pieces to bring Colon to the World Series for one last run. Colon may decide to come back for one more year, whether it be with the Mets or another team, but if the Mets make it back to the World Series and win, Colon would have the choice to retire on top or not.
Carlos Beltran, 38, is widely known for his postseason performances, as he is the all-time leader in OPS and stolen base percentage in the postseason. Beltran is entering his 19th season and the final year of his 3-year,-$45 million contract with the New York Yankees with hopes of a playoff run.
The New York Yankees have question marks all over their lineup and Beltran is one of them. After back-to-back sub-par seasons in New York, Yankees fans hope that they will see flashes of the old Beltran that commanded the $45 million contract. With age concerns regarding Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and CC Sabathia, injury concerns regarding Jacoby Ellsbury, Michael Pineda, and Masahiro Tanaka, and production concerns from Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, and Brian McCann, all signs point to Beltran being let down.
Then again, if everything went perfectly and the players play up to their massive contracts, the New York Yankees could provide Beltran with that ring he’s been searching two decades for. Otherwise, he’ll just join the list of MLB players retiring.
One Last Chase
Chase Utley, 37, was a longtime leader of the Philadelphia Phillies, and helped lead the team to a World Series victory in 2008, solidifying himself as a Philadelphia icon. The middle infield combo of Jimmy Rollins and himself was regarded as one of best of its time, until Rollins was traded to the L.A. Dodgers in 2014.
Utley found himself following Rollins to L.A. after a poor start to his 2015 campaign led the Phillies to trade him away for Darnell Sweeney and John Richy.
The Dodgers have a strong lineup and pitching rotation that could prove to be dangerous in the NL West and the latter parts of the postseason. Utley is under contract for 2016 for $7 million and is a unrestricted free agent next year posing the questions of whether or not he’ll be one of the MLB players retiring.
The Asian Sensation
Ichiro Suzuki, 42, has amazed the major leagues with his abilities, but has diminished in production the last four years. Under contract for 2016 for a push towards 3000 hits, it would be special if Ichiro gained his first ring as well in what is expected to be his last season. Ichiro’s only hope is that Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton pull the majority of the teams weight and the young players perform above expectations to make a run like the 2003 Marlins that beat the Yankees in the World Series. Otherwise, Ichiro will be one of the MLB players retiring.
The Dark Horse
Joe Nathan, 41, is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery that at his age is likely career-ending, but Nathan has expressed desire to play again. If he can recover by the end of the 2016 season, many teams would express interest to bolster their bullpen for a postseason run. Then again, Nathan has to recover first. If not, he could be one of the MLB players retiring at the end of the season.
CC Sabathia – New York Yankees (35) – 2017 $5 million buyout that will most likely be exercised due to his lack of production, degenerative knee, and left shoulder problems.
Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers (36) – Unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but will likely try to continue to play unless production diminishes.
A.J. Pierzynski – Atlanta Braves (39) – Reduced playing time in Atlanta and playing time bonuses attached to his $3 million contract display the end of a storied career.
David Ross – Chicago Cubs (38) – Old reliable backstop is hoping to get one more ring under his belt before leaving.