Magglio Ordonez went 3-for-3 today in the Tigers' victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS, but he almost didn't have the opportunity to do so. The longtime Tiger told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that he almost retired a few months ago due to lingering issues in his surgically-repaired right ankle.
"When I was playing, I didn't enjoy the game," he said. "And I play with my heart."
Ordonez told Knobler he "almost hung it up" at that point. However, he talked with his family and decided to stick with it. As Knobler points out, Ordonez hit .365/.377/.459 over his final 21 games. The power that made Ordonez such a terror to his opponents in the early and mid-2000s is no longer there, but the 37-year-old now says his ankle feels "normal" like it did before the injury.
Ordonez debuted with the White Sox in 1997 and played there from age 23-30, but joined the rival Tigers as a free agent only to see Chicago win it all in its first year without him. Now, his persistence has positioned him for another shot at a World Series title. He won't sign another eight-figure contract like last offseason's one-year, $10MM deal with the Tigers if he decides he can play again in 2012, but that's probably the last thing on the veteran's mind right now.