Sometimes, notable players finish out their careers on farewell tours. Other times, they issue formal announcements with varying levels of fanfare. And then there are those that just don’t show up for a while. Some end up returning just when you were beginning to wonder if it was all over … then go through the process again, perhaps with a different result.
We often find ourselves wondering what happened to certain players whose careers didn’t have firm end points. Here are updates on two of them:
- Last we covered him on this site, long-time reliever Huston Street was still in the rumor mill. Evidently, we missed this strong hint that his playing days were over, so we’ll make amends by pointing our readers to this fun read on Street’s life in retirement from Pedro Moura of The Athletic (subscription link). So, what does a former closer do when he can’t tap into high-leverage situations for his adrenaline fix? Moura writes: “The best thing about retirement, [Street] said, is the infinite tank of energy he possesses. The challenge is finding places to exhaust it.” Whether he’s wheeling and dealing on real estate, pursuing other business ideas, or engaging in some late-night online gaming, Street certainly has not doused his competitive fire.
- While Street is comfortable saying he’s done with playing the game, shortstop J.J. Hardy is still keeping the door cracked. As The Athletic’s Dan Connolly writes (subscription link), Hardy isn’t exactly pushing to re-launch his career. But he also isn’t ready to file his retirement papers. “I guess it would probably take a lot, but I’m not going to go out there and say that I’m completely done,” says the 36-year-old. At the moment, Hardy is putting much more of his energy into the pursuit of woodworking than baseball — though there is some crossover. His first big project was a Lou Gehrig-themed guitar, auctioned off to benefit an ALS charity. If Hardy doesn’t end up putting down his chisel and picking up his ballglove, he’ll finish up a playing career that spanned 13 seasons (2005-17) with three organizations (the Twins, Brewers, and Orioles). At his best, Hardy was not only one of the finest defenders in the game, but featured impressive home run power. He socked more than twenty long balls in five seasons.
JJ makes me hardy
hardy hardy har.
I also choose to forget JJ’s time with the Twins,and their foolish decision to replace him with Nishioka.
Yeah I don’t know how I whiffed on that … need more coffee.
Seriously, I see posts from you all through last night. Take a nap
It was impressive work by the Twins to trade Johan Santana all the way down to $20,000.
Johan Santana – > Carlos Gomez
Carlos Gomez -> J.J. Hardy
J.J. Hardy .-> Jim Hoey
Jim Hoey -> $20k waivers to Blue Jays
Hardy was a good fit in Baltimore. Hit for power and outstanding glove in one of the best defensive infields ever seen.
dimitrios in la
Terrific fit in Baltimore—a great pickup for some successful clubs.
Mets should get him. They need a vertern like him to break through
He’s obviously never going to get in but Street at least deserves Hall Of Fame consideration and would probably get votes on a weak ballot.
Ya, since Trevor Hoffman took three years to squeak in, I’m guessing Street doesn’t even make it to a second ballot. Not hating, he was an effective reliever for a long time, but the HOF bar for closers is very, very high for whatever reason.
Injuries got him.
The hall of fame is already becoming the Hall of Good players. I dont care how much people argue this but of Pablo Sandoval is a hall of famer i give up.
Pablo Sandoval isn’t even in the Hall of Good players. Great guy but he’ll only be on the ballot for one year regardless of his World Series rings.
Panda’s in the Old Country Buffett Hall of Fame…….
Being in your mid 30’s and never having to work another day in your life would be the ultimate.
Then do it. Quit dreaming and do it.
Dabble in real estate, buy rentals. Landlords make money in their sleep.
I want so desperately for the O’s to get Hardy to be a coach/instructor in the minor leagues. He was a great infield instructor while here, teaching Schoop how to be a better defender than he was,
great article! i really had been wondering what gad happened to some of these guys.
I want to say JJ Hardy has a place in MLBTR history. He was the first player (that I recall) that Tim mentioned as having spoken to in an article.
Houston street. In his prime, he was smooth as silk, not only pitching, but also is windup.
ive always thought it was kinda a shame he didnt appear again after the 2017 season. makes sense why now, but still disappointing.
Relievers are a dime a dozen. The difference between greatness and mediocrity can be defined by mechanical adjustments or using their strength with mechanical adjustments. Examples, mo Rivera (failed starter), Trevor Hoffman (failed short stop), Brad Hand (failed starter, with Mechanical adjustments), or Kirby Yates (mechanical adjustments)
Many more to add but that was off the top of my head. Jansen was a failed catcher for the sake of mentioning.
Jason Motte failed catcher. Jason Isringhausen failed starter. Andrew Miller failed starter. Wade Davis failed starter.
He was also a kind, and gentle lover!
Always enjoyed Huston Street for many reasons, one of which being how confused fellow NYers who didn’t follow baseball got when I didn’t pronounce it “HOW-ston”
Speaking of guys who just kind of dropped off the face of the earth, how about Jonny Papelbon? After he was dumped by the Nats, there were reports that he was close to signing elsewhere. 2 1/2 years later…
he looked like a serial killer.
If you are a guy who will willingly throw teammates under the bus in the media, like Papelbon did with Manny Ramirez and Bryce Harper, you had better be an elite performer. The second you become average, no one wants you.
An excerpt form his Wiki page:
His Red Sox teammate Curt Schilling said of Papelbon: “He’s not exactly a charter member of Mensa.” His former general manager Theo Epstein observed: “He’s not a Rhodes Scholar … obviously.” Esquire’s Chris Jones had a slightly different take, writing: “Papelbon’s not stupid. He just hasn’t acquired … an understanding of consequence: He says all the dumb things most of us probably think but keep back.”
He made quite a bit of money, but couldn’t buy any tact.
Then there’s Jon Jay, who is wasting everyone’s time by hanging around
Hardy never was a flashy fielder, but he made all the plays he was supposed to. I know machado credits hardy for helping him become the fielder he is. That was quite a combo on one side of the infield
2 of the best catches I’ve seen were the Trout and Bourjos robbery of Hardy in 2013.
I didn’t even know either guy was relevant anymore..Huston Street used to be be an elite closer. JJ Hardy was more like a Cesar izturis type a player. Decent defense nothing spectacular and more power than izturis which isn’t saying much. Maybe like a Orlando Carbara before he came to Boston in the nomar trade.
do more articles like this
Hardy was always a good late round fantasy pick up for me. While everyone else was wasting their 1st round pick on shortstops like Hanley Ramirez, I was picking up Hardy in the last half of the draft and still getting 20-30 bombs a year from him. I must’ve done that every season for at least half a decade. Save your top picks for serious guaranteed power position players in the outfield or 1st base.