Hard-hitting utilityman Steve Pearce appears to be putting the wraps on his playing days. He tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s “unofficially retired” from baseball.
Pearce surpassed ten years of MLB service last year, as Bradford notes. That entitles him to a full pension, an achievement that once seemed exceptionally unlikely. An eighth-round pick in 2005, Pearce made it to the majors with the Pirates and appeared briefly with the Bucs in five major league campaigns. But he departed the organization with little fanfare and struggled to find a new home elsewhere.
Through 2012, Pearce had managed just 709 MLB plate appearances of 82 OPS+ hitting in stints with four clubs. He showed a bit of life in a 44-game sample in his age-30 season, but still ended up being designated for assignment early in the ensuing campaign.
That’s when Pearce morphed from a little-known 4-A player to a sudden star hitter. He made the unusual decision to reject a late-April claim in order to return to the O’s after the DFA. And then he raked. Pearce finished the 2014 campaign with a .293/.373/.556 batting line and 21 home runs over 383 plate appearances.
Pearce ultimately appeared in 13 MLB campaigns, logging 2,555 plate appearances of .254/.332/.440 hitting. There were some peaks and valleys, and quite a few injury layoffs, along the way. He never once reached 400 plate appearances in a given season. But Pearce will finish off his career having produced solidly above-average offensive numbers.
Never regarded much for his glovework, Pearce nevertheless proved capable of stepping in all over the diamond, allowing teams to shoehorn his bat into the lineup. He saw action at first base, left field, right field, second base, and third base (in that order of frequency).
When he wasn’t working back to health or going through a rough patch, Pearce provided big output at times for the Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He also appeared earlier in his career with the Yankees, making him the rare player to have donned every uniform in a single division. Pearce will no doubt be remembered most in the long haul for his indelible mark on Boston sports history, as his three-homer output in the 2018 World Series earned him an MVP award on the game’s biggest stage.
Pearce returned to the Red Sox in 2019 but struggled badly before back and knee injuries wrecked his season. While he isn’t yet ready to file his paperwork, it seems the 36-year-old won’t actively pursue a job this winter. That’s plenty understandable, as he’d no doubt need to earn his way onto a big-league roster on a minor-league deal. Pearce is to be congratulated for persisting through early-career setbacks and frequent health problems. MLBTR wishes him the best in his future endeavors.
Baseball players get pensions? Wtf
I didn’t know they got pensions also. 10 year mark apparently. League min being like $500k ish for 10 plus years of service seems like more than enough money to set yourself up. Obviously he made way more than that, so it’s kinda crazy to think they get pensions. Minor leaguers who service a lot of time in the minors should get pensions before MLB players… they make a lot less and miss a lot of real world work experience (some education) to play minor league baseball which pays next to nothing. Those guys deserve a little bit more long term income at some lvl
Benefits are essentially just “deferred” or “conditional” salary by a different name.
MLBPA would likely gladly accept a higher minimum salary in lieu of benefits. But “benefits” are essentially a middle-ground between ownership and the union. Ownership can mandate that benefits go to healthcare or place a “condition” of 10 years for a full-pension(essentially a full-career).
Hard to believe fans do not know about the MLB pension system. it favors ballplayers post 1980 I believe and ones earlier than that get screwed $$$ wise. remember reading years back that they still get some cash, but not nearly as much as the post like ’80 guys do.
Correct. The system was changed and per Google:
“MLB players must play 43 days in the majors to earn a minimum $34,000 annual pension plan. Just one day in the majors gets them lifetime healthcare coverage. After 10 years in the big leagues, benefits grow to $100,000 annually.”
Not sure when it starts. I think age 62.
How is that hard to believe? Most fans probably don’t care about the pension system or the minutia of the “business of baseball.” And honestly, it’s really none of the fans business anyway.
When you make 15-36 mil a year. If by the time you’re long since retired and have money issue. That’s horrible money management.
I never got why athletes and celebrities alike get this massive extravagant mansions. They have 1 or 2 kids but they need 17 kitchens and 80 bathrooms and a two story gym.
That was the reason for two all Star games back in the 60’s – to provide the original funding for player pensions.
Different sport, but I believe once O.J. Simpson was released he collected several thousands of dollars from his NFL pension that accumulated while he was in prison. And that his pension money can’t legally be obtained by the Goldman or Brown families to settle any judgements from the civil case.
They can’t touch OJ’s pension money because it’s an annuity. Baseball is probably the same way , but I don’t know for sure.
Go become a professional mlb player for 10 years and you can get one too.
Why haven’t we thought of that? So simple
Not only money. It’s health insurance, life insurance, and so on. It’s part of why fringe players trying to hang on. It’s a great benefit for guys who have longevity.
They are just like us!(…..just with much shorter careers)
Millions drag themselves to a job that makes them want to blow their brains out by telling themselves “It is only 10 more years” or “Only 5-years till I can retire”. “Hanging-on” while not really contributing any value.
And the new Amazon is founded. Its slot less money too
It’s also why minor leaguers use PEDs to make the majors. Just getting that couple of months in the bigs can set you up for life. Maybe not make you stupid rich, but for Dominicans, a $34,000 a year pension is well above the national average. And it’s not that bad for Americans either.
Same with other U.S. pro sports leagues. Pierce is looking at $100k+ annually in cash benefits. A player only has to be on the active roster for ONE day to receive lifetime health benefits. There are also very generous 401k plans to encourage players to save for retirement.
The more you know. https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0710/top-pro-athlete-pension-plans.aspx
Congrats on a solid career and thank you for your efforts for the Red Sox.
I’d rather see the players get the money than the owners keeping it all. It’s big business… But we pay to see the players play the game.
Agreed. Nobody has ever bought a ticket to see an owner.
And there would be no teams to play on without owners willing to make a lot less than they would in say real estate or commodities etc. and without the headaches.
dimitrios in la
O’s fan here and feel similarly. Also seems like a quality guy. A future in coaching?
He does realize that 2020 is an even-numbered year, right? (I hope somebody gets this…)
Are you fishing for the good seasons Pearce had, which were typically even-numbered years?
There was a Effectively Wild episode where I believe Sam Miller did a StatBlast on Pearce being one of the most extreme odd-even guys.
Ya Pearce was an every other year guy….
The entire AL East got to see Pearce; I’m not sure anybody else has played for all 5 teams. But he contributed strongly, and was generally worth his paycheck. And apparently extremely popular in the clubhouse.
Nothing wrong with that career.
My take is that since the Red Sox won it in ‘18, they’ll come back and win and so that’s why it’s an even number year joke about Pearce, the WS MVP? Not saying I agree with what I just said
Reminds me of the Yankee version of Leyritz. Clutch and able to play different positions. I think leyritz played IB, LF, occasional 3rd, and def as the 3rd backup catcher.
Great comparison. Both utility guys who came to play in the WS
I will always remember being pissed off at a bar until Leyritz hit that homer off of Wohlers. Ended up drinking free shots all nite with a bunch of off duty cops.. I can see why other teams and even his own hated his guts. Mattingly nicknamed him King.
Yea, he was even called “Jumbo Jimmy” by the Yankee clubhouse. But he won us a ring, so we can forget about it
Hes probably retiring because he doesnt have any MLB guarantee’s. If someone were to offer him a major league deal I’m sure he’d sign. He would have been a decent fit for a team like the Yankees as a right handed compliment at 1B and insurance at the outfield corners.
Best of luck to him in his future endeavors.
Not sure he fits the Yankees for 2020. Unless Yankees trade for a solid lefty first baseman, they have Ford and Voit. Outfield is jammed with Stanton, Gardner, and Judge with hicks coming back mid summer? I prefer they give Wade a shot fulltime as he can play infield and outfield and be used for late inning pinch running. Wade has tremendous speed if he can get his bat going to stick in the big leagues.
The Yankees had Pearce once and that was enough……a journeyman who would not beat out Bird if he still was on the Yankees to make the squad….Pearce had his day in the sun with the Red Sox WS team…..enough already with this guy!
About 10 years ago Steve and his wife rented our 2 bed/2bath duplex in Cape Coral, FL. He was with the Twins then. He rented only for the spring training season. Very nice people. I visited him one day and he was eating a grilled cheese sandwich and a pot pie. I’ll bet he eats better now. I wish him and his family the best.
As a Jays fan, I’ll probably never forget the two walk off grand slams in 3 days! Then the Red Sox traded for him and won the World Series with him as MVP. We will see how Santiago Espinal turns out for us, it’s been rumoured he has a chance to make the team this year as a reserve.
As a Dodger fan and attendee of Game 4 of the 2018 series, congrats on your career Mr. Pearce, and please stay retired.
Always liked him on the O’s. Such an invaluable member of that special 2014 team, where everything had to go right and them some. I was happy that he got to be a hero in WS, even if it was with the Sox. Enjoy retirement!
Good guy. Wish it ended better for him than the miserable year he had, mostly spent on the IL.
Bobby Bonilla still has 15 years left of the Mets paying him a million dollars per year. Players should start doing that. Bonilla retired 18 years ago. He’ll 71 when the deal expires.
So baseball players absolutely have pentions and retirement.
Dont understand how ppl care about their pension. Its based off of money coming out of the players paychecks. Just like any government or state worker. Only difference is the players dont charge the tax payers.
and the players do work harder than gubmit employees , except police , fire and rescue. Gubmit workers retire at about the same age too.
Bonilla’s very specific deal with the Mets have nothing to do with pension and retirement plans. The owners at that time took a gamble and thought that they were going to come out ahead in his deal. The math made sense to both parties. In hindsight, it was a poor bet since they were invested in Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme.