Former big league second baseman Gordon Beckham announced his retirement this evening (via Twitter). “Since my good friend Buster Posey decided to retire this year, I am officially announcing I will be retiring as well. I want to make sure we get into the Hall of Fame the same year. Start the countdown!!,” Beckham wrote in a tongue-in-cheek statement.
Selected by the White Sox with the eighth overall pick in 2008 coming out of the University of Georgia, Beckham entered pro ball as a very highly-touted prospect. Baseball America ranked him the game’s #20 overall farmhand entering the 2009 campaign, with that offseason counting as his only one with prospect eligibility. That’s because the righty-hitting infielder spent barely any time in the minor leagues, reaching the big leagues after just 59 games on the farm.
Beckham, now 35, debuted in June 2009 and was essentially pencilled into the White Sox’s everyday lineup from that point forward. He hit .270/.347/.460 with 14 home runs across 430 plate appearances in his age-22 campaign, finishing fifth in that season’s AL Rookie of the Year balloting. Beckham would spend the next few seasons manning the keystone in the South Side of Chicago, but he never recaptured the above-average offensive form he’d shown during his debut season.
Over the next four-plus years, Beckham tallied 2467 plate appearances and hit .240/.299/.359. In August 2014, the White Sox traded him to the Angels. He slashed an impressive .268/.328/.429 in 26 games while playing a utility role down the stretch for the playoff-bound Halos. Despite that solid finish, Los Angeles non-tendered Beckham after the season. He returned to the White Sox as a free agent but struggled to a .209/.275/.332 mark in 237 trips to the plate.
From that point forward, Beckham bounced between a few teams as a veteran journeyman type. He split the 2016 campaign between the Braves and Giants, then appeared with the Mariners in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Beckham played for the Tigers in 2019, suiting up in a bit more than half of the team’s games. That proved to be his final MLB action, as subsequent minor league deals with the Padres and Mets didn’t result in big league opportunities.
Beckham didn’t become the All-Star caliber player the White Sox and their fans might’ve envisioned after his first couple years in pro ball. Yet he appeared in 11 consecutive MLB seasons between 2009-19, spending more than half that time as a regular. The Atlanta native hit .237/.300/.367 across 3782 plate appearances. He hit 80 home runs, drove in 351 runs and scored 420 times. Beckham earned a bit more than $12MM in career earnings, per Baseball Reference. MLBTR congratulates him on his career and wishes him the best in retirement.