Rangers slugger Prince Fielder has been forced to retire from baseball at age 32. Fielder, who has been struggling at the plate this year, recently underwent his second spinal fusion surgery in the last three years, and doctors have told him that he is no longer physically capable of playing baseball. Fielder announced his retirement at a press conference yesterday, and there were lots of tears.
Retirement announcements are always sad, but they are particularly rough when the player leaving his sport clearly has no desire to do so. Prince Fielder has been hanging out in major league clubhouses since he was a pre-teen, when his father Cecil would bring him along to Tigers games and let him take batting practice. Now, suddenly, Fielder can’t do the thing he’s been doing all his life.
Fielder isn’t a legend or a Hall-of-Fame player, but he’ll be remembered fondly as a lovable slugger who cracked a lot of prodigious dingers in his day. That vicious, uppercutting swing he had was a thing of beauty, and when he connected, you felt it:
Fielder will end his career with 319 home runs, the exact same amount his father hit, and deep catalogue of highlight-reel taters. He also owns the best walk-off home run celebration in history:
Prince Fielder was a good and fun baseball man who deserved a longer career than he got.