Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » When Is It Time to Say Goodbye?

When Is It Time to Say Goodbye?

By Mike Silva ~ March 8th, 2012. Filed under: New York Yankees.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to an icon. Yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts released their franchise player, Peyton Manning, as they look to move into a new era with the #1 draft pick that will undoubtedly be Stanford QB Andrew Luck. There was some debate on the radio about how the decision to move away from Manning was easy because the team possessed the top pick. One more win and it’s possible the Colts, with the #2 pick, give Manning another opportunity to lead their team after missing a season due to a neck injury.

The Yankees are no stranger to difficult goodbyes. They’ve had to see three popular 90s icons- Bernie WilliamsAndy Pettitte and Jorge Posada- retire the last five years rather than come back for one last season. They were fortunate that each elected to retire a Yankee, versus seeking employment elsewhere. It prevented the PR fallout that comes when a popular player succeeds elsewhere.

It always begs the question about whether you keep your iconic players together till their skills disintegrate, or trade them a year earlier and gain maximum value. It’s not easy since you have to weigh what’s good for the team on the field versus the public relations of moving forward off the field. Yankees fans clamored for Bernie’s return for about two years. As good as Williams was, he was nowhere near an icon.

The Celtics watched their big three of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale grow old together. They resisted the temptation to trade Bird, despite offers from his hometown Pacers, that would have possibly netted them Chuck Person and Rik Smits. The Knicks held on to Patrick Ewing past his expiration date, only to dump him for an injured and expensive Glen Rice. That trade sent them into a salary cap spiral that took a decade to clean up.

Seeing that Indianapolis parted ways with a player that was bigger than the franchise brand, you have to wonder how the remaining “core two” Yankees- Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter- will say goodbye.

With Rivera it appears likely that he will hang it up after this season. Unless there is a severe drop-off, the greatest closer of all-time will go out on his terms. I can’t see a scenario where he would wear another uniform or suffer a demotion like his 600-save club brother, Trevor Hoffman.

Jeter is another story. If not for the politics of his popularity, I believe Brian Cashman would have parted ways with him after the 2010 season. The intangibles and leadership that made him invaluable during his first decade in the big leagues, are no longer necessary in a clubhouse that is looking to make its own mark, not continue the 90s legacy. Intangibles don’t go that far when the bat goes from one of the most feared clutch hitters in the game to a below league-average hitter without power.

Jeter staved off the doubters when he hit .327 in the second half of last year. Still, he is very expensive, as he is owed $16 and $17 million dollars the next two years, with a player option for another $8 million in 2014. With money now being an object in the Yankees Universe, it’s possible that Jeter’s salary could prevent them from signing a big name starter next offseason (Cole HamelsMatt Cain) or re-signing Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson. Unlikely, but a possibility.

You also have to wonder how the Yankees are going to handle any kind of decline from Jeter. They were fortunate he turned it around post 3,000th hit or Joe Girardi would have faced a serious lineup dilemma by dropping Jeter to the 9-hole, where his current skill-set profiles unless he hits significantly north of .300. Even then, the speedy Brett Gardner would be a far better choice to leadoff.

You also have to wonder if the easier decision would have been to let him walk after 2010. With the money they spent on Jeter, they could have re-invested it in Jose Reyes, a young and speedy player that could score 150 runs at the top of the Yankees lineup. Perhaps they would have been able to acquire Hanley Ramirez, probably the best offensive shortstop in baseball, this past offseason.

For as much as Celtics fans loved Larry Bird, I bet they would have traded the final two years of his career for a title run in the 90s. Colts fans love Manning, but if Andrew Luck is winning playoff games in a couple of seasons they will get over the pain and nostalgia they are currently feeling.

The Yankees are not in the same position since MLB is a cap-less sport. It’s not like they won’t make the playoffs because Derek Jeter isn’t hitting. During his early summer stint on the disabled list last season they went 14-4. No doubt his steady defense was missed, but his diminishing physical skills reduce the gap between him and any other decent shortstop. Even with the self-imposed budget you have to wonder if they would allow Jeter to hamstring the payroll if and when his salary became a sunk cost.

Derek Jeter is a proud individual. He doesn’t like being told he can’t do something. He also has a tremendous amount of pride and ego (all great players do), and he won’t take a demotion in the lineup kindly. He might not make the public scene that his buddy Jorge Posada did, but he certainly will make it known that he believes he belongs at the top of the order. It will be a firestorm in this city, a scenario that will put the focus on Girardi, something that normally doesn’t mesh with his less than sparkling personality. Jeter has repeatedly said he wants to play until he is in his 40s. He also has said he will walk away if he feels he can’t perform at a high level. I never trust athletes when they say that since they often are the last ones to realize when it’s time to go. I also have my doubts he walks away from a single penny of his current contract. Mother Teresa, he’s not.

Perhaps the Yankees will look back and wonder if they should have displayed the same courage the Colts did yesterday with Peyton Manning by saying goodbye to an icon before it’s too late. It may have prevented an uglier situation from developing later on.


In the spirit of Manning spending the rest of his NFL career in a new uniform, NYBD contributor Michael Maggi made a list of pro athletes, mainly superstars, who spent short and forgettable stints with a team other than the one or two they were best known for. This was random as it could be at any point in their career.

1) Joe Namath- St. Louis Rams
2) Duke Snider- SF Giants
3) Joe Montana- Kansas City Chiefs
4) Mike Piazza- Florida Marlins
5) Pete Rose- Montreal Expos
6) Wayne Gretzky- St. Louis Blues
7) Darryl Strawberry- San Francisco Giants

**Do you also know that Strawberry is one of three players to appear in a game for the Giants, Dodgers, Mets and Yankees? Do you know the other two? Answer is below, don’t peak and see if you could figure it out.
8) Michael Young- Toronto Blue Jays (drafted)
9) Trevor Hoffman- Florida Marlins
10) Herschel Walker- NY Giants
11) LaVar Arrington- NY Giants
12) Kurt Warner- NY Giants
13) Jose Canseco- Yankees
14) Ivan Rodriguez- Yankees/Houston Astros
15) Yogi Berra- Mets
16) Willie Mays- Mets
17) Reggie Jackson- Baltimore Orioles
18) Jari Kurri- NY Rangers
19) David Cone- Boston Red Sox
20) Michael Jordan- Washington Wizards
21) Harmon Killebrew- Kansas City Royals
22) Frank Robinson- Cleveland Indians
23) Warren Spahn- Mets/SF Giants
24) Randy Johnson- Houston Astros
25) Dwight Gooden- Tampa Bay Rays
26) Johnny Unitas- San Diego Chargers
27) Patrick Ewing- Orlando Magic
28) John Olerud- Yankees
29) Brian Leetch- Boston Bruins
30) Brett Favre- Atlanta Falcons/New York Jets
31) Ray Bourque- Colorado Avalanche
32) Babe Ruth- Boston Braves
33) Hank Aaron- Milwaukee Brewers
34) Wilt Chamberlain- Harlem Globetrotters
35) Bobby Orr- Chicago Blackhawks
36) Larry Csonka- NY Giants
37) O.J. Simpson- San Francisco 49ers
38) Jerry Rice- Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos
39) Eric Lindros-  Dallas Stars
40) Gordie Howe- Hartford Whalers
41) Bill Russell- Sacramento Kings

I will add a couple of others to Michael’s list:

Willie Mays with the Mets, Rickey Henderson with the Newark Bears, Keith Hernandez with the Cleveland Indians, and Jim Kelly playing for the USFL’s Houston Gamblers.

Let’s have some fun, give me some names – any sport- that stand out to you.


The answer to the other two players, along with Darryl Strawberry, that played for the Giants, Dodgers, Mets and Yankees are Ricky Ledee and Jose Vizcaino.

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook

The following two tabs change content below.
Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

Latest posts by Mike Silva (see all)

27 Responses to When Is It Time to Say Goodbye?

  1. tnt

    piazza and rose shouldnt count,they were traded away so you dont know how long they would have stayed there.being a seahawk fan i know they wanted rice back but he wanted to retire..the others ill leave for someone else to talk about

  2. Stu B

    I would add Tom Seaver with the Red Sox in 1986. And one of the best examples ever was left off the list – Steve Carlton, whose last decent season was 1985 with the Phillies. He spent 1986-88 bouncing around with the Giants, White Sox, Indians, and Twins.

  3. Frank Russo


    Carlton was a good one! Good job by you! I remember Joel Skinner (remember him?) hitting a grand slam off of Carlton when he pitched for Cleveland. I remember thinking, wow, how the mighty have fallen!

    What about Whitey Ashburn ending his career with the ’62 Mets!

    In hockey, one of my favorite players of all time, Clark Gillies, played his final two seasons (actually one and a half years) for the Buffalo Sabres after playng his first 12 seasons with the the Islanders.

  4. Chuck Johnson

    “I remember Joel Skinner (remember him?) hitting a grand slam off of Carlton when he pitched for Cleveland.”

    I was at that game. It was a bomb, hit the ambulance they used to park in the back of the old bullpen in left center.

    I believe that was also the game where two 300 game winners (Niekro and Carlton) pitched for the same team.

  5. Stu B

    At least Ashburn hit .306 with a career-high 7 homers in ’62. But there were some funny stories about him.

    He received a Chris-Craft cabin cruiser for being the team MVP (a rather dubious honor). “Now what am I going to do with a cabin cruiser in the middle of Nebraska?” Richie asked. Ralph Kiner claimed that the first time Ashburn put it in the water “it sunk.” Ashburn retired after that.

    In one game that year, Ashburn came in on a pop fly to short center, yelling, “I got it! I got it!” and was steamrollered by the shortstop, Elio Chacon, who was going out to make the catch. Felix Mantilla helped the dazed Ashburn to his feet, and explained that Chacon speaks Spanish, and little or no English, and advised Ashburn to yell out, “Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!” (literally “I have it!” in Spanish) Shortly thereafter, another pop fly was lifted to short center. Ashburn came flying in, yelling, “Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!”- and was steamrollered by left fielder Frank Thomas, who didn’t speak a word of Spanish.

  6. Ken Bland

    I can think of several times when clubs said good bye that a guy kept hanging around.. The Orioles said good bye to Jamie Moyer. Once upon a time, Jamie Moyer was a Cub, and they let him go. Then there was the time when Jamie Moyer pitched for the Rangers. As I think about it, another example is the Phillies, who once had a pitcher named Jamie Moyer.

    On a more serious note, another Phillie, Robin Roberts collapsed to a 1-10 mark (which was pretty good considering the Phils were 47-107 that year) in his age 34 year, but kept trying by signing as a free agent with the Cubs, Stros and O’s after a brief stint with the Yanks.

    Dale Murphy was at best semi useful as a Phillie after his great Braves career, but was Carltonesque in his last breath with the Rockies.

    George Foster put a less than distinguished wrap on his good career with the ChiSox.

  7. Ken Bland

    P.S. George Gervin played for the Chicago Bulls after his outstanding Spurs career.

  8. tnt

    john smoltz last yr with red sox/cards…todd zeile and jay bell spending last yrs with mets,and if you really want to stretch it roger moore in boat trip and sean connery in never say never again

  9. UncleMario

    Pat LaFontaine as a NY Ranger and Neal Broten as a NJ Devil.

    As for teams grow old together too long, the 50s/early 60s Yankees and the 80s Islanders.

  10. Stu B

    While his passing is still fresh in our minds, how about Gary Carter with the Mets, Giants, Dodgers, and Expos, 1989-92?

  11. Chuck Johnson

    Michael Jordan with the Birmingham Barons.

    Now THAT was embarrassing.

  12. Ken Bland

    Conversely, sometimes a legend moves on, and establishes a darned near equal identity, maybe better. Off the field, he’s so well known because of the advant of cable, old time Cardinal faithful had Harry Caray as a St. Louis institution, but that’s so long ago, and Harry is pretty overwhelmingly identified as the voice of the archrival Cubs.

    Frank Robinson was a legend in Cincinatti, but his infamous “he’s an old 30″ trade resulted in a highly successfil individual and team stay in Baltimore.

    Curt Schilling was an all-time Phillie for 8 years, and then kinda sorta approached legendary status in TWO more places, Arizona, and Beantown.

    So sometimes, it’s almost hard to remember a guy wore a uniform before a chapter of greatness, and was terrific there as well.

  13. Stu B

    Or guys who many people forget they played for certain teams/organizations before achieving greatness after moviing on, like Roberto Clemente with the Dodgers, Nolan Ryan and Amos Otis with the Mets, Lou Brock with the Cubs, Willie McGee and Fred McGriff with the Yankees, Ozzie Smith with the Padres, George Foster with the Giants, etc.

  14. Joseph DelGrippo

    Babe Ruth played for the Boston Braves, not the Atlanta Braves.

    What is interesting about Hank Aaron, Ruth and Willie Mays is that all three began and ended their careers in the same city, but with different teams.

    Aaron with the Milwaukee Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, Ruth with the Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves and Mays with the New York Giants and New York Mets.

    Also, Rocky Colavito, one of the best sluggers in the 1950s and early 1960s (374 HRs, four less than David Ortiz has), played his final game for the Yankees. He even pitched in one game and got the win! I guess 1968 really was the year of the pitcher!


    Ty Cobb (Tigers) and Tris Speaker (Red Sox and Indians) were great centerfielders in the 1910s and 1920s, but both finished up after the 1928 season as members of the Philadelphia A’s. Due to a gambling scandal, both were “forced” to retire after the 1926 season by Judge Landis, but, due to lack of testimony, were then allowed back in and became free agents.

  15. Stu B

    Who said that Ruth played for Atlanta?

  16. UncleMario

    Paul Molitor becoming a Blue Jay and later a Twin after a long tenure as a Brewer.

    Carl The Mailman” Malone becoming a Laker after years with the Utah Jazz.

  17. Ken Bland

    What is interesting about Hank Aaron, Ruth and Willie Mays is that all three began and ended their careers in the same city, but with different teams. >>

    Ditto Jimmy Foxx. And Ron Santo.

  18. Frank Russo

    Two long time Islanders, Pat LaFontaine and Pat Flatley finished their careers with the Rangers.

    Also, Paul Blair is usually remembered by most as an Oriole, yet he also won a championship with the Yankees.

    In football, you had OJ Anderson winning a Super Bowl with the Giants, and Sam Huff leving the Giants for the Red Skins.

    As for Ty Cobb, he along with Speaker and Smokey Joe Wood were all accused by Dutch Leonard of betting on a Tiger-Indians game that was played in 1919. Leonard refused to appear at several meetings that Judge Landis had arranged so he could bring forth his accusation, but Leonard refused to appear. This led led to Cobb, Speaker and Wood all being cleared of wrong doing.

  19. Joseph Delgrippo


    The original list in this piece had Babe Ruth’s final team as the Atlanta Braves. It was obviously changed after my comment.

  20. Stu B

    Paul Blair was signed by the Mets in 1961 and lost to the Orioles in someting known as the first-year player draft in ’62. Interesting that in the expansion process, MLB gave with one hand and took with the other.

  21. UncleMario

    Orioles Boog Powell playing for the Indians after a long tenure the birds.

    Islanders’ Bryan Trottier playing for the Penguins and later becoming head coach of the NY Rangers.

    The Devils’ Scott Niedermayer joins the Anaheim Ducks to play with his brother Rob.

  22. Chuck Johnson

    “Orioles Boog Powell playing for the Indians after a long tenure the birds.”

    And, man, did he look awful in those all red Indians’ uni’s.


  23. Stu B

    Loved those shots of Bobby Bonds, Dwight Gooden, and Keith Hernandez in Tribe duds!

  24. tnt

    ric flair? keeps hanging around because he is in financial trouble

  25. Stu B

    Why would anyone give a rat’s behind about Ric Flair or pro wrestling?

  26. tnt

    he should have been well off yrs ago but divorce after divorce,bad busimess ,he has to keep doing it at 64…………how about frank tanana..mets/yanks in early 90s?

  27. Arthur

    Bill Russell- Sacramento Kings. He never played for Sacramento. Where did you get that from? He was a coach of that team

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.