Brian Giles retired today.
Two seasons ago, at age-37, Giles hit .306/.398/.456 for the Padres. It was like a brief renaissance before, as can be expected, he flamed out last year. In fact, since 2006 Giles just hadn't been the same player he was in his prime.
Giles' prime is exactly what I wanted to bring up. It seems like a lifetime go, but for five seasons (1999 - 2003) he was one of THE best hitters in all of baseball. He was so good that, should Joe Mauer hit like Giles from ages 28 - 32, we should all be perfectly happy.
How good was he? How does .307/.426/.588 sound? From '99 through '03 Giles averaged 149 games a year, 34 home runs and 36 doubles, and in total walked nearly 200 more times than he struck out. The man was a beast, and while he was lauded for it and recognized at the time, it's worth pointing out how outstanding of a player he was. Because time has a way of making us forget.
Giles finishes his career with a .292/.400/.502 triple slash, with 287 home runs, 411 doubles, 1897 hits and 1183 walks. No, he won't make the Hall of Fame, but he deserves congratulations on a very, very good career.