Atlanta Braves make roster cuts, Nick Markakis retires
By Fred Owens
Friday saw the Atlanta Braves announce their first roster cuts of the spring as a former Braves fixture retires.
Early Friday morning, Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis announced his retirement, ending a Major League Career spanning 15 seasons.
“Kakes” defined professionalism throughout his career. During his Major League career (2006-2020), no one played more games than his 2,154, only Robinson Cano (537) had more doubles than Markakis’ 514, and only Cano (2,469) and Miguel Cabrera (2,407) had more hits than his 2,388.
Unlike Markakis, who played the game clean and let everyone know what he felt about cheaters, Cano used PEDs and is currently suspended for the second time. For me, his suspensions call into question everything over at least the last three or four years.
Every team needs a player like Nick. He wasn’t a slugging, swaggering superstar, demanding the biggest contract or setting loud records. He was the glue that held teams together in down years, and kept young players focused in good years.
He came to work every day and worked hard at his craft to maximize his abilities. He never let anyone down on or off the field, or gave up an at-bat even when his team was losing by a bunch of runs with two outs in the ninth.
Nick Markakis ends his career batting .288/.357/.423/.781, including 189 homers. His 514 doubles are more than Rickey Henderson (510), Bath Ruth (506), Tony Perez (505), Roberto Alomar (504), and Andre Dawson (503), and tie him with Edgar Martinez for 54th all-time.
He was the face of the Orioles franchise for so many years, and he’ll almost certainly become a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. He’ll appear on the Hall of Fame ballot and get some support, but he’s unlikely to get a plaque in Cooperstown.
Nevertheless, young players today would do well to emulate Nick. A quiet man who led by example, gave his teams everything he had every day, and played the game the right way for 15 years. There’s really nothing more you can ask of anyone.
Enjoy your retirement being a house-husband Nick. Let us know when you want to manage.