The former catcher, who spent 13 of his 14 Major League seasons in Philadelphia and holds the franchise record for games caught, before playing his final season in 2007 with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers, will officially retire as a Phillie on June 1.
The last player to end his career in this manner was Doug Glanville in 2005.
“Philadelphia has always been a second home to me, so I’m really looking forward to this,” said Lieberthal in a statement. “I spent half my life there and still follow the team closely on television.”
That became a running joke with members of the Dodgers last season, who routinely pointed out that Lieberthal had the Phillies game on in the clubhouse, and always followed their exploits.
When the Dodgers came in last season, teammate Randy Wolf, who played with Lieberthal with the Phillies and Dodgers, said, “I follow [the Phillies] at a safe distance. He tailgates.”
Originally selected by the Phillies as the third overall pick in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft behind Chipper Jones (Braves) and Tony Clark (Tigers), Lieberthal caught 1,139 games for Philadelphia, despite seven trips to the disabled list.
In 13 seasons with the Phillies — he debuted on June 20, 1994, fitting, against the Dodgers in Los Angeles — Lieberthal hit .275 with 150 home runs and 609 RBIs in 1,174 games. He batted .234 with one RBI in 38 games.
A two-time All-Star (1999-2000), Lieberthal became the sixth catcher in to hit .300 with 30 home runs in a season, something he did in 1999. He was the first Phillies player to reach those numbers in the same season since Mike Schmidt in 1981. (HT/Phillies.com)
Now this is interesting. Nice move on the part of both the Phils and Mike. I just can’t wait to find out how they’ll do it.