Celebratory endings of careers are a somewhat new thing. It’s rare that a beloved player goes out in a way in which you know precisely what his last day will be ahead of time. And I’ve been an outspoken “hater” when it comes to the coverage of certain other player’s farewell tours. But like this video, and Paul Konerko’s career, his farewell has been quiet.
I was lucky enough to witness his goodbye ceremony in my home town of Kansas City. Forget the kayaks and ridiculous over the top gifts. The Royals gave him a donation to his charity, a framed picture of him at his final All-Star game1, a chair from the club house during that game, and a selection of KC barbecue sauces. And of course, a nice round of applause from a fan base that barely knows him, because of his quiet workman like attitude.
No need for a memorial patch for a player that not only hasn’t died, but is still on the team. No demands to play every day when everyone knows the career is winding down and it’s time to pass on the wisdom, and lineup spot, to younger players. No commercial campaign. No ridiculous hashtags. Just a guy that’s gone out and done his job every day he could for 18 years2.
He may never be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but he’ll always be one of the all time great Chicago White Sox.