Magglio Ordonez career highlightsby Chris Jaffe
May 31, 2012
The news broke earlier this week. Longtime White Sox and Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez decided to call it a career. He suffered an ankle injury in last year’s postseason and had gone unsigned by any team since then, so it makes sense that he’s decided to retire.
Now that his career is officially over, it makes sense to look back at his career. Below is a list of his career highlights. They are his personal bests and worsts, the most memorable and greatest contests he appeared in, his milestone moments, and various other oddities and notable moments he was on hand for.
Here it is, in chronological order.
White Sox tenure
Aug. 29, 1997: Magglio Ordonez, at age 23, makes his big league debut in an interleague contest against the Astros. As the starting rightfielder, he goes 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. In his trip to the plate, he nails a single.
Aug. 30, 1997: His career is off to a fine start. In his second career game, Magglio Ordonez hits his first home run. It’s a two-run shot off Jose Lima in the seventh. It’s also his first run and RBIs. He doubled earlier in the game, too.
May 12, 1998: Magglio Ordonez suffers through the worst game of his career, going 0-for-4 with a trio of GIDPs. Fortunately, the Sox top the Angels anyway, 5-2.
May 28, 1998: In the 10th inning against the Tigers, Magglio Ordonez lays down a sacrifice bunt. He has 7,491 more PA to go in his career, but he’ll never sacrifice himself this way again. It’s the third and final sacrifice bunt of his career.
Sept, 14, 1998: It’s the wildest slugfest Magglio Ordonez ever plays in as the White Sox top the Tigers 17-16 in 12 innings. Detroit ties it with two in the bottom of the ninth, ties it again with three in the bottom of the tenth, but can’t tie it a third time when they score just once in the bottom of the 12th while down by two. For Chicago, Ordonez, is 2-for-5 with a walk, HBP, and stolen base.
April 28, 1999: For the first time in his career, Magglio Ordonez belts a pair of home runs in one game. He’ll do that another 22 times before he’s through.
July 8, 1999: With the White Sox trailing Kansas City 5-4 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Magglio Ordonez smacks a one-out double to give the Sox a walk-off 6-5 victory.
July 26, 1999: It’s one of the least clutch moments of his life. Coming to the plate with the Sox trailing Toronto 4-3 in the 11th inning with runners on first and second, Ordonez taps into a game-ending double play.
Aug. 21, 1999: In a doubleheader, Baltimore’s Brady Anderson belts leadoff home runs in both games against Chicago. Despite that, the Sox sweep the day anyway, 4-3 and 8-5. Ordonez is 4-for-10 with walk, double, and three RBIs on the day.
April 22, 2000: It’s got to be the ugliest game Magglio Ordonez ever takes part in as the White Sox and the Tigers engage in a nasty bean-brawl war. Beanings result in a pair of brawls—and pretty damn nasty on-field fights, too. Ordonez is one of 11 players ejected in the game. Ordonez distinguished himself when he tried to show off some karate moves he knew. 13 people will be suspended, including a five game suspension handed given to Ordonez. Oh, the Sox won, 14-6.
April 23, 2000: Ordonez gets a double, triple, and home run—but misses the cycle for want of a single. He has one last trip to the plate after getting those three hits, but strikeouts instead of a single. As unlikely as it sounds, this will be the first of three times a single stands between Ordonez and the cycle.
May 21, 2000: The White Sox top Toronto 2-1 despite getting just one hit on the day. Ordonez scores one of those two Chicago runs, both of which come in the seventh. After Frank Thomas has a leadoff walk, Ordonez reaches on an error. Then, another error advances Ordonez to second (and scores Thomas). A sacrifice bunt puts Ordonez to third, and he scores on a sacrifice fly. Chicago’s hit comes in the third inning.
June 18, 2000: Magglio Ordonez sets a personal best by drawing four walks in one game, none of which are intentional. He also gets a hit in the game as well.
July 23, 2000: It’s the best pitchers duel Magglio Ordonez ever plays in. Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox top Mike Sirotka and the White Sox, 1-0. The two pitchers Game Scores are a combined 162. Martinez has a mark of 90, thanks to his 15 K complete game shutout. Ordonez fans once and leads off the ninth with a double—the only extra base hit Martinez allows—but never gets to third let alone scores.
July 5, 2000: According to WPA, this is the worst game of Ordonez’s career. He is 1-for-6 with a K and a GIDP for a WPA of –0.477. The at bat that kills his score is an inning-ending GIDP in the top of the 12th. Despite that, the Sox top the Royals, 6-3 in 13 innings.
July 11, 2000: Playing in his second All-Star Game, Magglio Ordonez gets his first hit and later his first RBI in the midseason classic. He doubles in the seventh and two innings later gets a sacrifice fly. The AL wins, 6-2.
July 16, 2000: This is probably the greatest game of Magglio Ordonez’s career. He goes 4-for-4 with two homers, six RBIs, a walk, and three runs in a 11-5 White Sox win. He ties his personal bests in hits, home runs, and RBIs in a game.
Aug. 12, 2000: Magglio Ordonez enjoys his second four-hit day in three games. He never does get a five hit game in his career.
Aug. 20, 2000: For the only time in his career, Magglio Ordonez ends a game by striking out with the bases loaded. Making it even worse, it’s a close, back-and-forth game the Sox end up losing to Tampa, 12-11. Ordonez had two hits, three RBIs, and a stolen base earlier in the game.
Sept. 6, 2000: Magglio Ordonez is in the game when someone else makes history. When the Sox trounce the hapless Rangers, 13-1, Texas backup Scott Sheldon becomes the first player in decades and only the third overall to play all nine positions. Sheldon doesn’t enter the game until the fourth but makes his way around the diamond by the end of the eighth. Ordonez is 1-for-4 with a solo homer. Before leaving the game for a replacement, Ordonez comes to the plate with Sheldon playing catcher and shortstop.
Oct. 3, 2000: ALDS Game One: In his first postseason game, Magglio Ordonez gets a RBI triple with one out in the fourth inning. That gives the Sox a 4-3 lead, but it’s all downhill from there. After failing to plate Ordonez, the Sox bats fall silent. Seattle wins in 10 innings, 7-4, and goes on from there two sweep Chicago. The triple is Ordonez’s sole highlight, as he goes 2-for-11 with just the one RBI in the ALDS.
June 8, 2001: A record crowd of 45,936 attends the game at Comiskey Park II (as it was still called then) for a memorable Crosstown Classic contest against the Cubs. The White Sox win, 7-3, on two-out, walk-off grand slam by Carlos Lee. Ordonez is 0-for-4 with a walk, and fans just before Lee’s big blast.
June 23, 2001: For the only time in his career, Magglio Ordonez swipes three bases in one game. He has three singles and a walk, and the first three times he reaches he immediately steals second. Chicago wins, 8-3.
July 10, 2001: Magglio Ordonez will appear in six All Star games, but this is clearly his best one. He is not only the only man in the game to collect two hits but one of them is a home run. Despite that, Cal Ripken Jr. is named MVP of the game instead as the AL wins, 4-1. Ordonez will never again get an All Star hit.
Aug. 7, 2001: In the ninth inning of today’s game while facing Angels reliever Mark Lukasiewicz, Magglio Ordonez connects for career home run No. 100. The next day he’ll homer again off Lukasiewicz, and those are the only two times they ever face each other. That makes Lukasiewicz Ordonez’s favorite pitcher to match up against.
Sept. 19, 2001: Against Ordonez and the White Sox, New York Yankee Roger Clemens makes history. He picks up the win, making him the first pitcher in baseball history to have a 20-1 record. Ordonez is 1-for-4 with a double and a run in Chicago’s 6-3 loss.
May 12, 2002: Magglio Ordonez swats a pinch hit home run. He’ll only do this one other time in his career.
September 19, 2002: He’s on the bench for one of the most infamous moments in South Side baseball as a shirtless father and son combination come out of the stands to attack Kansas City first base coach Tom Gamboa.
April 15, 2003: It’s not a pleasant time at the old ballpark. The Royals are back in town for the first series since the assault on Gamboa, when another fan jumps on the field and attacks first base umpire Laz Diaz. With last year’s assault fresh in people’s minds, players from both teams jump the fan and beat him up. Ordonez gets a hit and stolen base in the game, which Chicago loses, 8-5.
May 15, 2003: For the only time in his career, Magglio Ordonez smacks a triple with the bases loaded to drive in all three runs. In happens in the seventh inning against Baltimore, and helps give Chicago an 8-2 victory.
June 30, 2003: Six years into his career and Magglio Ordonez achieves a nice milestone, as he collects his 1,000th career hit.
Sept. 22, 2003: Magglio Ordonez has one of the best moments of his career. Stepping to the plate in the bottom of the 10th in a game tied 3-3 against the Yankees with one out and runners on first and second, Ordonez connects for a walk-off home run, the first such blast of his career.
April 15, 2004: It happens again. Just 15 games since his first walk-off home run (though it’s seven months later due to the off-season), Ordonez connects for another one. It’s a tenth inning solo shot for a 6-5 win over the Royals. In the rest of his career, Magglio Ordonez will never again have a walk-off home run. Well, not in the regular season anyway.
July 21, 2004: In the fifth inning, Magglio Ordonez is hit by a pitch by Cleveland’s Jerome Robertson. The umpires immediately eject Robertson, who will never pitch again in the major leagues. That’s little comfort to Ordonez, who is injured and unable to play for the rest of the year. A free agent in the off-season, this ends up being his last game with the White Sox.
April 4, 2005: Magglio Ordonez’s first game as a Tiger turns out to be a memorable one, though not necessarily for anything he does. His new teammate Dmitri Young steals the show by belting three home runs in the game for Detroit. Batting immediately ahead of Young in the order, Ordonez scores once, after a walk. The Tigers pummel the Royals, 11-2.
July 27, 2005: The longest hitting streak of Magglio Ordonez’s career peaks at 20 games. He’s 32-for-78 in this time with nine doubles, a pair of homers, and nine walks for an AVG/OBP/SLG of .410/.461/.603. He also scores 13 runs, drives in 16, and fans nine times in these 20 games.
Aug. 20, 2005: It’s one of the better moments for Ordonez as he gets a walk-off double. It’s an RBI double in the bottom of he 13th for a 3-2 Tigers triumph over the Blue Jays.
Aug. 29, 2005: Every hitter has a pitcher who has the whammy on them, and for Magglio Ordonez that pitcher is, of all people, Scott Elarton. In his career, Ordonez manages just one hit against Elarton in 14 at bats, but that hit comes today when he doubles off him in the third inning. Elarton walks Ordonez in the first frame.
Oct. 1, 2005: Entering today's game, Maggio Ordonez sports a .299 average. Well, that isn't good—so he goes 2-for-3 today, raising it to .302. His reward for this mark it get the day off for tomorrow's season finale for the second division Tigers.
April 29, 2006: Magglio Ordonez swats his 200th career home run when he goes deep against Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano in an 18-1 Tiger blow out victory.
July 24, 2006: It’s a lousy day for Ordonez, who fans for four times in one game for the only time in his career. He’s 1-for-5 on the day with a single as the Tigers top the Indians, 9-7.
Aug. 6, 2006: For the first time in over two years, Magglio Ordonez legs out a triple. He’ll get his next one in two years and one day from now. This particular triple leads to an ignominious moment for Ordonez, though. The catcher notices him leaning off third a bit too much and throws down there to pick him off. Ordonez has to break for home and is easily thrown out in what’s officially an attempted steal of home. Despite this, Detroit wins, 1-0.
Oct. 1, 2006: The Tigers are guaranteed a playoff slot already but skipper Jim Leyland, in his first season with the Tigers, isn't aiming at some damn wild card. He goes all out to win today's game to get the division title from the surging Twins. It isn't to be, as Kansas City tops Detroit 10-8 12 innings. Ordonez does what he can, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored before being pulled for a pinch runner in the 11th.
Oct. 7, 2006: ALDS Game Four: The Tigers advance to the ALCS with their win over the Yankees in this game. Ordonez has had a quiet postseason until now, but here erupts with three runs, two hits, two RBIs, and his first ever postseason home run to held the Tigers win, 8-3.
Oct. 14, 2006: ALCS Game Four: Once again, Magglio Ordonez makes up for a slow first three games in a postseason series (just two hits in 13 AB) with a terrific Game Four. This is his best postseason game ever, as he uncorks not one, but two home runs. The second is clearly the most memorable as he steps to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two on and the scored tied, and connects for a walk-off, pennant-winning three-run homer and a 6-3 Tigers triumph.
Oct. 22, 2006: World Series Game Two: For Magglio personally and for his team as a whole, this is the only highlight in an otherwise unpleasant World Series. Detroit wins, 3-1 over the Cardinals with Ordonez singling twice and scoring Detroit’s only run. These will be his only hits in the Series and Detroit’s sole win as the underdog Cardinals win it all in five games.
April 24, 2007: According to WPA, this is the greatest home run Magglio Ordonez ever hits. With one out in the top of the ninth, he smacks a two-run shot against Texas to transform a one-run deficit into a one-run 8-7 Tiger lead. WPA values it at 0.481 for the shot.
June 12, 2007: Magglio Ordonez plays in 1,848 major league games, and this is the only one to be a no-hitter. Justin Verlander does it to the Brewers, fanning 12 along the way. Also hitless is Ordonez, who at least receives an intentional walk in the game.
July 10, 2007: For the only time in his career, Magglio Ordonez gets to start an All-Star game, as fans voted for him in droves. He can credit his batting average, which is at .367 at the break. Despite that, Ordonez is hitless in this game. He’ll hit nearly as well in the second half and end the year with a .363 batting average.
July 18, 2007: Johan Santana is unquestionably one of the best pitchers in baseball, but for some reason Ordonez has him solved. Not only does Ordonez bat .391 against Santana in his career, but today he swats his fifth homer against him. That ties Rick Helling for the most homers any pitcher allows to Ordonez. Santana is the only pitcher to allow them in five different gamest to Magglio.
July 27, 2007: This is an odd one. Most players never get on base via catchers interference, or if they do it happens only once in their career. Today, it happens for the third and final time to Magglio Ordonez.
Aug. 12, 2007: When the Tigers have an eight-run inning against the A’s, Magglio Ordonez is the star of the show. He begins the frame with a home run, and drives in its last runs with another home run, making him one of the few to smack to dingers in one inning.
Sept. 10, 2007: It’s one of the greatest games of Magglio Ordonez’s career. Against Toronto, he’s 4-for-5 with a double, a run, and a pair of RBIs. What makes it so especially nice is how clutch his last hit is. Down 4-3 with the bases loaded and two outs, Ordonez brings home the tying and winning runs with a base hit to right. According to WPA, this is Ordonez’s best game, as he gets a 0.841 WPA on the day.
Sept. 17, 2007: With his batting average still well over .350, Magglio Ordonez gets his 200th hits of the year. It’s the only time he ever does that.
Sept. 22, 2007: Maggio Ordonez bops his 50th double of the year. He’ll end the year with 54, enough to safely pace the American League.
May 24, 2008: For the 23rd and final time in his career, Magglio Ordonez bashes two home runs in a game.
Sept. 6, 2008: For the second time in his career, Magglio Ordonez gets a double, triple, and home run in one game, but never does find that single to finish off the cycle. Detroit tops the Twins, 6-4.
Sept. 8, 2008: Magglio Ordonez is on hand for a big of yesterday. When Gary Sheffield launches a grand slam homer in the second inning, it’s the 250,000th home run in major league baseball history. Ordonez is on second base at the time, having walked. He goes 3-for-3 with two walks in an easy 14-8 win over the A’s.
July 21, 2009: Magglio Ordonez hits his seventh and final career grand slam. It’s also the only one he ever hits for the Tigers. His last slam before this was seven years and 19 days previously.
Oct. 6, 2009: This is probably the greatest game Magglio Ordonez ever plays in. The Tigers and Twins ended the regular season tied atop the AL Central, and this play-in game will determine who lives to fight another day. In a wild, back-and-forth game, the Tigers lose in 12 innings, 6-5.
Ordonez singles home the first run of the game and scores the second run a few minutes later. He also hits an eighth inning home run to tie the game at 4-4, which is the score heading into extra innings. In the 10th, with Detroit up, 5-4, Ordonez is lifted for a defensive replacement.
April 29, 2010: Magglio Ordonez achieves a nice career milestones. When he gets a fourth inning single off Carl Pavano, it’s his 2,000th career hit.
May 15, 2010: It’s time for another milestone. Ordonez enters the day with 997 runs scored, but crosses the plate three more times in today’s contest giving him an even 1,000 for his career.
June 2, 2010: Magglio Ordonez is on the field for one of the most unfortunate moments in 21st century baseball, and certainly the most infamous blown call of recent times. Ordonez is in right field when Tiger hurler Armando Galaragga is one out away from a perfect game. Cleveland shortstop Jason Donald hits into an easy ground out—only to have first base umpire Jim Joyce blow the call. Ordonez also had a hit in the game, as well as an RBI.
June 3, 2010: For the third and final time, Ordonez gets a double, triple, home run—but not the blasted single. He never does manage to hit for the cycle in any game during his career.
Sept. 27, 2011: Ordonez’s final season hasn’t been much to write home about as he’s hit .255 with five homers in 92 games. But at least he goes out with a bang. In this, his final career regular season game, Ordonez is 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs before being pulled from the contest in the fifth inning to the roaring cheers of the Detroit crowd.
Oct. 2, 2011: ALDS Game Two: Magglio Ordonez has one last great game, going 3-for-3 and scoring a run before being pulled for a pinch-runner. The Tigers beat the Yankees 5-3 to even the ALDS at one game apiece.
Oct. 6, 2011: ALDS Game Five: In the winner-take-all game, Ordonez does his part getting a single and a double. Though he doesn’t factor in the scoring, the Tigers win, 3-2, to advance to the ALCS.
Oct. 8, 2011: ALCS Game One: Magglio Ordonez appears in the last game of his career. It gets off to a rocky start as he grounds into a double play and then strikes out looking. However, he does draw a walk in his third plate appearance, but that’s it. The team pulls him for a pinch runner, and they won’t call on him again for the rest of the ALCS. He fractured his ankle and is unable to be used.
He isn’t picked up by any team for 2012, and thus will retire Sunday at Comerica Park.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.