Friday, January 22, 2021

INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION

Former Orioles outfielder Gibbons calls it quits at age 35

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

Former Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons retired from baseball Monday after nine years in the big leagues and several more in the minors trying to recapture the prosperity he once enjoyed in Baltimore.

The 35-year-old’s decision was announced by the Milwaukee Brewers organization after he had played for their Double-A and Triple-A affiliates this season.

Playing for the Orioles from 2001 through 2007, Gibbons hit .260 with 121 home runs and 405 runs batted in in 779 games. Gibbons was named the club’s most valuable player in 2003 after hitting 23 home runs, driving in a career-best 100 runs, and posting a .277 batting average.

The outfielder and occasional first baseman also found success in 2005 when slugging 26 home runs and driving in 79 runs in only 139 games. That production prompted the Orioles to sign Gibbons to a four-year, $21 contract prior to the 2006 season, a move the club would regret given after would take place over the next two years.

Gibbons’ career will forever be linked to steroids after a 2006 Los Angeles Times report revealed former teammate Jason Grimsley had told federal agents the left-handed hitter used anabolic steroids. While the story was denounced by Gibbons, he would then be the subject of a Sports Illustrated report a year later saying he received shipments of performance-enhancing drugs from an Orlando-based pharmacy over a two-year period earlier in his career.

He was also cited in the infamous Mitchell Report and suspended 15 days at the start of the 2008 season for violating baseball’s drug policy.

Released by the Orioles prior to the start of the 2008 season despite having two years remaining and nearly $12 million owed on his contract, Gibbons would toil in minor league baseball for three years before finally making it back to the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010 and 2011. The left-handed hitter batted .269 with six home runs and 22 RBIs in 61 games over two seasons with the Dodgers.

Gibbon’s retirement comes after he hit a combined .253 at Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville this season.

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