On April 9, a former Baltimore Orioles first basemen announced his retirement and a few days ago, a second one did.
Former Baltimore Orioles Steve Pearce announced his retirement on April 13. In his journey around the AL East, Pearce spent some of 2012 and 2016 as well as all of 2013, ’14, and ’15 in Birdland.
Pearce is best known for his time with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 when he was named the World Series MVP for his three timely home runs. He hit a remarkable .333/.500/1.167 in the five-game series against the Dodgers. For his prowess in the playoffs, the Red Sox resigned him for 2019; he played in 99 games.
Pearce played more games with the Orioles than with any other team, although he never played in more than 102 games with the team. With the Orioles he batted .255/.337/.473 and hit 42 home runs.
Retirement Was Expected
His announcement a few days ago comes as no surprise. MLB Trade Rumors reported that he was unofficially retired in December 2019. At the end of the 2019 season, he officially accumulated 10 years of service so he earns a full retirement pension from the MLB.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) April 14, 2020
Pearce has a unique history in the MLB. It is unusual for any players to stay with one team for their entire career. It is even more unusual for a player to stay with the MLB for ten years with so many trades, waivers, and free-agency signings. Interestingly, Reynolds was in a similar position, as he played for several teams and was tossed around the NL in the last few seasons.
The Odd April 2014 Transactions
One of Pearce’s oddest transactions was with the Orioles. The team originally purchased him from the Yankees in June 2012. He played for the Orioles and went back and forth between the Majors and minors through 2014. On April 27, 2014, the Orioles released him on waivers, then picked him back up on April 29.
While this happens all throughout the MLB, what Pearce did when released on waivers is what makes the transaction unusual. Instead of letting him be claimed on waivers on the 27th, he chose to enter free agency. With Chris Davis raking and playing first base in 2013, Pearce’s role with the team was in jeopardy.
However, the Orioles couldn’t stay away from Pearce and they signed him as a utility player. His first complete game after the transactions was May 1, and Pearce went 3 for 4, showing the O’s front office that he was a valuable player. He finished the 2014 season with a slash of .293/.373/.556, splitting his time between first, left field, with the occasional DH or stint in right. That turned out to be his best season.
Pearce’s tenacity was his most notable feature. It is what got him to ten years in the MLB. He put it on display in late 2018 and will never be forgotten in the baseball world.