Mike Lieberthal retires a Phillie

June 1, 2008 7:31:29 PM PDT
Former catcher Mike Lieberthal signed a one-day minor league contract Sunday and officially retired as a member of the Phillies. The 36-year-old Lieberthal spent 13 of his 14 years in the Major Leagues with the Phillies. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers last winter and played in only 38 games as a backup to Russell Martin, hitting .234 in 77 at-bats.

Lieberthal threw out the ceremonial first pitch and received a warm ovation from the fans.

"To put everything I had into the Phillies for 13 years, it's pretty special," Lieberthal said. "You don't see too many players who stay with one team in any sport for that long of a period. It's definitely an honor to come here and finish with the Phillies."

Lieberthal was never able to put up the type of numbers with his hometown club - he grew up in Westlake Village, near Los Angeles - that he did in 13 seasons with the Phillies.

He hit .274 with 257 doubles, 150 home runs, 610 RBIs while playing in 1,212 career games. He only had one RBI in 38 games with the Dodgers.

Lieberthal caught 1,139 games for the Phillies after the franchise selected him as the third overall pick in the 1990 draft behind only Chipper Jones and Tony Clark. Lieberthal eventually made his major league debut on June 20, 1994, against the Dodgers.

He was a two-time All-Star in 1999 and 2000 and had career-best numbers of 31 homers and 96 RBIs in 1999.

But he became a target of the fans' ire with seven stints on the disabled list and declining production after signing a four-year, $30 million contract extension in 2002.


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