Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To Sheffield, Proof Is In The Results

Back in April the Detroit Tigers released prospective Hall Of Famer Gary Sheffield. Sheffield, 40, believed he could still compete, but felt his statistics from last year, .225 Avg., had more to do with injuries than his fading ability.

Because of his release, Sheff had a huge chip on his shoulder, "It's something I have always said: When I am healthy I know what I can still do," Sheffield said. "I've seen older players try to convince organizations that they can do this, they can do that and all they get is a 'Yeah, yeah, right.' They never get the opportunity to prove what they are saying.

"This allowed me to prove it," Sheffield said. "Whether people respect that or not, I can live with that now."

Sixteen days after his release, and having been signed to the Major League minimum $400K by the Mets, Sheffield became the sixth player to club 500 HR’s, amass 2,500 hits, more than 1,500 RBI, and 200 stolen bases. Long Island Met Fan, Jobu, and I were at that game, and we couldn’t believe the charge Sheffield put into that milestone HR against the Brewers.

When Sheffield was released by Detriot, he explains, "I shut down my mind. I shut down baseball, I told people, 'I don't want to play anymore.' When I got released that was it. It was over."

Having seen aging ball players sticking around the game too long, where they were unable to compete at a professional level, Sheffield was real uncomfortable. He still believed he could compete. He just needed to get healthy and receive an opportunity. Sheff said he would not beg nor plead for another job as a baseball player. "It was my family that wanted me to come back. They encouraged me and I knew I had to prove it to myself, that if I was healthy, I could still do what I wanted to do."

This season not only is Sheffield hitting a respectable .283, but he has 10 HR’s. He has also been a huge help to his teammates, as we have reported
Here and Here. Whether it is helping Jeff Francoeur find his stroke, or offering advice to the young Daniel Murphy, Sheffield has proven to be a quality teammate and mentor to his younger colleagues.

"It doesn't matter now if anyone else respects what I have done," Sheffield said. "I have proven it to myself what I can do. That's all that matters, I know."

Source: Kristie Ackert - NY Daily News

1 comment:

Long Island Met Fan said...

Sheff ability to help the other guys on this team is the one light that most of the time goes unnoticed. Now love to see him have a walk off homer!