A fond farewell to the actually great Adam Dunn
So long, Big Donkey…
Monday, Adam Dunn confirmed all his fans’ biggest fears by officially announcing his retirement at the ripe young age of 35. Another one gone too soon.
Despite the criticism he’s taken the last few years following his abysmal 2011 season with the White Sox, Dunn was a great player and I’ll be damned if he’s just going to retire without a proper goodbye.
Sure, he’s never played in a playoff game, but now that he’s retired, you can wipe out that "most games played by an active player without a postseason appearance" title. Now he’s just 14th on the all-time list of most games played without a postseason appearance. And guess who’s atop that list?
Hall of famer Ernie Banks, that’s who.
Sure, it’s highly unlikely that Adam Dunn makes the Hall of Fame. But look at all the other great players who aren’t in there: Bonds, Clemens, J.T. Snow, J.T. Bruett.
Dunn debuted only 14 years ago with the Cincinnati Reds. He was a big, huge man with the unique ability to stroke 40 home runs, strikeout 200 times in one season, and look like country music star Toby Keith. Dunn hit 19 dingers his rookie year (in only 66 games), and if not for Albert Pujols, Roy Oswalt, and Jimmy Rollins, he would have won the NL Rookie of the Year.
What Dunn did do was hit more than 40 homers in five straight seasons. Not even Albert Pujols has done that. Hell, last year Dunn hit 22 home runs. That’s better than what most 35-year-olds are doing with their time.
In fact, Dunn and Pujols have a lot in common. They were born only two months apart. They both debuted at age 21 in 2001. And they both came up on teams in the NL Central. Actually, that’s the majority of what they have in common. They’re very different players. Pujols hit for average while also hitting for power, and he frequently walked more times than he struck out. Dunn didn’t do that once in his career. Dunn either walked or struck out in 45 percent of his at-bats (which is astounding!). For Pujols, that number is 22 percent. But this comparison is pretty unfair considering Pujols will go down as one of the best players of his generation. However, there’s no disputing that Dunn was a player in a generation. And that generation oohed and aahed over power. They oohed and aahed over Dunn doing this:
He even pitched the 9th inning of a game:
He was very durable, and had an excellent seven-year peak from 2004-10 where he averaged 40 HR, 101 RBI, 94 R, 158 games played, and a .253/.381/.533 slash line. That’s really, really good!
Plus, he made more than $100 million in the majors and now has a budding acting career to fall back on.
Not half bad for some kid outta Houston. Not half bad for anyone.
So good job, Adam Dunn. Truly. You had a great career and you will be missed.