After 15 years, 294 home runs, and a career batting average of .309, Magglio Ordonez announced his retirement Sunday amidst the Detroit fans he had played for since 2004. Fans got a chance to say goodbye and relive some of Ordonez's greatest moments at a ceremony held at Comerica Park before the Tigers hosted the Yankees.
A video tribute included Ordonez's pennant-winning home run in Game 4 of the 2006 AL championship series, one of the most memorable moments in recent Tigers history. Ordone hit .363 that year, the highest average by a Detroit player since 1937, and became the first player in a Tigers uniform to take home the batting title in 46 years.
In attendance was Ordonez's family, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, owner Mike Ilitch, and manager Jim Leyland. ''As a manager, one of your biggest thrills is to watch the best players in the world play the game, and I can't tell Magglio what a treat it was for me to have watched him play on a daily basis,'' Leyland said.
Ordonez's playing had fallen off since July 2010, when he fractured his right ankle sliding into home, requiring surgery. He fractured the ankle again during the playoffs, prompting a parting of ways between him and the Tigers.
Ordonez decided to officially retire after he didn't receive any tempting offers from another team. ''I knew it wasn't going to be easy to sign another contract. Two fractured ankles, my age,'' Ordonez said. ''I got in good shape, but I didn't receive any offer, any nice offer, to come back to the big leagues. Only minor leagues.''
Ordonez made his debut with the White Sox in 1997 at the age of 17, and from 1999-2003, he hit .312, averaging 32 homers and 118 RBIs per season. Despite wearing a Tigers uniform since 2004, he maintains fond memories of the White Sox organization. If it wasn't for the White Sox, I wouldn't be here 15 years,'' Ordonez said. ''The fans always support me, the organization, too. They were great to me.''