John McDonald Hangs up his Spikes


After playing 16 seasons in the Major Leagues, John McDonald decided to step away from the game on Wednesday. The 40-year-old infielder played for eight different organizations during his career. McDonald played the game with joy and determination, making fans out of nearly every person who was lucky enough to see him play.

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Johnny Mac was never known for his offense, but he was a joy to watch defensively. McDonald finished his career with a .233 batting average, 28 home runs and 228 RBI’s across 1100 games. His defensive metrics are truly impressive. McDonald posted a 4.68 range factor per 9 innings during his career, besting the league average of 4.44 during the same period. His 5.14 range factor per 9 innings at second base blew away the competitions average of 4.87. McDonald never looked much like an athlete, but he proved the skeptics wrong by consistently making unbelievable plays all over the diamond.

John McDonald played the final innings of his career a member of the Angels. McDonald appeared in 95 games for the Halos last season. The 40-year-old was utilized as a late inning defensive replacement. McDonald hit .171, with no home runs and 5 runs batted in over the course of 90 at bats in an Angels’ uniform. McDonald ended his career as a valuable player on what turned out to be a 98 win team – not too shabby.

The Toronto Blue Jays and their fans witnessed the peak of John McDonald’s career. He donned a Blue Jays uniform 549 times between 2005 and 2011. McDonald hit .243 with 17 home runs and 140 RBI’s, en route to becoming a beloved presence in the Jays’ clubhouse. Johnny Mac consistently made acrobatic plays look routine; posting an impressive 7.1 dWAR during his tenure in Toronto. McDonald’s remarkable defense was worth the price of admission.

The Lyme, CT product was able to fulfill a life long dream by earning a World Series ring in 2013 with the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox were the team McDonald grew up rooting for. Winning a title with the Sox figures to rank high on the list of accomplishments for this New England native.

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McDonald has had an interesting career, full of unexpected successes. After being selected in the 12th round of the 1996 draft by the Cleveland Indians, the undersized middle infielder managed to carve out a niche` for himself. In an era that places immense value on offense, it warms my heart to see a 5’9 glove man play 16 seasons in the show. I would hazard a guess that McDonald may not be finished with baseball, as he would appear to be a perfect candidate to earn a job as an infield instructor.

As a Canadian, I was subjected to many awful seasons of Blue Jays baseball during the mid-2000’s. Watching John McDonald make jaw dropping snags was one of the few bright spots. Based on Johnny Mac’s interactions with fans and the media, he always came off as an intelligent and articulate man. I will sincerely miss watching McDonald play, and I wish him and his family the best of luck in the future.

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