Raul Ibanez has had an impressive major league career, all things considered. While never a star player, Ibanez recently hit his 300th career home run during his third stint with the Seattle Mariners. With that homer, Ibanez becomes just the 137th player in baseball history to reach that total. No matter what the category, adding your name to a baseball list that has less than 150 members is impressive to say the least. When Ibanez retires, whether after this season or next, no one will be calling for him to enter the Hall of Fame – however, it will be able to walk away knowing he got the absolute most possible out of his ability.
Saving His Best for Last
This 2013 season has been of particular note because of the home runs that he has racked up. Playing in 119 games for the Mariners, Ibanez has hit 29 home runs with a week left to play in the season. No player aged 41 or older (Ibanez is currently 41) has ever hit 30 home runs in a major league season. If he is to reach that mark in one of the last six games, it will be an incredible achievement if only for the names he has passed on the list. The top single-season home run leaders 41 years or older include Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Dave Winfield, Stan Musial, Carlton Fisk, and more. Raul Ibanez is not a name that fits in with the rest – but there he is none the less.
Due to a consistently low on base percentage and downright terrible defense, the value Ibanez brings to a team has always been limited. He has had his moments in the spotlight, though, most notably in the 2012 playoffs when he came up clutch for the Yankees in several key situations. More than just a home run hitter on the field, Ibanez has long been noted for his leadership, community service, and overall positive influence on the game of baseball.
Despite being a great guy and racking up solid home run totals, no one is going to be clamoring for Raul Ibanez collectibles anytime soon. You could take a key from this list though and build a collection of cards and other items from the later seasons of the stars that have had big home run years late in their careers. Obviously anything Ted Williams is always attractive, but even Carlton Fisk, Stan Musial, and Barry Bonds could all comprise an exciting and valuable collection. Tracking down cards that represent the later years in these players’ careers would provide a fun challenge, but one that is more doable than finding rooking cards or other, more common targets.
A True Role Model
Raul Ibanez has had a unique career that all young players could learn from. He was cast off from team to team early on, and rarely got many at-bats. He continued to work, improved his swing and his fitness, and eventually made a lot of money and achieved great things in the game that he loves. That kind of persistence is what makes up a successful professional athlete, and Raul Ibanez will be able to retire feeling good about himself and his career.