Blue Jays fan favorite John McDonald retires from baseball


In this modern day of statistics determining every aspect of a players value, we often forget that there are two components of the game that go unnoticed; heart and hustle. While they won’t show up in the box score or on analysis pages like FanGraphs or Baseball-Reference, the are two qualities that can help shape an average player into a hero.

John McDonald had those qualities in spades.

On Wednesday, Johnny Mac (as fans of the Blue Jays and other teams around the league came to know him) officially announced his retirement from the game of baseball, ending a 16-year career personified by heart and hustle.

A quick scan of his Baseball-Reference profile will paint John McDonald as being on par with such baseball luminaries as Juan Castro, Ramon Santiago, Abraham Nunez, and the always dangerous Brendan Ryan. However, his worth on the diamond far exceeded the 0.8 WAR modern baseball thinkers will value him at.

If you ask teammates and fans of the eight teams he suited up for over the course of his 16 year MLB career, he was worth much more than a replacement level player. Blue Jays players and fans alike lamented when he was traded away from the team, along with Aaron Hill for second baseman Kelly Johnson. Johnny Mac was the heart of the team, no matter when he played.

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As a hitter, McDonald was never a special player. In 1100 games, he posted a .233/.273/.323 slash line with a wRC+ of 56, 28 home runs, and 210 RBI. As a Blue Jay for seven seasons, he was slightly better at the plate, as Toronto gave him a bit more playing time and he responded with a batting line of .243/.278/.340 with an OPS+ of 63.

However, it was fielding when John McDonald truly excelled. Primarily an infielder, McDonald spent most of his time at shortstop (4082.2 Innings, 6.3 UZR/150, 51 DRS), but also saw plenty of time at second base (1376.2 inn.,15.9 UZR/150, 15 DRS), and third base (954 inn., -0.5 UZR/150, 1 DRS). Hell, Johnny Mac even finished his pitching career with a 27.0 K/9 ratio.

On behalf of all Blue Jays fans, and all baseball fans for that matter, we thank you Johnny Mac for your years of dedication to this beautiful game, and we hope that retirement treats you as well as you’ve treated us over the years.

Here’s to the next step in the journey!

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