Jason Giambi, a one-time MVP whose career was tainted by a PED scandal, announced his retirement Monday.
“I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey,” the 44-year-old said in a statement to the New York Daily News. “I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today.”
Giambi became a star with the Oakland Athletics in the late 1990s, turning into one of baseball’s best sluggers. From 1998 to 2003, he averaged 37 home runs per year. In 2000, he was named American League MVP after hitting 43 homers and driving in 137 runs while batting .333.
He signed a seven-year, $120 million contract with the New York Yankees before the 2002 season and hit 41 homers in each of his first two years with the Yankees.
In 2003, however, his name was discovered in records from BALCO, a Bay Area laboratory that turned out to be a distributor of performance-enhancing drugs.
After avoiding admitting PED use for several years, he told USA Today in 2007: “I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: ‘We made a mistake.’ We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. … Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it.”
Major League Baseball implemented drug testing in 2005, and Giambi still hit at least 30 home runs three times in the next four years. But his career took a downward turn after 2008, and he was just a bit player in his final six seasons with Oakland (2009), the Colorado Rockies (2009-12) and the Cleveland Indians (2013-14).
In 20 seasons, he hit .277 with 440 home runs, 1,441 RBIs and 405 doubles.