Jason Giambi retires: Farewell to the Giambino


Longtime slugger Jason Giambi announced his retirement on Monday afternoon.

At 44 years old and after 20 years in the big leagues as a player, the man known as the Giambino is finally hanging them up.

From the middle of 2009 through the 2012 season, Jason Giambi was a member of the Colorado Rockies. For those three years, there was perhaps nothing more thrilling at Coors Field than the sound of this walk-up music.

Equally thrilling were the results of at least a few of those late-inning pinch-hit appearances from Giambi.

And every now and then, we got fleeting glances of the dominant slugger that Giambi was during his controversial prime.

The Giambino was important for reasons off the field as well. For a Rockies franchise that consistently overvalues clubhouse culture, Giambi stuck out as a guy who actually made a significant impact as a leader in the locker room. The combination of his occasional late-inning heroics and his leadership persuaded the Rockies to keep him around for over three seasons despite the fact that he was really never a fit on the roster.

The thing I will remember most about Giambi’s tenure is that watching him returned me to a kid’s mindset as a baseball fan.

Jason Giambi was not a natural fit for the Rockies. I didn’t care.

He was no world-beater on the Rockies and he hit only one home run during his final season with the Rockies. I didn’t care.

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The Rockies would have benefited from giving Giambi’s at-bats to a younger prospect rather than giving playing time to a veteran player in his age 39, 40, and 41 seasons. I didn’t care.

It was kind of hard to even take the Rockies seriously when they almost hired Giambi to be their manager before the 2013 season. I didn’t care.

Whatever it is about Giambi that makes him so likable, I was just excited to see him play. I just liked cheering for him, and I was especially excited in those moments when he did come through in the clutch.

Jason Giambi leaves behind a complicated career clouded by the fact that he was a PED user during his prime. He was hard to judge as a player and hard to take seriously from time to time.

Perhaps the Rockies caught the older, wiser version of Giambi when he played in Colorado. Whatever the case may be, I will remember his tenure with them most for how much the fans loved the guy, whether because of his leadership, his charm with reporters, or the fact that he came through with a thrilling home run every now and then. And that music…how can you not dig that walk-up music?

Jason Giambi was the man. Congrats to “the big man” on a 20-year career in the big leagues.

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