The long-time Phillies catcher made it official on Saturday, announcing his retirement after 14 big-league seasons. The Dodgers, for whom Lieberthal played as a little-used backup last season, declined his 2008 option, convincing the 36 year-old to hang 'em up.
Lieberthal made the decision in October, when it became clear the Dodgers wouldn't pick up his $1.5 million contract option for this season.
``If they would have picked up my option, I probably would have played one more year,'' Lieberthal said. ``But I didn't want to go anywhere else. ... I'm totally in a very happy place now.''
Lieberthal said he would like to stay in the game in some capacity, possibly in broadcasting, but that he has no desire to coach because it would require him to start again in the low minors and work his way up.
I wrote a piece a couple years back that Lieberthal, who spent 17 years in the organization including 13 (1994-2006) in the majors, has an argument as the greatest catcher in Phillies history. While that might have been an overstatement, his accomplishments with the team--1174 games (a team record at the position), 150 homers, a .275 average--made him a signature player during his tenure. Unfortunately, Lieberthal arrived in the bigs just too late for the Phillies' 1993 pennant, and left just too soon to enjoy the 2007 division title. His 1212 games played without a postseason appearance didn't even put him close to the active leader, however: that's Damian Easley of the Mets, with 1,593.