Former Oakland Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis will retire, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1999, Ellis played for the A's from 2002-2011 after arriving with Cory Lidle in a three-team trade for Angel Berroa, A.J. Hinch, and Ben Grieve.
In my memory and probably yours too, Ellis's defense is what stands out. Slusser writes, "Ellis retires with a .991 fielding percentage, fifth all time among second baseman." Above him? Craig Counsell, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Oquendo, and Placido Polanco.
His big range for popups were always my favorite:
And it's not as though he was a defense-only player. Early in his time with the A's, Diamondvision regaled us with the tale of his journey to become South Dakota's home run champion, chasing Dave Collins to 32. Ellis passed Collins in 2006. He remained South Dakota's home run king until 2010, when Jason Kubel passed him. Ellis finished his career with 105 home runs in 5,728 plate appearances, with a batting line of .262/.327/.384, good for an OPS+ of 92.
Ellis ends his career at the age of 37, having played for the Rockies, Dodgers, and Cardinals before calling it a playing career, though don't count him out of baseball entirely. A's general manager Billy Beane told Susan Slusser, "After some deserved time with Sarah and his children, I'm hopeful, when he is ready, Mark will continue his baseball career with the A's."