19 Feb

one fine career

Surely, sometime this season, when a decent number of fans are allowed back in Target Field, the Minnesota Twins will have a Brian Dozier Day of some sort. The former Southern Miss star, who announced his retirement on Thursday, deserves it. He was the face of the franchise for the better part of the seven years he spent with the team that drafted him out of USM in 2009. One Minneapolis columnist wrote that Dozier ranks as the third-best second baseman in the Twins’ long history, behind Hall of Famer Rod Carew and Chuck Knoblauch. Dozier hit more homers than any Twins second baseman in history and tied an MLB record for homers by a second baseman in a single season when he launched 42 in 2016. With 192 career bombs, Dozier ranks fifth all-time among Mississippi-born players. He topped 1,000 career hits and 100 career steals. But of course, he was about a lot more than numbers. He won several leadership and community service awards during his time in Minnesota. “He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever been around in my life,” Ron Gardenhire, one of Dozier’s managers, said in a Zoom call tribute arranged by the Twins on Thursday. It seems a shame that Dozier is done at 33, apparently healthy after barely playing in 2020. Players get old quick these days. But he said during a very upbeat Zoom call that he is at peace with his decision and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and two young kids. He even joked about heading off to have a beer rather than to a ballfield. Dozier crammed a lot into his nine MLB seasons. He was an All-Star, a Home Run Derby participant, a Gold Glove winner and a World Series champion (with Washington in 2019). He deserves to be celebrated.