After 16-year career, McDonald hangs up his spikes

Not known for his bat, veteran infielder was whiz with glove

After 16-year career, McDonald hangs up his spikes

TORONTO -- Longtime Blue Jays fan favorite John McDonald announced his retirement on Wednesday afternoon.

McDonald's career comes to an end after 16 seasons in the big leagues, including seven with the Blue Jays. He finished with a .233 career average and a .273 on-base percentage while playing for eight organizations.

The 40-year-old was never really known for his bat and often let his glove do most of the talking. McDonald was one of the best fielders in the game during his prime, as he possessed the type of finesse with his hands that most players can only dream of.

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It was the ability to consistently pull off highlight-reel plays in the field that made McDonald extremely popular in Toronto. He was viewed as the type of underdog player who defied the odds by making it to the highest level in a game that is often dominated by power.

McDonald's best years came in Toronto from 2006-07, which also were the only seasons he appeared in at least 100 games. He won the bulk of the playing time over Russ Adams and Royce Clayton during those years, and it was well known at the time that Roy Halladay requested McDonald get the start every time he was on the mound.

The most memorable moment in Toronto for McDonald was also his most emotional one. McDonald's father passed away five days before Father's Day in June 2010 following an eight-month battle with liver cancer. McDonald returned to the lineup on Father's Day and proceeded to hit a ninth-inning home run against the Giants.

Video: McDonald's two-run blast

The moments that followed the emotional home run are ones that a lot of Blue Jays fans -- and especially McDonald -- will never forget. Vernon Wells was one of the players who joined McDonald in the dugout tunnel after the home run, and he has since referred to it as one of his favorite memories in a Blue Jays uniform.

The fact that McDonald was able to remain in the game for as long as he did is a testament to his work ethic and a willingness to take on a mentorship role as a veteran bench player. A future in coaching would seem to be the logical next step, and there likely will be no shortage of teams wanting to get him into their system in the coming months.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.