From a highly-touted collegiate baseball player and first-round pick to a below-average MLB career as a journeyman infielder, Gordon Beckham has experienced both highs and lows as a ballplayer. Now, the onetime SF Giants third baseman has officially decided to hang up his cleats, and he showed a good attitude despite the roller-coaster career.
Beckham, in a tweet Wednesday night, tied in his retirement with Buster Posey's announcement earlier this offseason - suggesting he timed it so he could to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame at the same time as his longtime friend and competitor.
Beckham was an amateur standout at the same time as Posey
Beckham, a 2007 Cape Cod League teammate of Posey, was a two-time All-American at the University of Georgia. As a junior with Georgia in 2008 he was the main threat on a team that reached the College World Series finals (falling to Fresno State in three games), and was a finalist for USA Baseball's prestigious Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country - an award Posey won.
The Chicago White Sox selected Beckham with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft, three picks behind the Giants' choice of Posey. Beckham rose quickly to the Majors, playiing 103 games with Chicago in 2009 and finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Despite the pedigree and solid first season, Beckham had a rough career. His .270 batting average as a rookie represented a career high, as did his 63 RBI and 41 walks. He did hit 16 home runs in 2012, but two years later the White Sox traded Beckham to the Angels and helped them to the playoffs with a resurgent .268/.328/.429 line in 26 games.
The 2015 season saw Beckham back with the White Sox after signing as a free agent, but for 2016 he signed with the Atlanta Braves. A .217 average with five homers in 85 games didn't deter the Giants, who traded for him with just a few days left in the regular season to help secure a Wild Card playoff berth. Beckham played in three games with the Orange and Black, going 0-for-5 with a sacrifice fly. He went on to spend most of Spring Training with San Francisco in 2017 but was released in late-March and signed with the Seattle Mariners.
A pair of seasons bouncing between Seattle and their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma and a half-season of play with the Detroit Tigers rounded out Beckham's MLB career after 2019. He spent 2020 at the New York Mets' alternate site but didn't get called up, and in early-2021 Beckham "quietly retired" - though apparently it wasn't official until a few days ago.
Though not a Hall of Famer for his play, Beckham always had great hair. In a reply to Beckham's retirement tweet, former pitcher Jered Weaver commented, "Best hair care HOF for sure!"
Beckham finishes his career with a .237 average and 80 home runs in 1069 career MLB games.