JUPITER, Fla., — February 18, 2011 –St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds, who on February 4 agreed to terms with the team on a minor league free-agent contract, today announced his retirement as an active player.
Edmonds, 40, has been undergoing medial treatment for an Achilles tendon injury that occurred at the end of the 2010 season. Discussions between Cardinals’ team physician Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals Medical Staff and Edmonds’ treating physicians, reached a conclusion that the severity of Edmonds’ injury, the status of his recovery and his current prognosis, would prevent Jim from being medically cleared to play.
Paletta also informed Edmonds that he could not guarantee that he would not be at significant risk for Achilles rupture or another more significant injury.
“After speaking with Dr. Paletta and a number of doctors about the potential risk of future permanent damage, I have decided to retire,” said Edmonds. “Although I feel that I can still play and contribute, the risk of permanent injury is too much for me to chance. As much as I regret this announcement, I feel that it is for the best.”
“We are disappointed that Jim could not continue playing,” stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “When he decided to give it one more try with the Cardinals, we were pleased to give him the opportunity. Having had the privilege of watching him from 2000-07, we certainly appreciate his great career. The entire Cardinals organization wishes Jim and his family the very best in retirement and we hope to see him around the ballpark.”
Edmonds starred for the Cardinals from 2000-07, helping the team to six postseason appearances, including World Series trips in both 2004 and 2006. Edmonds provided some of the team’s most memorable moments in the final years at Busch Stadium II, hitting a stadium-deafening 12th inning walk-off homer to win Game 6 of the 2004 National League Championship Series versus Houston and making “The Catch” in Game 7 of that same series, propelling the Cardinals to their first Fall Classic in 18 years.
Edmonds is ranked 4th on the Cardinals all-time list for home runs (241) and is the franchise leader in postseason games (61) and RBI (41). He was a three-time All-Star (2000, 2003 & 2005) with the Cardinals and earned six (2000-05) of his eight Rawlings Gold Gloves awards while wearing the “birds-on-bat”.
Edmonds was traded by the Cardinals to San Diego on December 14, 2007 in exchange for infielder David Freese and combined to hit 20 home runs in 2008 with the Padres and Chicago Cubs – who acquired him on May 15 following his release by San Diego.
After sitting out the 2009 season, Edmonds split last year between Milwaukee and Cincinnati, providing some clutch play for the Reds down the stretch before succumbing to an Achilles injury that he re-aggravated while hitting a home run on Sept. 21. He combined to hit .276 with 11 HR’s for the Brewers and Reds in 2010.
Affectionately referred to as “Hollywood” and “Jimmy Ballgame”, Edmonds enjoyed perhaps his best season in 2004 when he hit .301 with a career-high 42 home runs and 111 RBI and joined teammates Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen in a spirited “MV3” race.
Edmonds posted a career .284 batting mark (1,949 hits) with 393 HR’s & 1,199 RBI in 2,011 games since debuting with the California Angels in 1993. He was traded by the Angels to the Cardinals on March 23, 2000 in a deal for pitcher Kent Bottenfield and infielder Adam Kennedy.