May 29, 1989 - San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium: Phillies legendary third baseman Mike Schmidt decides to retire after 17 seasons. Schmidt, who spent his entire major league career in Philadelphia, leaves the game as the best third baseman in baseball history. He ranked seventh all time in career home runs with 548, he won 10 gold gloves, and he was the NL Most Valuable Player three times.
Playing for a club that had only two playoff appearances in franchise history prior to his arrival, Schmidt was able to lead his teams into the post-season five times, winning the World Series in 1980.
Tearing up at the podium: 'You may not be able to tell, but this is a joyous time for me, I've had a great career... I left Dayton, Ohio, with two bad knees and a dream of becoming a baseball player; I thank God it came it true'
Schmidt, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer, missed the last two months of the 1988 season with a injury. He technically became a free agent, talking with both the Reds and the Dodgers before signing the final contract keeping him in Philadelphia. That contract guaranteed only $500K for 1989 season, he made $2.5M in 1988. The club insisted on an incentive based deal. Schmidt got another $500K by being on the roster on May 15 and was set to receive another $500K if he was on the roster on Aug. 15. There were also incentive clauses for games started.
'I feel like I could ask the Phillies to keep me on to add to my statistics, but my love for the game won't let me do that.'
At the time, the Phillies were in last place in the NL East, limping along with a record of 18-28. Schmidt had only 2 hits in last 41 times at bat and led the team in errors with 8. During his last two games at San Francisco, he made costly fielding errors contributing to consecutive losses.