Carlos Guillen career highlights

On Tuesday, veteran major leaguer Carlos Guillen retired after 14 seasons. When a player retires, it makes sense to look back on his career, so let’s do that now.

Below is a list of his career highlights, presented in chronological order. They include the greatest and most important games he played in, his personal highs (and lows), and also some odds and ends along the way.

Mariners tenure

Sept. 6, 1998: Guillen makes his big-league debut. He gets the start at second base and bats ninth against the Orioles. In his first time to the plate, Mike Mussina whiffs him on three pitches. In the eighth-inning, he gets his first hit, an RBI single.

April 5, 1999: Guillen belts his first career home run. It is a solo shot off of White Sox pitcher James Baldwin.

July 22, 2000: Guillen has one of his best games to date, going 3-for-5 with a double in a game remembered for an odd delay. Baseball stops for 54 minutes when Safeco’s retractable roof won’t close. Texas wins easily, 13-5.

Aug. 7, 2000: The third career home run for Guillen is also his first grand slam. He’ll only hit two more slams the rest of the his career, both in 2007.

Oct. 3, 2000: ALDS Game Three: The first postseason plate appearance for Guillen sure is a memorable one. Seattle asks him to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth in a game tied 1-1 with runners on the corners. After a first-pitch strike by White Sox relief ace Keith Foulke, Guillen hits a game-winning and sweep-clinching single to end the game.

Oct. 17, 2000: ALCS Game Six: The Mariners need a win to stay alive against the Yankees in the ALCS, and Guillen does his part. He draws two walks and, most importantly, in the fourth inning hits a two-run homer to give Seattle a lead of 4-0. However, the Yankees come back to win, 9-7, and end Seattle’s season.

May 22, 2001: The Mariners lose a wild one, 12-11, to the Twins. Minnesota led 8-0 early but narrowly holds off a furious Seattle rally. Guillen drives home two runs in the ninth with a single and later scores Seattle’s 11th and final run.

Aug. 5, 2001: It’s a magical season for the Mariners as they win 116 games on the year, but the greatest game they play is the one that got away. They take an early 12-0 lead on Cleveland, only to lose, 15-14, in 11 innings. Guillen is 1-for-6 with a third-inning single that drove in two runs, making the score 8-0 at the time.

Oct. 22, 2001: ALCS Game Five: Guillen is 0-for-4 in his appearances so far in the ALCS but gets the start in this game, which is a must-win one for Seattle, which dropped three of the first four in the ALCS to the Yankees. Guillen goes 2-for-4, but the Yankees cruise in an easy 12-3, pennant-winning performance. Guillen scores one of Seattle’s runs after the game has already been decided.

Sept. 17, 2002: Guillen comes to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with a runner on third and two out and promptly hits a walk-off single for the win. Seattle tops the Rangers, 3-2. It’s the first of seven walk-off hits in his career, and his only one as a Mariner.

May 9, 2003: Guillen will leg out only three triples in all of 2003, but damned if two don’t occur in one game on this day. In fact, they come in back-to-back innings (the fifth and sixth) as the Mariners top the White Sox, 6-3. Guillen will also hit two triples in a game next year on June 15, but at least he’ll have 10 triples overall in that season.

June 26, 2003: Edgar Martinez becomes the all-time Mariners RBI king when he swats a two-run homer off the Angels in this 10-6 Seattle victory. Guillen was the runner on base when Martinez made franchise history.

July 1, 2003: It’s Guillen’s worst day on the bases as he’s gunned down in two stolen-base attempts. It’s his only two with two CS in one game, though he has three different two-steal games (all with Detroit). Seattle loses, 3-2, to Oakland.

A comparative study on an unwritten rule of baseball.

Tigers tenure

April 30, 2004: It’s Guillen’s first game against (and in) Seattle since they traded him to Detroit over the offseason. He goes 1-for-4, but the Tigers lose, 3-1. His first time up, he strikes out against Freddy Garcia. As it happens, Guillen and Garcia both came to the Mariners organization in 1998 from Houston in a trade for Randy Johnson.

Guillen: not a great player, but a hell of a good one.

May 31, 2004: For the first and only time in his career, Guillen legs out an inside-the-park home run. It comes against the eighth inning of a game against the Royals. It’s one of two homers he gets in the game, the first of seven multi-home run games Guillen will enjoy.

July 31, 2004: Of the 510 walks Guillen receives in his career, none is ever so embarrassing for the pitcher to give up as this one. Cliff Politte of the White Sox walks Guillen in with the bases loaded and the score tied with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning. Yup, it’s a walk-off walk for a 3-2 Tigers win.

Aug 21, 2004: Guillen sets a personal best with six RBIs in one game. In the fifth and sixth innings, he comes to the plate with the bases loaded and hits bases-clearing doubles both times. Thanks largely to his efforts, the Tigers top Guillen’s old team, the Mariners, 11-10 in 10 innings. They are two of his career 15 bases-loaded doubles.

April 4, 2005: On Opening Day, Dmitri Young makes history by bashing three home runs. On the third homer, Guillen is on base to be driven in by Young. Detroit beats Kansas City, 11-2.

June 1, 2006: With runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game, Guillen hits a walk-off single against Kyle Farnswroth. Detroit tops the Yankees, 7-6.

July 14, 2006: For the first time in his career, Guillen blasts a one-out, walk-off home run. It is a solo shot off Kansas City’s Jeremy Affeldt and gives Detroit a 10-9 win. His WPA on the blast is 0.413, his best score for one swing ever.

Aug. 1, 2006: Guillen has one of the best days of his life, hitting for the cycle. He triples his first time up and then homers in his next plate appearance. After lining out, he later singles and completes the cycle with a double. It also ties his personal best with four hits in one game.

Sept. 12, 2006: For the second time this year, Guillen conks a walk-off home run. It leads off the ninth and gives the Tigers a 3-2 win over Texas.

Oct. 3, 2006: ALDS Game One: In his first postseason series in five years, Guillen again faces the Yankees. He doubles and draws a pair of walks, but New York is too much for Detroit today, and they win, 8-4.

Oct. 5, 2006: ALDS Game Two: Guillen is a big part of the reason why the Tigers even the series with the Yankees. He doubles and hits a solo homer, allowing Detroit to claim a narrow 4-3 win.

Oct. 6, 2006: ALDS Game Three: Guillen continues to have the postseason series of his life. He singles twice and scores once as the Tigers blank the Yankees, 6-0, behind the pitching of Kenny Rogers. Both of Guillen’s singles come against the man he was once traded for, Randy Johnson.

Oct. 7, 2006: ALDS Game Four: Detroit finishes off their LDS victory by downing the Yankees, 8-3. Guillen is again part of the reason with two singles and a double. He is 8-for-14 with three doubles, a home run, and two walks in the LDS for a AVG/OBP/SLG line of .571/.625/1.000.

Oct. 14, 2006: ALCS Game Four: The Tigers clinch their first pennant in 22 years with their 6-3 win to finish their sweep of the Oakland A’s. Guillen only has three hits in the entire ALCS, including one tonight. His biggest at-bat here comes in the bottom of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded in a game tied, 3-3. Guillen, alas, hits into a GIDP to end the inning. Two innings later the score is still 3-3, and Guillen is on deck when Magglio Ordonez belts a walk-off, three-run homer to clinch the pennant.

Oct. 21, 2006: World Series Game One: Guillen finally gets to play in a World Series game and in his first at-bat, he connects for an RBI single to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. It’s not enough, as St. Louis comes back to win, 7-2.

Oct. 22, 2006: World Series Game Two: Guillen has maybe the greatest postseason game of his life as he goes 3-for-3 with a double and triple and also draws a walk. His first-inning double drives home a run, and in the fifth inning he triples and scores. Those runs prove to be the difference, as Detroit wins, 3-1, to even the Series. However, it proves to be Detroit’s last win of the year.

Oct. 26, 2006: World Series Game Four: Detroit loses, falling behind St. Louis three games to one, but Guillen does his share, hitting a double and drawing two walks. However, St. Louis ekes out a 5-4 win, anyway.

Oct. 27, 2006: World Series Game Five: It’s all over as the Tigers lose, 4-2, to the Cardinals. Guillen flies out, grounds out twice, and fans in his last trip to the plate to end the disappointing World Series. In all, Guillen hit .353 in the Series, but it’s a loss just the same.

June 28, 2007: The longest hitting streak of Guillen’s career peaks at 14 games. In that time, he’s gone 20-for-45 with four doubles and five homers for an overall AVG/OBP/SLG line of .444/.491/.867 and an OPS of 1358. He also has 20 RBIs in that period.

July 10, 2007: It’s not the first time Guillen has been selected to an All-Star team (he was on the 2004 squad), but it is the first time he gets to play in the game. Here, he enters as a mid-game replacement and grounds out twice, but the AL wins, 5-4.

Aug. 6, 2007: In the bottom of the first inning against Tampa, Guillen belts an RBI single, giving him 1,000 hits for his career. Later that night, he’ll lash out hits No. 1,001 and 1,002.

Aug. 24, 2007: With two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning in a 6-6 tie game against the Yankees and runners on the corners, Guillen unleashes a walk-off home run to give the Tigers a 9-6 win.

Sept. 5, 2007: This has to be the worst game of Guillen’s career. He goes 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, his only four-K game ever. His other out was a line-drive double play. He does have one nice moment, though.

Coming to the plate with two outs and a runner on second base in the bottom of the 11th inning of a 1-1 tie against the White Sox, Chicago opts to intentionally walk him. (Why remains a mystery; there’s no double play with two outs, and Guillen was terrible that day). Immediately after the free pass, the next batter, Timo Perez, hit a walk-off, game-winning single for a 2-1 Tigers win.

April 30, 2008: In the top of the second, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Guillen does something he last did 508 games and 2,114 PA before: He lays down a sacrifice bunt. He’ll have one more SH this year, and that’s it for his career.

June 7, 2008: Guillen, once a middle infielder with minimal power, on this day belts the 100th home run of his career. It comes off Cleveland’s Aaron Laffey.

July 15, 2008: It’s the All-Star Game that would not end. Guillen enters the game in the ninth inning and ends up with four plate appearances before the AL triumphs, 4-3, in 15 innings. Guillen draws an intentional walk and belts a double but has nothing to do with the game-winning run.

July 21, 2008: The Tigers destroy the Rangers, 19-4, and Guillen is part of the reason why. He his two singles, a double, and draws two walks and comes around to score every time. It’s the only five-run game of his career.

July 25, 2009: For the seventh and final time in his career, Guillen connects for a walk-of hit when he singles off D.J. Carrasco of the White Sox. The hit comes with runners on first and second in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 10th.

Sept. 23, 2009: Guillen connects for two home runs against the Indians. It’s his seventh and final career two-home run game.

April 11, 2010: According to WPA, it’s the greatest game Guillen ever has. He goes 2-for-6 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored as Detroit tops Cleveland, 9-8. He gets hits in the eighth and ninth inning to help a Tiger comeback. His full WPA on the day: 0.589.

June 2, 2010: Detroit’s Armando Galarraga throws a perfect game, but it’s just not called that way. He retires the first 26 batters, and then first base umpire Jim Joyce blows a call at first for what should’ve been the 27th out. Detroit wins, 3-0.

Among other things, it’s the first big-league game in three years in which neither team throws over 100 pitches. Galarraga tosses 88, and Cleveland pitcher Fausto Carmona throws 96 in a complete-game loss. Guillen does his part, going 0-for-3 on six pitches total. It’s as close as Guillen ever comes to playing in a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game.

June 12, 2010: Guillen hits his fourth and final career walk-off home run. It comes in the bottom of the 10th in an interleague game against the Pirates and gives Detroit a 4-3 win.

July 19, 2010: The same year that sees Guillen’s best WPA game also produces his worst. In an 8-6 loss to Texas in 14 innings, Guillen is 1-for-7 with a GIDP for a –0.493 WPA. The double play comes with the bases loaded and one out in the 11th innings. His hit is a fourth-inning single.

Sept. 14, 2011: Guillen enjoys his last really good game. He goes 3-for-5 with a home run in Detroit’s 10-inning 6-5 win over the White Sox. Guillen drives home the winning run in the top of the 10th before being lifting for a defensive replacement in the bottom of the inning. He second inning homer is the last one of his career. He’ll only play in two more games.

Sept. 18, 2011: It turns out to be the last game of Guillen’s career. He flies out against Oakland starter Guillermo Moscoso in the second inning and two innings later has to leave. Jemile Weeks leads off the fourth for Oakland and hits a weak grounder between first and second. Though Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander handles it, Guillen is pulled immediately after that play and doesn’t return for the rest of the season or postseason. It’s the end of the line for Guillen.

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Mike Dougherty
Mike Dougherty
You left out the Verlander v Weaver match-up on July 31, 2011. Guillen popped a dinger in the 7th to make it 3-0, but when he hit it, he 1) admired the home run, flipped his bat, and jawed at Weaver, as he did the slow trot down to first.  Weaver was so pissed, he threw the next pitch over Avila’s head, and got himself ejected. Following that, in the top of the 8th, Aybar made the class act play of dropping down a bunt, to try to break up Verlanders no-no (which eventually happened later in the game).  Everyone… Read more »
Chris Jaffe
Chris Jaffe

Mike – thanks. That’s a good one.  I didn’t know about that one.

Mike and Chris, The Carlos and weaver situation was brought on by weaver when Magglio previously hit a ball down the line and he stayed at home watching to see if the ball was fair or foul, bending/contorting his body to make the batted ball fair, once it was called a homerun he started running down first and weaver yelled at him to “run faster” to which Maggs said, “I’m older I can’t run that fast anymore”. Next batter Cabrera after making an out was also yelled at by weaver. Carlos later said he did not think that was right… Read more »

Just make sure you start the story a few innings earlier. Magglio Ordonez watched a foul-pole home run, willing it to stay fair before trotting around the bases. Weaver took exception and barked at him as he ran, then kept barking at Ordonez the next at-bat. Guillen responded in kind and let Weaver know that’s what showboating a home run was supposed to look like.

No one really looks good in the episode, but a lot of the media attention at the time didn’t show what led up to it.

“Coming to the plate with two outs and a runner on second base in the bottom of the 11th inning of a 1-1 tie … opts to intentionally walk him. (Why remains a mystery; there’s no double play with two outs, and Guillen was terrible that day).” The “Why” is remarkably straight forward. The extra runner on first base means nothing there since the winning run is already on second, except to set up a force play at every base. The only drawback of the play would be if it was followed by a non-intentional walk and Timo Perez wasn’t… Read more »