Today I read an article stating that Athletics' third basemen, Eric Chavez, is at risk of having severe back complications for the rest of his life. With six gold gloves, more than 200 home runs and an entire spent in Oakland, it seems as though he is close to hanging up the cleats.
While spending more than 300 games these last few years on the DL with lingering problems, Chavez has dealt with pain many of us will never know to feel. He now faces the fact that spinal fusion surgery will be needed much sooner than expected - 15 years earlier - which will basically put the discs in his spine back to normal.
This has landed Chavez on the DL for 2009, and more than likely he has played his last game for the green and gold.
Eric Chavez is a gamer. He was an intergral part of the MLB Record-Breaking 20-consecutive win season back in 2002. He got a little taste of postseason while in Oakland as well, playing with some of the games biggest stars of his era.
The defensive wizard was a vaccum at third base. He could pick any ball hit to him and could do so without error. The six gold gloves was just the beginning of something really special. It still is, but now has been hampered by an injury that will cut his career short.
I'm sure his fellow teammates of the past and present can appreciate what this man has brought to the game of baseball. As an A's fan, I really looked forward to seeing #3 dress up for Oakland, and do his job better than thousands of players whom have spent time in the MLB.
The problematic back goes well beyond baseball. This will affect how he is able to walk and move when he gets older. The severity is so relevant that he has come public and explained how bad his injury really is.
Regardless of his decent hitting and more-than stellar defense, Chavez played the game how it was supposed to be played. He probably could have done what other players in the league like Alex Rodriguez or Miguel Tejada did by illegally taking steroids to enhance their play, regardless of being in pain. Chavez did it the right way. He played hard and he did so with pure will and determination.
Many players have shortened careers due to injury. It is very unfortunate to see a person with so much talent unable to display his skills. Eric Chavez proved he has heart, passion and dedication to his teammates, the organization and the fans of Oakland.
Eric Chavez will always be known as a gamer. Hopefully he can use the leadership he provided to his colleagues to good use and possibly get into the front office of this organization. He was always an Athletic, and always a gamer.
Its a sad day for Oakland baseball. I wish Eric and his family the best of luck through his critical surgery.