Signed by the Phillies in the first round of the 1990 draft, the 36-year-old catcher spent 13 solid seasons in red pinstripes, setting many franchise marks behind the plate.
Long-time reader Billy Mac wrote it best when he invited everyone to page through the 2007 media guide and spot how many times Lieberthal is listed as the club’s statistical best at his position. Most games: 1,139. Single season fielding percentage: .997 in 1999. Most career home runs: 149. There are surely more.
Clouding his Philadelphia legacy is the public perception that he was ready for a West Coast retirement years ago, although those closely connected to the team have insisted that isn't the case. The Phillies never made the post-season during Lieby's tenure.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mike the Catcher would have played another season if the Dodgers had picked up his $1.5 million option. But frankly, it was time. Lieberthal played just 38 games and contributed one RBI in ’07. Battling through knee problems suffered at the peak of his career, Lieby finishes with a .274/.337/446 line, 150 homers and 610 RBI in 4,218 at-bats. He was also a two-time All-Star and had his best year in 1999, hitting .300 with 31 homers and 96 RBI.