Space Coast Sports Hall of Famer Prince Fielder Expected To Announce His Retirement Tomorrow
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // August 9, 2016
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Sports Hall of Famer Prince Fielder has been a National League home run leader and was awarded both the Silver Slugger Award and the Hank Aaron Award for being a top hitter in the National League.
Fielder, 32, recently had a second neck surgery that ended his 2016 season after 89 games (he had the initial procedure in 2014). Slowed by the injury, he hit just .212 with eight homers and 44 RBI this season.
The six-time All-Star was the seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft by the Brewers, for whom he played from 2005-2011. He then signed a nine-year, $214 million free-agent contract with the Detroit Tigers, who traded him to the Rangers prior to the 2014 season. In 12 seasons in the majors, Fielder has hit .283/.382/.506 with 319 homers and 1,028 RBI.
Fox Sports contributed to this report.
PRINCE FIELDER – 2015 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
• 5-Time MLB All-Star
• National League HR Leader
• 50 Home Run Club Member
A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Prince Fielder spent much of his childhood in one of the biggest residences in Brevard County – five acres of land and 19,000 square feet of house. But he is better known for his big bat.
Born a right-hander, but converted to a leftie by his father, former pro Cecil Fielder, Prince played in Brevard for two different high schools – Florida Air Academy and Eau Gallie.
In 2002, his senior year with the Commodores, he batted .524 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs, 41 RBIs and scored 47 times. That was all after he hit a home run into the upper deck of Tiger Stadium in Detroit during his dad’s batting practice – when he was 12.
After high school, the Milwaukee Brewers organization drafted Fielder seventh overall in the first round. During his fourth season of playing in a variety of minor league cities, the Brewers called Fielder up to play in the majors for part of the 2005 season.
In 2006, Fielder became the Brewers starting first baseman. Though he faltered at the beginning of that first season – ruining his chances for Rookie of the Year honors – he finished strong and led all rookies that year with 28 home runs.
Over the first six years in the big leagues with the Brewers, Fielder earned many honors.
In 2007, he was the National League home run leader and was awarded both the Silver Slugger Award and the Hank Aaron Award for being the top hitter in the National League.
That season he was named to the All-Star team, and since has played in the mid-season classic four more times—2009 and 2011-2013.
In 2012, Fielder became a free agent and signed a 9-year $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers, which was the largest contract in that teams’ history.
During his stint with the Tigers, Fielder won the Home Run Derby championship for the second time and helped the team reach the World Series.
ON THE COMEBACK
After the 2013 season, Fielder was traded to the Texas Rangers.
He suffered a neck injury in June 2014, which ended the season for him. He had successful neck surgery similar to the surgery that has prolonged the career of football great Peyton Manning.
“And so he is, like a guy making up for lost time… Done at 30? Who knows, maybe Fielder is just getting started.
“Everything is healthy, and I get to play baseball with no worries,” says Fielder, who had a consecutive-games-played streak of 547 at the time he went down last May.
“You just like playing the game. Results don’t matter. They’ll come if you’re out there. Just the fact that you can come out here again and do this for your job, and be in the clubhouse with your second family. That’s the part I missed the most.”
Fielder is back – and pro baseball will welcome him – and that big bat.
ABOVE VIDEO: Prince Fielder hammers a solo shot over the right-field fence for the 300th home run of his career on June 26.