Melky Cabrera, Yankees World Series outfielder, retires

The Melk-man delivered a pretty good career.

After two years out of the majors, former Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera officially retired Friday, per Hector Gomez, a sports journalist in the Dominican Republic. Cabrera played in the Dominican Republic following a short stint with the Mets in 2020.

Cabrera finishes his MLB career with a .285/.334/.417 slash line, 1,962 hits, 144 home runs and an All-Star appearance in 2012. He played the first five seasons of his career with the Yankees, getting elevated to the starting lineup when Hideki Matsui was injured in 2006 and playing well enough to stick. 

He became a pivotal part of the team for its 2009 championship run, playing 154 games and hitting for the cycle on Aug. 2 of that year. The next offseason, after the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson, they moved Cabrera to the Braves in an ill-fated deal for Javier Vazquez.

Though it didn’t work out for Cabrera in Atlanta, where he struggled to keep his weight down, he put together a solid 2011 season with the Royals before an All-Star season with the Giants in 2012. Midway through that year, Cabrera was suspended for using performance enhancing drugs and didn’t play during its World Series run, though he did receive a championship ring.

Melky Cabrera during the Yankees’ 2009 World Series run
Anthony J. Causi

The next season, Cabrera was among the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal, but avoided a second suspension.

Cabrera bounced around teams for much of his career following that, sticking for a couple years with the White Sox and finding consistent work as an outfielder who could play either corner and contribute with speed. Once he got older and the speed diminished, so did his value.

Melky Cabrera douses Joe Girardi with champagne
Melky Cabrera douses Joe Girardi with champagne
Charles Wenzelberg

With the Yankees, Cabrera was the second-youngest player to ever hit a walk-off home run behind Mickey Mantle. He also earned plaudits for his defense, twice putting up double digit outfield assists.