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Six-time Gold Glover with the A's, Eric Chavez finally hangs them up

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There aren't a lot of major-league third baseman in history who have won six Gold Gloves Awards, but former Oakland Athletics hot-corner man Eric Chavez is one of them.

And he's retiring after 17 MLB seasons.

A's fans, of course, have mixed feelings about Chavez, for while those six straight Gold Gloves came during a strong time for the Oakland franchise—2001 through 2006, the team made the postseason four times—the third baseman also missed 494 games over the last four seasons (2007-10) of a fat contract he signed after the A's let American League MVPs Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada walk in free agency.

Basically, the Oakland organization bet big on Chavez, and their slump from 2007-11 is often attributed to the absence of the high-paid Chavez from the lineup.

But in his early prime, Eric Chavez was awesome.

In a seven-year stretch from 2000-06, he averaged 28 home runs and 94 RBI, leading the league in walks (95) one season after Tejada left via free agency (2004). His OBP that season (.397) was a career-best mark by 42 points, as Chavez was the only big bat in an empty lineup that year.

(Oh, and he may have had the coolest Oakland A's bobblehead ever, by the way.)

And of course, the defense. You don't win six Gold Gloves at third without working hard, and Chavez was renowned for his dedication to becoming one of the best cornermen in the history of the game: only Brooks Robinson (16), Mike Schmidt (10) and Scott Rolen (8) have more hardware than Chavy does at the position.

Alas, the injuries prevented Chavez from achieving more in his career, as even after he left the A's, he couldn't stay healthy enough to be productive on the field like he was during that aforementioned seven-year stretch: two uneventful seasons in New York with the Yankees generated just 438 combined at-bats, and the last two seasons in Arizona saw him earn just 297 at-bats.

His career numbers (260 HR, 902 RBI) just don't do justice to the dominance he displayed from 2000-06. But those are the breaks.

Godspeed, Eric Chavez. We will always have those seven amazing seasons in our hearts, and we'll see you at all the 20-game win streak reunions in the future,

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