Jason Giambi had quite a career. He broke in with the Athletics in 1995 and played his first 7 seasons in Oakland. His time by the Bay boasted an even .300 average, a .406 on-base percentage, and a .516 slugging mark.
He continued his dominance after signing with the Yankees in December of 2001. From 1998-2006 Giambi was one of the game’s finest hitters, averaging 34 homers, 107 RBI, and 106 walks per season. His OPS+ during the run was 158. In that 9-year span Giambi made five All Star teams and slashed .375/.444/.750 in the Mid Summer Classic. He also earned two Silver Slugger awards.
Giambi fared well in MVP voting, gaining votes in 7 of those nine years. His best showings came from 2000 to 2002. After winning the MVP in 2000, he finished second in ’01 and fifth in ’02.
Giambi was regularly among the league leaders in several categories. Armed with a keen eye for the strike zone, he recorded 100 or more walks 7 times, leading the league in four seasons. He also topped the AL in on-base percentage three times, and in doubles and slugging percentage once each.
Giambi was also a slugger. He had 8 seasons with 30 or more homers and three with 40 or more. In 2002 he beat out Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Alex Rodriguez to win the Home Run Derby.
The 2002 offseason was difficult for Giambi. Subpoenaed to testify in the federal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), Giambi spoke on steroid use. Before the start of the season in 2004 Giambi was named with Bonds, Gary Sheffield, and others in the San Francisco Chronicle report by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams.
Giambi has a dismal year in ’04. Limited to 80 games because of injuries, he hit .208 with a .342 on-base percentage – both career lows.
In spring training of 2005, Giambi addressed the steroid issue.
“I feel I let down the fans, I feel I let down the media, I feel I let down the Yankees, and not only the Yankees, but my teammates… I accept full responsibility for that, and I’m sorry,” he told the New York Times. He did not deny The Chronicle article. “I know the fans might want more,” Giambi continued. “But because of all the legal matters, I can’t get into specifics. Someday, hopefully, I will be able to.”
The 2005 campaign was a good one for Giambi. He swatted 32 homers and led the league led the league in walks and on-base percentage en route to earning the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
For the rest of his time in baseball he rehabilitated his steroid-stained image with great effectiveness.
Giambi left the Yankees in 2008 and was never again an everyday player though he did play through his age-43 season. The slugger retired from the game with 2,010 hits, 440 homers, 1,441 RBI, a .399 on-base percentage, a .516 slugging mark, and a 139 OPS+.
When he announced his retirement, Giambi released a statement.
“I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey. I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today.
“Lastly, to the game of baseball: I started playing you when I was a kid and I’m leaving you a man. Thank you.”
Shown here is the official game-used lineup card from Giambi’s win at the 2002 Home Run Derby. Giambi has signed it as has All Star skipper Bob Brenly.