Former Cavalier Reynolds hangs up his cleats after 13 seasons in Majors

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Mark Reynolds (Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the most prolific players in the University of Virginia’s baseball history has hung up his spikes after a 13-year career in Major League Baseball.

Mark Reynolds, who starred at shortstop for the Cavaliers for three years from 2002-2004, announced Thursday that his baseball career is over.

During an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio on SiriusXM, the 36-year-old Reynolds was asked if he was searching for a new contract.

“I’ve moved beyond that. I’ve retired,” Reynolds said. “Actually, I guess that’s breaking news on your show. I haven’t really told anybody.

“I’m really enjoying time with my family, and it’s time for me to move on and find something else to do.”

Reynolds starred with UVA where he hit the second-most career home runs, 35, two behind leader E.J. Anderson (1995-98). He was drafted in the 16th round of the 2004 MLB Draft by Arizona.

Reynolds enjoyed a strong MLB career and was known as one of the everything-or-nothing batters during his era. Along with his 298 career home runs, he also broke strikeout records. Between 2009 and 2011, he had top-10 home-run totals and at-bats-per-home-run rates. In ‘09, he also set the all-time record for the most strikeouts in a season. He holds two other of the 10 highest single-season strikeout totals (211 and 204), and led the league in strikeouts for four straight seasons. He retired leading all active MLB players in career strikeouts with 1,870.

He spent most of the 2019 season with the Colorado Rockies as a part-time first baseman and a designated hitter. Most fans in this part of the country will remember Reynolds’ contribution to the Washington Nationals in 2018.

Reynolds had several minor-league offers before the Nationals called.

“I felt like I was worth more than that [a minor-league contract]. I was content sitting at home and being a dad, coaching my kids and playing a little golf,” Reynolds said of his mood before coming to D.C. “I took the Nationals’ offer because, number one, really good team. Number two, I thought if I didn’t at least try, I probably would never try again. I didn’t want to be 45 and look back and say, ‘Dang, I could have played a couple more years.’”

He signed with the Nats (on April 12) as a free agent and was assigned to the minor leagues, where he played well. When Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 10-day disabled list, the Nationals called up Reynolds to fill in at first base.

He made an immediate splash, hammering two home runs in his Washington debut on May 13, the day after he was called up. A powerful home-run hitter, Reynolds smashed a pinch-hit, walk-off homer against Miami on July 6. The next night, he went 5 for 5 with two homers a double, and a career-high, franchise record-tying 10 RBI in an 18-4 win over the Marlins. He earned the National League Player of the Week for those performances.

That season, he batted .248 for the Nats with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 206 at-bats.

The best stretch of his career came with the Arizona Diamondbacks when he averaged 32 home runs over four seasons, highlighted by a 44-HR season in 2009.

Overall, he played in 1,688 Major League games, swatting 298 home runs, 871 RBI, a career offensive slash line of .236/.328/.453, and had an OPS+ of 103. He played for Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Baltimore, St. Louis, Cleveland, the New York Yankees and Milwaukee.

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