Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
A promising career cut short by those damn, dirty calves
Lonnie Chisenhall has officially retired, according to a report from the Carteret News-Times. Citing his lack of playing time due to injuries in the last two years, Lonnie called it a career prior to his No. 16 jersey being retired at his alma mater Newport Middle School.
“I’ve only played 29 games in the past two years,” Chisenhall said during a Q&A session with the students. “So between that, and I have three kids at home, they are all in school, traveling around the country wasn’t practical anymore. It was a pretty easy decision.”
Chisenhall retires as a 31-year-old having played all eight of his Major League Baseball seasons with the Cleveland Indians. His only year outside of Cleveland was blanked by injuries — he had just 24 plate appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A squad in 2019 and none in the majors. A broken finger suffered when he was by a pitch in spring training and later his dreaded calves kept him from ever making it to the plate in Pittsburgh.
In his time in Cleveland, he put up relatively pedestrian numbers in the aggregate: a .268/.320/.427 slash, 102 wRC+, 6.4 BB%, 18.5 K%, 8.0 fWAR, and a constant struggle to find a place to stick defensively. He did eventually find a spot as the left-handed platoon to Brandon Guyer’s powerful right-handed bat, but even then his offense never got quite above just good enough outside of a few hot streaks.
All of that said, Lonnie was a joy to watch and provided some of my favorite moments covering the Indians these last five years. His enthusiastic use of a Gatorade tray to splash his teammates after a walk-off spawned the “Chisentray” and even got as far as fans petition for the name to be officially changed. He absolutely decimated the Rangers (and the Tigers). He randomly got his shirt ripped off in a post-game celebrations, wasn’t wearing a buzzer, and spawned maybe the muskiest baseball picture ever. He once fell down rounding second base and peaked over his raised legs like a confused otter with a prized possession — and it just so happened to work as a perfect W flag. Lonnie’s wife, Meredith Chisenhall, retweeted one of my dumb memes once and even showed it to Lonnie and that’s awesome.
So, I don’t know. Lonnie is not going to go down as the greatest Indians batter in history, some might even call him a bust. But for all he had to fight through to even get on field, and how much weird and joyful energy he brought to the game of baseball, I’m always going to have fond memories of him playing for the Tribe. He could always kick my ass in a dark alley, but he also comes off as this big goofball who is fun to put into weird memes for the internet.
For all the Chisentrays, Chisencannons, Big Lon Dongers, and everything in between: Thank you, Lonald David Chisenhall.