Phil Nevin, top draft pick in '92, retires from baseball

Updated: May 12, 2007, 12:00 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Slugger Phil Nevin, who had a mercurial career after being the No. 1 pick in the 1992 amateur draft, announced his retirement Friday.

Phil Nevin
Nevin

Although he hit 22 homers last year -- which he split among three teams -- Nevin said he didn't get an offer he liked. He said he wanted to end local speculation about his career, including suggestions from some that the Padres, who are struggling offensively, bring him back.

"My close friends and family members have known for a while I was not going to go back and play," Nevin said. "I didn't need to go out and make any type of announcement or anything like that. I don't think my career was worthy of it, whatever.

"But lately a lot of things have been said and written here in San Diego. I don't think it's fair to have Kevin Towers keep answering questions. I'm tired of answering questions, too. I go to the golf course and have to answer questions all the time, or the grocery store and answer questions."

Nevin was the No. 1 pick in the 1992 amateur draft, by Houston. But his volatile temper kept him bouncing around the minors and with the Tigers and Angels until the Padres acquired him just before the 1999 season as a backup catcher. He won the starting job at third base later that season, and in 2001 had a career year with a .306 average, 41 homers and 126 RBIs.

Injuries kept him from replicating those numbers, and management and fans wearied of his quick temper. He was traded to the Texas Rangers for Chan Ho Park on July 30, 2005.

Nevin made an obscene gesture to a heckling San Diego fan late in the 2002 season. In 2004, he and fellow slugger Ryan Klesko groused about the spacious, home run-robbing outfield dimensions after the Padres moved into Petco Park.

In mid-August that season, Nevin cursed and gestured after a ball he thought should have gone out merely went for a double. When the inning ended, he flung his helmet and glared in the direction of general manager Kevin Towers' box. Nevin and Towers had a heated exchange after the game.

Nevin's agent, Barry Axelrod, said Kansas City, Oakland and Cincinnati showed interest in the offseason before signing other players, and that the Washington Nationals offered a minor league deal.

Nevin said he and Axelrod asked the Padres once about returning.

"We did not have interest," Towers said.

Nevin spoke well of the Padres, including Towers.

"I realize there were things I said or did, to be honest with you," the 36-year-old Nevin said. "I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the people here. I want to reflect on the good times rather than how it ended. There were too many good times and too many good people to let a couple of bad days get in the way of a good run."

Nevin was an All-Star in 2001 and was voted the Padres' MVP three times.

Nevin recently joined a pregame show on the team's flagship radio station and said he's signed with ESPN to work as an analyst during college regionals and the College World Series.

Nevin hit .270 with 208 homers and 743 RBIs in his career. Last year he played with Texas, the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press