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Happy trails to defensive wizard John McDonald, who was once traded for himself

Happy trails John McDonald, once traded for himself

After sixteen seasons spent with eight different teams, John McDonald hung them up at the age of 40 earlier this week. It's shocking, even to McDonald, that he ever played so long. As he told's Alden Gonzalez in September, "I got more out of my career than I ever thought was possible. I didn't think I'd get a day in the big leagues, let alone parts of 16 years."

And while McDonald was never much of a hitter, finishing with a career .233/.273/.323 batting line and only 28 home runs in 2,651 plate appearances, his defensive play was so smooth, sharp and acrobatic some have credited him as the choreographer behind Sia's "Chandelier." 

So pull up a chair, let your jaw hang low, and appreciate McDonald's infield ballet: 

John McDonald Blue Jays

John McDonald Red Sox

McDonald 3

And even though McDonald was never known for his power, he did crack out a few big home runs. Including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th against the Rays on April 22, 2011: 

And an emotional ninth inning home run on Father's Day, just five days after losing his Dad: 

Even more shocking, the homer had been requested by McDonald's father before he passed. After rounding the bases, the infielder ran up the steps toward the clubhouse where he was embraced by teammates Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill and the three cried together. 

Said McDonald

"It really makes you sit and wonder whether my dad had a hand in helping me in some of those at-bats."

Beyond the emotional home runs and defensive wizardry that seem to defy the laws of physics, McDonald has one other claim to fame. After being traded from the Blue Jays to the Tigers for future considerations, three months later, McDonald was returned as that consideration. 

It was just the seventh time in Major League history that a player has been traded for himself with Clint Courtney, Harry Chiti, Mark Ross, Brad Gulden, Dickie Noles and Archie Corbin having previously held the honor of being so singularly valuable.

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