Over his career, Ibáñez, who did not make 500 plate appearances until the age of 30, has batted .285 with 309 doubles, 216 home runs and 887 runs batted in (RBI) over 14 Major League seasons. He has six seasons with 20 or more home runs, two seasons with 30 or more home runs, six seasons with 90 or more RBI, four seasons with 100 or more RBI and eight consecutive seasons (2002–2009) with 30 or more doubles.
High school and college
Ibáñez played baseball for Miami Sunset Senior High School. After graduation, he attended Miami-Dade Community College, and was a baseball letterman and an All-Conference selection.
Early minor league career
Ibáñez was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 36th round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft. Ibáñez played as a catcher and outfielder at various levels in the Mariners minor league organization. He began his professional career with the rookie-level AZL Mariners in 1992. Ibáñez batted .308 with 37 hits, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, and 16 RBIs in 33 games that season. The next season, 1993, Ibáñez split the season between the Class-A Short-Season Bellingham Mariners, and the Class-A Appleton Foxes. He batted a combined .278 with 81 hits, 14 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, and 36 RBIs in 95 games. Ibáñez played for the Class-A Appleton Foxes again in 1994, and batted .312 with 102 hits, 30 doubles, 3 triples, 7 home runs, 59 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 91 games. That season, Ibáñez lead the team in RBIs, and doubles. In 1995, Ibáñez was promoted to the Class-A Advanced Riverside Pilots of the California League. He batted .332 with 120 hits, 23 doubles, 9 triples, 20 home runs, and 108 RBIs in 95 games. Ibáñez was second in the league in RBIs, and was tied for seventh in the league in home runs. Ibáñez played for two minor league teams in 1996. He started the season with the Double-A Port City Roosters where he batted .368 with 28 hits, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, and 13 RBIs in 19 games. He was later promoted to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers where he batted .284 with 115 hits, 20 doubles, 3 triples, 11 home runs, and 47 RBIs in 111 games.
Major league beginning
On August 1, 1996, after being called-up form the minor leagues, Ibáñez made his first major league appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers. That season, Ibáñez appeared in four games and went hitless. In 1997, Ibáñez began the season in the minor leagues with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. He batted .304 with 133 hits, 30 doubles, 3 triples, 15 home runs, 82 RBIs in 111 games. On August 10, Ibáñez made his first appearance of the season in the majors against the Chicago White Sox. He got his first major league hit, a triple, on August 16 against White Sox's pitcher Doug Drabek. On September 27, Ibáñez hit his first major league home run against the Oakland Athletics' pitcher Mike Oquist. After 11 games in the majors, Ibáñez batted .154 with 4 hits, 1 triple, 1 home run, and 4 RBIs. Ibáñez started the 1998 season with the Triple-A Rainiers and batted .216 with 41 hits, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 6 home runs, and 25 RBIs in 52 games. Ibáñez was called-up in August to the majors and batted .255 with 25 hits, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, and 12 RBIs in 37 games. That season, he played 17 games in the outfield, 16 games at first base, and 1 game at designated hitter.
Ibáñez played the majority of the 1999 season with the Mariners, however, he did spend 8 games with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers and batted .335 with 11 hits. In 1999 with the Mariners, Ibáñez batted .254 with 54 hits, 7 doubles, 9 home runs, and 27 RBIs in 87 games. He played 57 games in the outfield, 21 games as a first baseman, 1 game as a catcher, and 1 game as a designated hitter. The next season, 2000, Ibáñez again split the season between the Mariners and the Triple-A Rainiers. With the Rainiers, Ibáñez batted .250 with 10 hits, 4 doubles, and 6 home runs in 10 games. Ibáñez appeared in 92 regular season games with the Mariners in 2000. He batted .229 with 32 hits, 8 doubles, 2 home runs, and 15 RBIs. Ibáñez appeared in three games in the 2000 American League Division Series and in 8 at-bats got 3 hits. During the next round of the playoffs, the 2000 American League Championship Series, Ibáñez appeared in six games and went hitless. He became a free agent after the season.
Kansas City Royals
Ibáñez was signed by the Kansas City Royals as a free agent before the 2001 season. In 2001 with the Royals, Ibáñez batted .280 with 78 hits, 11 doubles, 5 triples, 13 home runs, and 54 RBIs in 104 games. He also played of the Triple-A Omaha Royals for 8 games and batted .148 with 4 hits. The next season, 2002, Ibáñez played the entire season in the majors for the first time in his career. On June 9, Ibáñez hit a walk-off home run against St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Mike Timlin to give the Royals a three-to-two win. On June 26, Ibáñez hit a double, triple, and a home run in the same game against the Detroit Tigers. About the opportunity to play everyday, Ibáñez said this:
|“||[During my career], my confidence sometimes wavered because I wasn't playing as much. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. But I knew if I got an opportunity to play consistently then I would be able to perform.||”|
At the end of 2002, Ibáñez batted .294 with 146 hits, 37 doubles, 6 triples, 24 home runs, and 103 RBIs in 137 games. His 6 triples stands as his career high. Ibáñez was second on the team in doubles, and RBIs; and was tied for second in triples, and home runs. Ibáñez received the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award as voted upon by the Kansas City, Missouri chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Ibáñez played his final season with the Royals in 2003. Before the start of the season, Ibáñez filed for salary arbitration. The Royals avoided arbitration hearings with Ibáñez after he accepted their one-year $3 million contract offer. In 157 games with the Royals, Ibañez batted .294 with 179 hits, 33 doubles, 5 triples, 18 home runs, and 90 RBIs.
Return to Seattle
After three seasons with the Royals, Ibáñez returned to Seattle in 2004 and had a career-high .304 batting average. He also collected a 24-game go-ahead RBI string, matched a club record by reaching base 11 consecutive times, set a career-high and a club record and matched the American League record with six hits, and joined Ichiro Suzuki as only Mariners ever with two five-hit games in one season. He also ranked 3rd among qualifying big league left fielders in UZR, an all-inclusive fielding statistic.
With Edgar Martínez retired, Ibáñez moved to the DH spot before the 2005 season. In 2005, Ibánez hit .280 with 20 home runs and 89 RBIs. The Mariners acquired the switch hitting designated hitter Carl Everett from the Chicago White Sox during the 2005 offseason, forcing Ibáñez to move back to where he played before, namely left field.
In 2007, the Mariners acquired Jose Vidro to assume the role of DH. Ibáñez moved back out to left field and posted a .291 batting average with 21 home runs, 105 RBI, 80 runs and 35 doubles in 149 games. He was on fire in the 2nd half of the 2008 season, with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs with a .321 batting average. He finished the season with a .293 batting average, 23 home runs, 110 RBI, 85 runs and a career-high 43 doubles in 162 games.
On April 9, 2009, Ibáñez hit his first home run as a member of the Phillies, a deep, two-run shot to right field at Citizens Bank Park. Ten days later, on April 19, he hit a 2-run, walk-off home run to help the Phillies defeat the San Diego Padres. He hit his eighth career grand slam on April 27, 2009, as part of an eighth-inning comeback to help defeat the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Ibáñez was the focus of a post in the blog "Midwest Sports Fans" which raised concerns that he was using performance-enhancing drugs. A column in the Philadelphia Inquirer resulted in an Ibañez rebuttal stating that, "You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool—anything you can test. I'll give you back every dime I've ever made if the test is positive."
In voting for the 2009 All Star Game, Ibáñez received the second-most votes for a NL outfielder with 4,053,355, trailing only the Brewers' Ryan Braun (4,138,559). In the World Series, he batted .304 with four doubles, a home run and four RBI. In 134 regular season games, the 37-year-old Ibáñez hit .272 with 32 doubles, 93 runs and 93 RBI. He posted career-highs in home runs (34), slugging percentage (.552) and OPS (.899). He had a .991 fielding percentage with two errors in 129 games in left field. He also ranked 4th among qualifying big league left fielders in UZR.
Ibáñez and his wife Teryvette have one son and three daughters.
- Top 500 home run hitters of all time
- List of Cuban Americans
- 1994 Appleton Foxes. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- 1995 California League Batting Leaders. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Raul Ibanez: 1996 Batting Gamelog. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Raul Ibanez: 1997 Batting Gamelog. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- August 16, 1997 Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox Box Score and Play by Play. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- September 26, 1997 Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Box Score and Play by Play. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Robert Falkoff (June 9, 2002). Ibañez delivers clutch homer. MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Robert Falkoff (June 26, 2002). Red-hot Ibanez lifts Royals. MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Bill Ladson (August 6, 2002). MLBeat: Ibañez gets chance. MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- 2002 Kansas City Royals Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics. Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Robert Falkoff (November 5, 2002). Ibanez receives Joe Burke award. MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Robert Falkoff (January 17, 2003). Beltran, Ibañez file for arbitration. MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Robert Falkoff (February 13, 2003). Royals, Ibañez avoid arbitration. MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
- Phillies sign Raul Ibanez
- Video of Raul Ibáñez's first Home Run for the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Phils hit two slams in comeback victory.
- About Midwest Sports Fans. Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
- The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows.
- A cheap shot at Ibañez. Archived from the original on 2009-06-12.
- Phillies.com - Team, Player