Friday marked the end of one of the most star-crossed careers I have seen in my lifetime. Kerry Wood said farewell after the game against the White Sox closing the book on what should have been, if not for injuries, a fabulous body of work that would have rivaled the game’s greatest power pitchers. Instead of reflecting on what could have been, let us celebrate Wood’s last pitch: a strike to Chicago’s Dayan Viciedo followed by an emotional sendoff which included a hug from his son as he reached the dugout. Click here to see this fond farewell.
Wood is the not the only guy to end his playing days in style. Here are some other ones of note.
Ted Williams: In 1960 Teddy Ballgame put the finishing touches on a legendary career that touched parts of four decades. The last one of his 521 home runs came on September 28 at Fenway Park vs. the Orioles in the bottom of the 8th inning. This capped a remarkable season in which at age 42 he hit 29 home runs with a .314 average. Enjoy a recap of the Splendid Splinter’s homer here .
Joe DiMaggio: Everything on the ball field the Yankee Clipper accomplished was done with style and elegance according to those who watched him play. He was also the ultimate winner, leading the Yankees to 9 World Series titles during his 13 year career. How fitting it was that in the final plate appearance of his career, Joe D smacked a double to right field in the 8th inning of Game 6 in the 1951 World Series. The Yankees won the game 4-3 and the Series 4 games to 2. This was the final stamp on a career that is regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
Mike Mussina: The Moose wrapped up an outstanding career in 2008 by winning 20 games for the first time. Number 20 came on the last day of the season in Boston. Although he was not on the mound for the final out, it was a noteworthy accomplishment as we will probably never again see a pitcher retire after winning 20 games in a season for the first time in his career. Relive this once in a lifetime moment by clicking here.
I am sure there are dozens of other examples about ending a career with a flourish. Who will be the next player to provide us with such a memory?
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