It’s not a surprise. Not even close. It was very clear as the season ended and the A’s gave Barry Zito a final couple of starts that his playing career was coming to an end. But today he made it official, writing a column announcing it in The Players’ Tribune.
It’s not your standard retirement announcement. In it Zito talk about his professional and personal challenges, his religion, his family, his journey to self-acceptance and the like. In this it’s both very zen and very Zito, as we’ve come to know him over the past several years. It’s interesting to hear about it all in his own words.
Quite a journey the man has had. From a phenom to a Cy Young Award winner to something of an albatross and then finally onto journeyman status. From a guy who, at least according to some scattered reports back in his Oakland days, used to be a bit of a wild child on to a mature adult who has embraced Christianity and his family. For all of his ups and downs, he seems to be at a pretty peaceful and happy place. Not too bad.
As for the numbers: a record of 165-143 with an ERA of 4.04 (ERA+ 105) and a K/BB ratio of 1885/1064 in 2576.2 innings over 15 years. He won the Cy Young Award in 2002, his third season. He was a three-time All-Star. He was never what the Giants expected when they gave him a nine-figure deal but he was on the team for two World Series titles (though on the playoff roster for only one of them).
Not a bad career.