After the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, pitcher Josh Beckett has announced his retirement.
I first heard of Beckett in 2001 when he pitched with the Portland Sea Dogs, then affiliated with the Florida Marlins. A lot of people thought he would be the next big thing. Beckett would make his big league debut with the Fish that September.
Two years later, Beckett would make heads spin when he threw a complete game, five-hit shutout against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium to clinch the Marlins unlikely World Series title. Most 23-year old pitchers would have been overwhelmed by the setting. But not Beckett. He made the Yankees look absurd that night.
In 2006, the Red Sox acquired Beckett along with Mike Lowell from the Marlins for a young shortstop named Hanley Ramirez and a young pitcher named Anibal Sanchez. While it’s tantalizing to think what might have happened had the Sox kept Ramirez and Sanchez, both Beckett and Lowell were keys figures in the Red Sox 2007 World Series title run. Beckett would win a career high 20 games, earn his first of three All-Star Game selections, finish runner up in the AL Cy Young balloting to then Indian C.C. Sabathia, go 4-0 that post-season and win the ALCS MVP.
However, Beckett was very inconsistent during his tenure in Boston and, unfortunately, was a key figure in the 2011 collapse with the beer and chicken wings in the clubhouse. At the trade deadline in 2012, Beckett along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto were dealt to the Dodgers. Although Gonzalez and Crawford have become Dodger mainstays, Beckett was plagued with injuries and won only 8 games in Dodger blue. However, one of those eight wins was a no-hitter on Memorial Day Weekend against the Phillies. Otherwise, Beckett just couldn’t stay healthy and has decided to call it quits at 34.
Beckett ends his career with a record of 138-106, a 3.88 ERA and 1,901strikeouts. Although I don’t think he lived up to his Cooperstown potential, two World Series rings, an ALCS MVP and a no-hitter made for some memorable achievements