Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt announced Thursday that he's retiring from baseball, ending an admirable 14-year career. He leaves behind a legacy that includes three World Series rings, a sparkling individual postseason resume and a litany of hilariously weird injuries.
Another thing fans might not have known? Affeldt is one of the most accessible players in baseball to the media and was always friendly and professional, regardless of his mood. In the wake of Oscar Taveras death during the World Series last season, Affeldt might have been the single most eloquent player in either locker room, somberly discussing how fleeting life can be.
With Affeldt's announcement, let's highlight the notable portions of his career.
Again, Affeldt won the World Series three times with the Giants. He was a big part of all three, especially the latter two. In the 2012 and 2014 postseasons, Affeldt appeared in 21 games, working 22 innings. He allowed zero runs and held the opposition to a .141/.218/.141 triple slash line. He faced 78 batters and didn't allow a single extra-base hit.
In his career, Affeldt owns a 0.86 postseason ERA. He pitched with the 2008 Rockies in addition to the three Giants World Series teams.
In the regular season, Affeldt owns a 3.97 ERA (110 ERA+), 1.41 WHIP to go with a 43-46 record and 28 saves. He had some very good years, especially with the Giants. In 2009, he had a 1.73 ERA. In 2011, his ERA was 2.63, which he followed up with 2.70 in 2012. Last season, Affeldt posted a 2.28 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
Of course, the injuries must be mentioned. He once sliced open his hand while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties (use a butter knife, man!). He later injured his right knee when his son unexpectedly jumped into his arms. During the 2012 playoffs, he was dodging a line drive foul ball into the dugout and fell down near the stairs. This year, his season nearly ended when he stumbled off an inflatable device with his kids.
The best part about all this is Affeldt never shied away from his weird luck with injuries.
Of course, Affeldt is also always honest and sometimes that will rub a certain segment of the population wrong. Phillies fans, for example, as Affeldt announced his retirement for The Cauldron on SI.com and said he won't miss Philadelphia. Here's why:
Hang on, I know what you're thinking: Jeremy, do you have any idea how dangerous it is to insult the entire city of Philadelphia?! And yes, I know. I know all too well.
So first, let me be clear. Philly is a great sports town, with passionate fans and a palpable energy. The problem, though, is that the city, more than any other I've played in, seems to condone and almost revel in its fans crossing the line. Nowhere else in this country—again, based on my experience as a 14-year major leaguer and the conversations I've had with other players—is the opposition treated in such a repeatedly vile and borderline threatening manner.
We are out here to play a game, and even though we are paid handsomely to do so, professional athletes should not be subject to vulgarity, personal attacks or epithets. Sadly, in Philadelphia, this kind of fan conduct is far too typical. The irony is, while Phillies fans succeed in making many players dread traveling there, they also (not surprisingly) impact the decision-making process of those same players in free agency.
Sure, it's great to play for a rabid fan base, but after experiencing firsthand how powerful that fervor can be when it is channeling extreme negativity, it really makes you think twice about where all that collective anger comes from, and whether you want to subject yourself and your family to that all the time.
See, he's just being honest and it doesn't sound like he's alone. There are four more things he won't miss about baseball and it's recommended reading from a very thoughtful guy.
Affeldt, 36, retires having made over $42 million during his playing career. He'll now have extra time with his wife, Larisa, and three sons in their Spokane, Washington home. Maybe he'll blog about his faith more often (jeremyaffeldt.wordpress.com) and maybe even mix in some baseball eventually, once he gets some distance from the game.
Regardless, happy trails to a guy who was real fun to cover. Kudos on a good career, Jeremy.