He may not have put up the numbers that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine or John Smoltz did during his time with the Atlanta Braves, but the career of Derek Lowe was still pretty darn solid.
In three seasons with the Braves from 2009-2011, Lowe served as a starting pitcher — which is the role he filled for most of his 17 years in MLB (although he also had 86 saves as a closer). Despite a few hot streaks, he was unable to return to the form he had enjoyed in the years prior, mostly spent with the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lowe’s combined record in Atlanta was just 40-39 and his ERA with the team was never below 4.00 for any single season; but, he often seemed to come up big in clutch situations, just as he did during Boston’s 2004 World Series championship season when he went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in the postseason.
“Like I told my dad, I’ll never retire,” Lowe told Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports. “If you’re not playing, it’s completely self-explanatory. I’m not going to go to the Hall of Fame, so I don’t feel like I need to have a retirement speech. But I was able to play 17 years on some pretty cool teams and win a World Series. So, everyone’s got to stop playing at some point, and this is my time.”
Although I agree that Lowe isn’t Hall-of-Fame worthy, his 176-157 record and 4.03 ERA show that he really wasn’t all that shabby.
And despite being cut by the Texas Rangers in May after another rocky stretch and subsequently hanging up his cleats on Thursday, those 17 years in the big leagues prove that he had one of the most important things an athlete can have: staying power.