The Houston Astros will welcome another one of the greatest players in their organization’s history into retirement: Roy Oswalt has decided to hang up his cleats.
Oswalt’s retirement will conjure up a lifetime worth of incredible memories for most Astros fans. Arguably the greatest pitcher in team history, it seems only fitting the team will give him a one-day contract and let him retire in the town in which he dominated for so long.
From the moment he was drafted, Oswalt had aspirations of becoming a top-of-the-rotation type of pitcher. The quiet, skinny kid from Mississippi surprisingly dominated as a rookie, going 14-3 with 2.73 ERA and even earning some Cy Young consideration. He started opening day of the 2002 season and never looked back.
As the Astros unquestioned ace he led the majors in total wins from 2001-2009 and was consistently one of the premier pitchers in the National League. His greatest moment without a doubt coming in Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS, dominating the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the NLCS MVP and sending the Astros to the World Series, the franchise’s lone appearance.
If the MLB Hall of Fame wasn’t about longevity and wins (for pitchers), you could make a strong case for Oswalt who was elite for the better part of 10 seasons. Unfortunately, his placement in the Hall is mostly a pipe dream for Astros fans. That’s fine by me. Oswalt will always have a place in Astros lore.
2014 will be an emotional year for many Astros fans as they watch both Oswalt and Lance Berkman head off into retirement. You’d probably not be surprised to learn the two coordinated this effort and planned on retiring as Astros together.
“We actually got together at the first of the year and called the Astros to see if we could retire with them,” Oswalt said. “We wanted to retire together in Houston. I’m pumped.” The two will be honored in a pre-game ceremony before the team’s April 5 game against the Los Angeles Angels.
On behalf of Astros fans everywhere: thanks for the memories Roy O. You deserve your place in the history books and will not soon be forgotten.