Sinking feeling: Derek Lowe calls it a career

Derek Lowe, who pitched eight seasons for the Red Sox, has announced his retirement... sort of.

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

Another one of the “Idiots” that helped the Red Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years is striding off the mound and into the sunset.

Sinkerballer Derek Lowe, who wore a Sox uniform for eight of his 17 years in the major leagues, announced his retirement from the game today… sort of.

He was nothing if not cryptic in an interview with USA Today.

“I’m officially no longer going to play the game,” Lowe said. “It’s still enjoyable, but the role I was having wasn’t fulfilling.”

The role he was in was a holding pattern: Lowe had been designated for assignment on May 20 by the Texas Rangers, and no other team decided to take a chance on the 40-year-old journeyman.

“Like I told my Dad, I’ll never retire. 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.”

That leaves only David Ortiz, Bronson Arroyo, Kevin Youkilis (currently on the Disabled List with the Yankees) and Manny Ramirez, who is attempting a comeback with the Rangers, as the last active links from the 2004 squad.

Lowe finishes his career with a 176-157 record and a 4.03 ERA, 1,722 strikeouts and 86 saves in 2,671 innings. In his time with Boston he was 70-55 with a 3.72 ERA and 673 strikeouts in 384 appearances. After leaving Boston, he went on to pitch for the Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Yankees and Rangers.

Lowe and Varitek teamed up for a no-hitter
against Tampa Bay on April 27, 2002
Lowe — who came to Boston with Jason Varitek from Seattle in exchange for Heathcliff Solcumb in one of the most lopsided trades in franchise history — will forever be fondly remembered by Red Sox Nation for many accomplishments, most notably pitching the Game 7 clincher of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees, when, working on just two days rest, he held the Yankees to one hit and one run over six innings on 69 pitches.

When he tossed seven innings of shutout ball to win Game 4 of the World Series against the Cardinals shortly after that, Lowe helped the Sox crush the “Curse” and became the first pitcher in baseball history to win the deciding game of all three postseason rounds in the same year.

With his Seattle trade partner Varitek behind the dish, Lowe tossed a no-hitter for the Sox on April 27, 2002 against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing just one walk on 97 pitches in a 10-0 victory. That year was Lowe’s finest of his career — he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA and was named to the AL All-Star Team.

He was also tapped as an All-Star in 2000, when he saved 42 games for the Sox out of the bullpen.

“I was able to play 17 years on some pretty cool teams and win a world series... Everyone’s got to stop playing at some point, and this is my time,” he said.

That uncanny gift for hedging your words aside, Derek, it’s safe to say we’re all going to miss you.

And despite that one year in those god-awful pinstripes, you're welcome back at the Fens anytime.

Twitter: @jan_doh