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UPDATE: Dontrelle Willis has announced his retirement

Jul 2, 2012, 4:54 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

UPDATE: The Orioles have just announced Dontrelle Willis’ retirement.

The D-Train finally accepted what we all knew to be true: his time as an effective ballplayer had passed.  But it was a good run for a while. For his career, Willis finishes with a career 72-59 record and a 4.17 ERA in 1221 and two-thirds innings.  His first four years in the majors, however, were pretty nice. From 2003 through 2006, Willis was 58-39 with a 3.44 ERA.

While we all thought that was just a tease of good things left to come, it turned out to be the high water mark.  Which is sad given how enjoyable it was to watch Willis in his prime, but sometimes that’s how it goes.

4:20PM: Dontrelle Willis continues to toil unsuccessfully in the Orioles’ system, but that time may be ending. Roch Kubatko tweets that Willis will not make his next start and is considering retirement.

It’s been a looong time since Willis was effective. Setting aside his train wreck minor league season this year — 8.53 ERA —  he posted a 5.00 ERA and 57/37 K/BB ratio in 76 innings for the Reds last season. Over the past five seasons he has a 5.65 ERA in 404 innings.

Nothing personal, but Willis is deader than vaudeville at this point, and retirement seems like a pretty decent option.

  1. Carter Dotson - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Will someone please save Dontrelle Willis from himself? He’s just making terrible decisions. He was death to lefties last year. He still can hit decently enough to pinch-hit occasionally. He seems primed for a role where he could be a LOOGY and an extra bench bat when necessary. Instead he’s starting for an AL team’s minor league affiliate, taking away his two greatest strengths. It’s a shame.

  2. sophiethegreatdane - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    It’s a shame — he would fit right in with the rest of the Oriole starting rotation at this point.

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    This reminds me of the Evander Holyfield comeback attempts. On the one hand, good for him and his perseverance. . On the other hand, please make him stop before he hurts himself or someone else…

  4. seanthegreatest - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    His retirment is officially be listed as retroactive to the 2010 season

  5. natstowngreg - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    A real shame. He was a most entertaining pitcher for a while. Hope he does well in retirement.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Indeed. I too was a Dontrelle fan, but looking back, really, he had a fine rookie season, and a great third season, and the rest was just the rest. Good luck to him. Can’t have been easy to let it go.

  6. mississippiguy - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Even as a Braves fan, I’ve always had a soft spot for the D-Train. He seemed like such an incredible teammate, and he always wore his heart on his sleeve on the mound. I remember him pitching poorly in a Braves/Marlins game, then standing on the top step of the dugout cheering like crazy for his team to rally. I don’t remember if they did or not, but that is the image I have of him. No sulking, just passion and heart and talent. I hated the way his career suddenly derailed, then went down in flames. It was shocking, really, to see him fraught with insecurity about a game he once played with utter abandon. I’m sure many baseball fans will remember Willis for his collapse, but for me, he’ll always be that guy pitching his heart out, then willing his teammates to victory from the dugout – a true team player.

  7. jimmymarlinsfan - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    He may not have pitched much in the 03 playoffs for the fish, but he was every bit as responsible as Beckett, Penny, Lowell, D-Lee, pudge and co. His energy, enthusiasm and pure love of the game made him as enjoyable as anyone to watch in the game whether it be his herky-jerky motion on the mound, his swinging for the fences at the plate or his face first dives into various bases.

    His smile was infectious and I hope the marlins can find a place for him in the organization somewhere

  8. sincitybonobo - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Best wishes to the D-Train.

    In Sept 2005, I attended a Marlins v. Astros game just after he won his 20th game. My wife was recovering from donating a kidney and after a few stressful days, I was itching to attend a game. For some reason, I was wearing an A’s hat and sitting in Left-Center field. About an hour before first pitch, I raised my glove and yelled, “Dontrelle! East Bay!”. Sure enough, he threw a strike from 150 feet away and I left with an unexpected souvenir.

    He was a joy to watch pitch. In 2003, the Double-A Carolina Mudcats began the season with Dontrelle and Miguel Cabrera in their lineup. Nearly 7 months after toiling in the Southern League, the duo was celebrating along the first base line of Yankee Stadium.

    The Stros ran into Beckett that night. With two weeks to go in the season, I remember thinking that the Fish would make the push to the World Series. As it turned out, the Astros caught fire.

    Rooting against Dontrelle was difficult, if not impossible. His wildness became too much to overcome- at least as a starting pitcher. You would think he could claw his way back as a situational lefty.

    Thanks for the memories, D. For eternity, you can have fungus on your shower shoes.

  9. kcfanatic - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Not bad for a 65 year old pitcher with a 40 year old birth certificate. Dude is either much older than his birth certificate says, or he has been spending WAY too much time in Kramer’s “Cigar Room”.

    • cosanostra71 - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:50 PM

      He’s American… and he’s 30…

  10. cur68 - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Any word on if Vizquel, Jones, or perhaps Oliver were involved in an intervention?

  11. dickclydesdale - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    This guy will be broke and in jail within 2-3 yrs.

  12. yahmule - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    I wonder why he never tried to go the Rick Ankiel route. The guy could really hit.

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