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Report: Brad Lidge opts for retirement

Dec 2, 2012, 11:00 PM EST

Brad Lidge Getty Images

Brad Lidge, who sat out the remainder of the 2012 season after being released by the Nationals in June, has decided to retire, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports.

The 35-year-old Lidge had a 9.64 ERA in 9 1/3 innings before being let go by the Nationals. Battling both shoulder and elbow problems, he had seen his innings total decrease four straight seasons.

Lidge was incredible at his peak. In 2004, he finished with a 1.90 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings of relief for the Astros. Only three relievers have ever struck out more batters, and they all needed 130+ innings to get there (Dick Radatz in 1963 and ’64 and Mark Eichhorn in 1986).  After Lidge, the highest strikeout total for a reliever in fewer than 100 innings is 141 (Rob Dibble, 1989).

Lidge also topped 100  strikeouts in 2005 and 2006. In 2008, he finished a perfect 41-for-41 saving games during the regular season and then added seven more October saves while closing out the World Series for the Phillies.

Unfortunately, Lidge’s most famous postseason moment was giving up a walkoff homer to Albert Pujols in the 2005 NLCS. The Astros, though, bounced back to win that series, and Lidge was a stellar postseason pitcher overall, amassing a 2.18 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.

Lidge finishes his 11-year career with 225 saves, a 3.54 ERA and 799 strikeouts in 603 1/3 innings. It’s the second highest strikeout rate in major league history for a pitcher with at least 500 innings, with Billy Wagner barely beating him out (Wagner is at 11.920 K/9 IP, while Lidge comes in at 11.919).

  1. edelmanfanclub - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    He had his share of control issues. But this guy had some nasty stuff. Including one of the dirtiest sliders I think I’ve ever seen. Cheers to a good career, Mr. Lidge

  2. mybrunoblog - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    He is retired until next year or so when he decides to try and come back. We’ve seen this a number of times now.

  3. drmonkeyarmy - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Might be his most famous moment for you, but it is striking out Hinske to end 2008 for me.

  4. xxakshunxx - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    I would say Lidges most famous moment is getting the strikeout to WIN The World Series.. But maybe some have that mentality of you don’t remember relievers unless they make a bad pitch to lose a game..

  5. oms0004 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Lights Out… Lidge.

  6. lroc20 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    What an a hole you are Matthew, his most memorable post season moment was striking out Hinske and dropping to his knees after the Phillies won the world series. You disgust me!

    • nategearhart - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      The Hinske strikeout is his most famous moment IN PHILLY (as it should be), but anywhere else it’s the Pujols homer. I’m not saying it should be, it just is. On a related note, dude, get over yourself. You seem to be taking Matthew’s statement awfully personally, as if you’ve been personally affronted; perhaps a little perspective is in order.

      • tuberippin - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:45 AM

        Subjective opinions are subjective.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:48 AM

        While a bit overblown he has a point. The walk-off loss to Pujols didn’t decide the series. In fact the Astros won it. The media has made that moment bigger than it actually deserves. After all who remembers Mariano Rivera blowing game 7 of the World Series against the Diamondbacks? Arguably a far bigger letdown.

        His most famous moment by any objective standard should be his 2008 world series victory. The perfect season and perfect post-season just add to an incredible season. An Astros fan can be forgiven for remembering most the homer since there was no WS victory follow up, but come on let’s admit that sports reporting in general has puffed it up more because of Pujols than because of Lidge.

      • nategearhart - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:35 AM

        “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it”.
        My only point was that whatever SHOULD be his “most famous moment”, the fact is that his most famous moment IS the Pujols home run. You don’t have to like it. It’s the fact. I could counter your Mo point with a Bill Buckner. It’s a damn shame that with the career he had, he is remembered for the Mookie Wilson grounder. But it is. Matthew was stating a fact, not insulting Lidge, and certainly not insulting Phillies fans, which is my biggest beef with the original comment. The dude really needs to calm down and not take shit so personally/seriously.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        ESPN’s article (written by Jayson Stark, who is a Philly boy – but still very respected) does not mention the Pujols homer but does mention 2008 final out. Scott Miller at CBS Sports gave the two moments equal billing. All the other articles I found about the retirement have are Philly or Houston based.

        I agree there is no reason to call Matthew an a-hole, but it does seem a thin reed to call the Pujols homer his “most famous” moment. If you or Matthew would like to quantify how you know that it is his “most famous” moment, I’d love to hear what it is.

      • nategearhart - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        You’re seriously asking me to quantify fame? Looks like we’re at an impasse.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        It’s true that Buckner’s remembered for that one error. But what did he do after that? Not much, least of all play a pivotal role in winning the Series for his team. The point is that the media repeatedly drudges up the homer, and keeping it in the mindset of fans.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        I am seriously asking you to back up your own words:

        My only point was that whatever SHOULD be his “most famous moment”, the fact is that his most famous moment IS the Pujols home run.

  7. dwaibel38 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    I agree – but you have to admit, The Pujols Bomb hasn’t landed yet…

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:58 AM

      the puols blast was what nowadays people calll “iconic.” DOn’t know why they do but that’s the way the language goes, sometimes. A fastball pitcher the games most ferocious sluggger (at least at the time.) Boom!

  8. timb12 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    As an Astros fan the most famous is that one he gave up to Pujols. Watching games where either Lidge or Pujols is playing the broadcasters always make the joke that that ball still hasn’t come down.

  9. Utley's Hair - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    To parrot and add to several posts here, his most famous moment was in 2008 with the WS win and K of Hinske, following a 7-for-7 postseason, and 41-for-41 regular season. The media constantly bringing up an anticlimactic walkoff against him doesn’t automatically make it the most famous, just the most cliched moment of his career.

    Thanks for 2008, Brad, and good luck in your retirement.

  10. schmedley69 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    How can you give a career retrospective for the guy and fail to mention that he got the save in a World Series clincher?

  11. gallaghedj311 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Yeah it was def 2008. I remember it well. I was spraying champagne in the parking lot of a south jersey bowling alley celebrating with friends, and ran quickly to the jukebox and played we are the championships. It was great

  12. Matthew Pouliot - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    OK, I’m bowing down to popular demand… added a sentence about him closing things out for the champs.

  13. tuberippin - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    For as much as I have shit on the man (and I think most Phils fans can agree in that regard), his dominance in 2008 will remain timeless in Philly sports history.

    Seeing him slide to his knees and screaming up to the heavens when he recorded the last out of the World Series, bringing a long-overdue championship to Philadelphia and to our oft-bumbling Phils…that’s a moment that remains in my memory bank, clear as day, and I hope it stays that way forever.

    Let’s not forget that in the world of sports, winning trumps all. For instance, do you think we will remember Mariano Rivera for blowing Game Seven of the 2001 World Series to Arizona, or do you think we’ll remember him for all the winning he did aside from that one moment? Something to think about.

    Thanks for the memories, Brad. 2008 forever.

    • kruegere - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:27 AM

      Not even a Yankee fan, but its hard to blame Rivera for that blown save. There was an error and the walkoff hit was a hit off the fists.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 3, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        A hit is a hit, no matter how it happens.

  14. wingslax35 - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    What a poorly retrospective. He got the final out in a World Series, and that isn’t even mentioned. I’m sorry, but a home run in a postseason game that’s not the World Series after a guy saves the last game in a perfect season is. not what he will be remembered for. must be a disgruntled Astros fan.

  15. chaseutley - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Thank you for an amazing 2008, Brad.

  16. natslady - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Why picture him in a Nats uni? He did nothing for us, and when he was released, emitted nothing but sour grapes against the Nats FO. Was a rare Rizzo mistake, with the idea his “veteran presence” and postseason experience would stabilize the BP. Turned out he was injured, useless, and then bitter.

    Better to picture him in his glory days.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      Your franchise has a history of asterix uniform shots

  17. makeham98 - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Didn’t the Astros won the series win the series where Pujols homered? Dwelling on that is as meaningful as touting the stats of guys who frequently solo homered when their team was down 8 runs in the bottom of the ninth. Lidge’s won that series against the Cards. The homer went to waste.

  18. brownsapologist - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Unfortunately for Lidge, the reason many people say the HR is his most famous moment has more to do with what happened afterwards. They say the HR got to him and he was never the same pitcher for the Astros again. Yeah, the Astros still won that series but he gave up a game winning HR in the World Series that year too. A series they were swept in so who knows how much difference it would have made. You would think that having a perfect save season (including going 7 for 7 in the postseason while closing out the final World Series game) would erase the stigma as someone who was shaky in the clutch but apparently the collective decision was already made. It’s pretty sad. I suspect that he and his career will always be looked at in a troubled and tarnished view……at least until that ball finally lands. Then maybe he can get some peace. I mean seriously, did you see that hit?! It was still going up when it blew a hole out of the side of the stadium! I heard a kid in Australia thought he saw it landing back in 2009, but it turns out it was an asteroid. That ball will not land in my lifetime and probably not in the lifetime of my unborn children’s children.

  19. maximusprime107 - Dec 5, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Went to a few of his pitching camps when I was younger in Colorado. He was also a really great guy and he had great success in the majors. Wish the Rockies weren’t so cheap and could have found a way to acquire the hometown kid

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