Former Marlins star pitcher and National League Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis has decided to retire from baseball at just 30 years of age.
Willis, who made his MLB debut with the Floria Marlins in 2003 and helped them win the World Series, announced his retirement via Twitter on Monday.
“I’m deeply thankful for everything the game has done for me and I will always remember the great people I met along the way as well. #mlb,” the one-time hard-throwing left-hander posted.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Dontrelle, better known as “D-train,” was outstanding in his first few years as a big-leaguer, posting a a win-loss record of 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA for the Marlins in 2003, and 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA in 2005, when he finished second in the National League Cy Young Award voting and 11th in MVP voting.
After the incredible 2005 season, however, Willis was never the same.
Bleacher Report writes that after leaving Florida, the 6’4″ southpaw bounced around between Detroit, Arizona and Cincinnati, never assembling an ERA under 5.00 and never logging over 80 innings in a single season in the majors.
In 2011 with the Reds, Willis went 1-6 with a 5.00 earned run average. He was signed to a minor league contract by the Phillies before the season, but was released and signed to a minor-league deal by the Orioles. In four games, including one start, for Triple-A Norfolk this season, D-Train compiled an 0-3 record with an 8.53 ERA.
“(It’s) kind of sad in a way because of how good he was. I look at it from the game of baseball,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Willis’ retirement on Monday night. “We’ll see what the future holds for him. I appreciate him giving it a shot with us.”
Dontrelle Willis’ 9-year MLB career ends after 205 games with a 72-69 record, 896 strikeouts and a 4.17 ERA. He was also one of baseball’s best hitting pitchers during his time in the majors, batting .244 with nine homers and 39 RBIs.