As Kyle Lohse hangs up his cleats, St. Louis Cardinals fans should take a moment to remember the good times and appreciate his career.
Kyle Lohse retired. He announced his retirement in the most Kyle Lohse way imaginable:
It’s been a hell of a ride! Baseball, you’ve taken me a lot of places I’ve never thought or even dreamed of. The highs. The lows. The people I’ve met. The teammates I’ve had the pleasure of battling alongside. The guys on the other teams I’ve had the pleasure of battling against. Time to take it to the house knowing I gave it all I had each and every time.
Yep. There he is. Enjoying a cold beer at a minor league game in Omaha, Nebraska (which happens to be my future home — maybe I’ll run into him). It’s a fantastic view, and I’m more than a little jealous. He never won any awards, never made an All-Star Game, won’t get any Hall of Fame votes. But there’s something romantic about that view. That’s an accomplished man.
He lived the dream. He played Major League Baseball. He won the World Series, and he has the ring to prove it. He overcame exertional compartment syndrome (he had a messed up forearm) to return to be a productive player. He struck out over 1600 professional hitters. He won more games than he lost. He deserves that beer. He earned it.
While he’s at it, he deserves a hat-tip from St. Louis Cardinals fans everywhere. Kyle Lohse will likely be little more than a distant memory in a decade. To be frank, I hadn’t thought about him for quite a while prior to yesterday. But then I thought about 2011 and 2012 and how he helped stabilize a rotation that featured an aging (but dominate) Chris Carpenter and then a recovering Adam Wainwright. For a few brief years, an injury-plagued player became Mr. Reliable for a very good ball club.
In those two years, Lohse tossed 399.1 innings, posting a 3.11 ERA, a 30-11 record, and 6 WAR. That’s solid. He struggled in the postseason (2-3, 5.45 ERA), but he still played an important role in getting the Cardinals there in back-to-back years.
He also filled in for Tony LaRussa admirably when the manager missed time with shingles:
In truth, Kyle Lohse didn’t have a phenomenal career. He doesn’t deserve a parade or Hall of Fame consideration or much fanfare at all. But he does deserve a moment of your time to remember all that he accomplished and all that he helped the Cardinals accomplish. He did what so many of us dreamed about as kids, and that’s something.
So tip your hat, raise your glass, and wish him well in retirement. He’s earned it.