Former Yankees reliever takes final bow in retirement

Former player of the New York Yankees, Zack Britton
Amanda Paula
Monday November 20, 2023

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Zack Britton, the former All-Star reliever, has officially announced his retirement, marking the end of a remarkable 12-season career in Major League Baseball (MLB) with stints at the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

What happened?

Britton’s decision to retire comes after a challenging attempt to make a comeback from Tommy John surgery with the Yankees in 2022. Unfortunately, his struggles were evident in three late-season appearances, and he did not take the mound at all in the subsequent year. Reflecting on his final outing, Britton shared with Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic, “My last outing was against the Orioles. I threw a ball to the backstop as my last pitch; I think about that and it sucks. It might not have been perfect from a career standpoint or going out on a high note, but you don’t always get to pick. My gut was telling me it was time to see what life was like on the other side.”

Britton gained widespread recognition for his exceptional performance during the 2016 season with the Baltimore Orioles. That year, he crafted one of the most outstanding relief seasons in MLB history, boasting a microscopic 0.54 ERA – the lowest in a single season in AL/NL history, excluding the pandemic year. Additionally, he maintained a stellar 0.84 WHIP, recorded 74 strikeouts, and secured an AL-best 47 saves, contributing significantly to the Orioles’ playoff berth. Britton’s remarkable season earned him a fourth-place finish in AL Cy Young voting and garnered some MVP support.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Britton concludes with impressive statistics, including a lifetime 3.13 ERA, 3.54 FIP, and 1.26 WHIP. His contributions span 641 big-league innings, featuring 532 strikeouts and 154 saves. As a two-time All-Star, Britton notably achieved an ERA below two in each of his four seasons as a qualified reliever, leaving an indelible mark on the league.

While Britton may not have experienced a picture-perfect conclusion to his playing days, his decision to retire reflects a seasoned athlete’s understanding that the timing is crucial, even if it doesn’t align with the ideal narrative. As he steps away from the pitcher’s mound, Zack Britton leaves behind a legacy of excellence, particularly highlighted by his historic 2016 season, and enters a new chapter to explore life beyond the game that defined much of his professional identity.

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