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2.20.2007

That's all Foulke 

Keith Foulke has called it quits. After signing a 1-year $5 million contract with the Cleveland Indians, he decided his knees couldn't take it and retired before throwing a pitch. It should be noted that he easily could have hung on for a little bit longer, qualified for his salary and then bailed, but chose not to do so.

Baseball fans may remember that Foulke threw 100 pitches over 5 innings during the most dire conditions in a span of 48 hours during Games 4, 5 and 6 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. He also pitched four innings in the ALDS against the Angels, and picked up a win and the championship-clinching save in the World Series against the Cardinals. His total line for the 2004 playoffs:

11 appearances, 14 innings, 59 batters, 257 pitches, 7 hits, 1 run, 8 walks, 19 strikeouts, ERA 0.64 over a 14-game postseason.

If MLB awarded just a playoffs MVP trophy instead of LCS and World Series trophies, Foulke certainly would have been the winner.

Baseball fans may also remember that he blew several saves and pitched poorly during the first couple months of 2005, earning him the wrath of the Fenway faithful. Foulke cantankerously replied that


I'm more embarrassed to walk into this locker room and look at the faces of my teammates than I am to walk out and see Johnny from Burger King booing me.


That did not go over so well.

In retrospect, it is clear that he had significant physical problems during the last few years he pitched, and that pitching overtime during the 2004 playoffs exacerbated his problems. It may not have been completely clear during the first half of the 2005 season, but most Red Sox fans I know suspected that something was wrong. I sincerely hope that the fans who booed Foulke feel ashamed of themselves.

Below is a picture of Foulke just after recording the final out of the 2004 World Series. Thanks for the memories, dude.

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