Reliever Brad Ziegler announced his retirement after 11 major league seasons on Wednesday, his 39th birthday.
“I’ve been living out the dream of almost every little boy that grows up in this great country and in many other countries around the world,” Ziegler wrote in a statement.
He recalled suffering a fractured skull in 2004 as an Oakland Athletics minor leaguer after he was struck by a line drive and “wondering if I’d ever play again — and in reality, just praying I’d be able to live a normal life.”
His career did continue, and in 2007, the A’s talked to him about becoming a reliever and changing to a submarine delivery.
“I literally felt at that moment that my pro career was only a year or two away from ending, knowing that ‘those guys’ rarely get called up and typically are just used as roster-fillers in the minors,” Ziegler said. “Two years later, my dream finally became a reality — but I knew my stay could be temporary. So my biggest goal was to enjoy every minute of it and try to make it a difficult decision for them to send me down when that time came.
“Ten years later, I feel fortunate to be able to walk away from the game on my terms, having never been sent back to the minors.”
Ziegler finishes his career with a 2.75 ERA in 717 1/3 innings pitched over 739 appearances. He is the Diamondbacks’ all-time leader with 377 appearances after spending seven of his 11 seasons in Arizona.
He went 37-38 and saved 105 games in his 11 seasons with the Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Marlins and Diamondbacks.