Dallas Braden, famous 26-game winner

Ezra Shaw

Dallas Braden, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011, has told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser that he's retiring:

“There is nothing left in there, it’s just a shredded mess,” Braden said by phone. “I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum, and I’m OK with that.”

--snip--

Braden had been throwing all winter and was preparing to hold a showcase for teams this month, but after another recent setback, he had an MRI that showed too much damage to repair.

“I wasn’t in a position to repeat my delivery, to pitch with any intention,” he said. “That’s OK, I understood the odds I was facing. You have to face your mortality one day, and I have been so blessed in this game. If I take 10 minutes to be hacked off about it, it would be nine minutes too long. You can’t ask for more than I’ve been given, coming where my grandmother and I are coming from.”

According to MLB.com's Cash Kruth, "The 30-year-old Braden is best known for authoring the 19th perfect game in Major League history on May 9, 2010 -- Mother's Day -- in a 4-0 Oakland victory over Tampa Bay."

Braden packed a lot into a career that's apparently going to end with only 26 wins. Yes, there's the perfect game ... but I will argue that he won't be best known for that. Perfect games just aren't as special as they used to be. My guess is that Braden will remain best known, for a few decades anyway, for this incident:

You've got all the ingredients: little-known pitcher with nondescript team, spoiled superstar with baseball's biggest team, and a spirited battle over a small hill in the middle of a vast greensward. Maybe only Alex Rodriguez could have broken an unwritten rule that nobody even knew about.

Of course, Braden would cement his reputation just a couple of weeks later with the perfect game, thrown on Mother's Day, no less. With his grandmother, who raised him, in the stands.

Dallas Braden's a hero! Wait, life's complicated. There's also this:

Even while injured, Braden stayed in the news with yet another outspoken feud, this time with police in his native Stockton. Braden, who himself pled guilty to a road-rage incident and completed a court-ordered anger management program, appeared at an anti-violence meeting with a baseball bat and shouted at the police chief over what he felt was an inadequate response to the area’s crime problem.

There's no telling what Braden will do next. So far, it's been one hell of a ride for a 24th-round draft pick who went 26-36 in the majors. At the very least, he's been genuinely interesting. I suspect we've not seen the last of him.

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