Mike Lowell Hanging it Up

Mike Lowell is playing his last game of professional baseball, with the Red Sox honoring him yesterday before the second scheduled (but first played because of rain on Friday) game . Ironically, the game at Fenway is against the same team the drafted him in 1995.

(And in another piece of irony to me, the game was intended by MLB scheduling to be the final showdown between the bitter rivals but is now anything but.)

Mike Lowell

Mike Lowell is hanging it up after twelve seasons.

At the crippling age of 36, Lowell probably knows that’s the hips are on the complete opposite end of the Shakira spectrum. He missed significant time the last few seasons of not being able to run or hit without pain.

But looking back there are two things that I will remember most about Lowell:

(Maybe three if you include that he was part of the 2003 Marlins team, along with Josh Beckett, to defeat the Yankees in the World Series. I know most Yankees fans thought at the time that beating the Red Sox in seven in the ALCS was more important than winning the World Series, I just couldn’t stand to see them win yet another since my entrance into the Yankees realm (college 1997-2001 was hell). But there was also some consolation in the fact that the very next year, the Yankees became the first team to lose a series after going up 3-0, and then watch the Sox win two since. Though 2009 had just the reverse effect. But I digress.)

The first was his performance in the 2007 postseason, culminating with World Series MVP honors. Right after that, I was screaming that they should sign him to whatever he wanted. He was only 33 at the time, and hitters and tremendous third basemen don’t come around too often. After turning down woos from Philly for more years and money, he agreed to stay in Boston for three years.  And it was almost right away that he started to show signs of wear and tear.  But his play in that post season to help the Red Sox get their second championship in four years (or second in ninety years, depending on how you look at it) was spectacular, especially after he was considered a burden on the Josh Beckett trade.

And that is the second thing that I’ll remember the most.  In a trade with the Florida Marlins to get ace pitcher Josh Beckett (a trade that was made while Theo Epstein took a break from being the Sox GM), Florida wanted to dump the contract of Mike Lowell.  At the age of 31 (my age right now), he was viewed as too old.  He was essentially a washed up player that the Marlins were looking to lighten their salary for the year.  Yet Boston got anything but that.  The first year, 2006, Lowell looked to be the better player received in the trade.

With Lowell leaving, it will give the Sox $12.5M to work with for next season, as well as a position to fill (third or first, opposite of Kevin Youkilis when he gets back).

So, on his last game played (sitting out the last two games of the season), he went 2-for-2 with a walk which included a 2-run double in the first and scored in the third.  Outside of the “homerun in your last at bat,” I thought it was a fitting ending for the gritty player in Mike Lowell.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply