Did anyone know that James Shields was still technically considered an active player? The former Tampa Bay Rays All Star had not pitched in the majors since 2018, his glory days far behind him.
But Shields had kept hoping for that call to make one last run. That time has finally ended, as he will officially retire with the Rays and throw out the first pitch on Opening Day.
Tampa Bay Rays right place for James Shields to retire
These days, Shields is remembered as a highlight for other teams. He was on the mound with Bartolo Colon hit the most improbable homer in major league history. Then, four weeks later, he was traded to the White Sox in the deal that sent Fernando Tatis Jr. to San Diego. Shields also led the majors in losses in his final season in the majors.
But that should not overshadow the pitcher Shields had been. He was a solid starter between 2007 and 2015, firing over 200 innings each year while helping lead his teams to the postseason. The Royals traded for him to change the direction of their organization, something that worked as he led them to the World Series in 2014. Overall, he posted a 145-139 record with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.272 WHiP over his 2616 innings, striking out 2234 batters with 746 walks. He was an All Star in 2011 and earned Cy Young and MVP votes twice.
Yet Shields is remembered as a member of the Rays. He was part of a formidable duo with David Price atop their rotation, helping turn Tampa Bay into a perennial playoff contender. His legacy with the Rays is set in stone. It is fitting that he will retire with the franchise that turned him into a star.
James Shields is finally set to retire. It is fitting that his final moments will come with the Tampa Bay Rays.