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LaTroy Hawkins to retire following 2015 season
"Next Sunday, I'll be 42 and 2015 will be my last year playing professional baseball," Hawkins told Harold Reynolds and Fran Charles. "Hopefully not my last year of professional baseball, but it'll be my last year playing professional baseball."
Hawkins, who served as the Colorado Rockies closer in 2014, will enter his final season with exactly 1,000 appearances under his belt. He became only the 16th pitcher in MLB history to reach that milestone on Sept. 27 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which speaks to his remarkable durability and dependability over the years.
Hawkins actually began as a starting pitcher with the Minnesota Twins all the way back in 1995. In his first five seasons, 98 of Hawkins' 99 appearances were starts. The most notable, as MLB.com's Cut 4 points out, came on May 17, 1998, when he opposed David Wells during Wells' perfect game at Yankee Stadium. Hawkins never approached such success himself, posting a 26-44 record and 6.16 during that time period.
Despite those struggles, it was obvious Hawkins had a major league caliber arm. He just needed to find a niche that best suited him. For the 2000 season, legendary manager Tom Kelly shifted Hawkins to the bullpen, and he never looked back. Each of his last 901 appearances have come in relief, and the majority of those have come as a closer or set-up man.
In 20 seasons, Hawkins has suited up for 10 teams, winning at least one game with each. Overall, he has 72 wins and 124 saves.
There was some thought that Hawkins, who signed a two-year contract with Colorado prior to the 2014 season, might be a decent trade chip this winter or even at next season's trade deadline. This announcement could make that a little more difficult for Colorado, though as we've seen in the recent past, the Rockies are rarely motivated to move veteran players regardless of circumstances or the team's outlook.
Perhaps if Hawkins aspires to go out on top, that will change. But for now, it looks like he's going out a Rockie.