Major League turnstiles will surely take a hit next season as the game’s biggest drawing card, Theodore Roosevelt Lilly, announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Lilly was rehabbing in a Venezuelan winter league in hopes of getting back to the majors next spring after being released by the Dodgers this season, but decided to hang it up due to persistent neck and shoulder pain.
Lilly had the distinction of playing for both Canadian teams while they still existed, but his greatest feats came in a Chicago Cub uniform from 2007-10. Lilly endeared himself to Cub fans by being the team’s first left-handed starting pitcher worth a crap since Ken Holtzman, working through games quickly, and bamboozling batters with his sweet, sweet curve.
The only time in his career that he made a mistake — allowing a three-run homer to Chris Young in the 2007 NLDS — he infamously slammed his glove down to the mound in frustration, which saved countless Cub fans from damaging their own televisions at that very moment as he channeled the collective anger.
Oddly, his best moment as a Cub came not as a pitcher, but a baserunner.
In what may go down as the last good thing to happen for the Cubs in a game against St. Louis, Lilly plowed into Cardinal Idol Yadier Molina at the plate, sending Yadi flying into another dimension. Sure, he held onto the ball and Lilly was out, but that’s irrelevant. He got owned by a pitcher at the plate.
Lilly finishes his career with a record of 130-113, with a 4.14 ERA and 1,681 strikeouts.
So on this Thanksgiving, I raise a toast to Theodore Roosevelt Lilly the Third, a bad-ass man named after our most bad-ass president. The game will never be the same.