Way back in 1966, when Sandy Koufax was the most dominant pitcher among a lot of really great pitchers--like Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal, and Whitey Ford--he retired. Over his final two seasons, Koufax went 53-17, and his last season was 27-9, 1.73, with 317 strikeouts over 323 innings, allowing just 241 hits.
On that, Koufax retired.
When asked why Koufax was leaving the game when he was on top, the lefty commented, "I like my arm. I might want to use it for something other than pitching one of these days." He was 30 at the time.
Yesterday, 32-year old Gil Meche announced his retirement, foregoing a final year of his contract, worth $12 million, rather than going through additional arm surgery.
A first round pick of the Mariners in 1996, Meche was hardly a Koufax. Meche posted a career 84-83 record over 10 seasons, just 12 wins more than the 72 Koufax earned over his final three seasons alone.
In 2009, when Meche went 1-2, 3.77 over the first month of the season, striking out 27 over 30 innings, it looked like he had really established himself. But then his arm caused a DL stint for which he really never recovered.
Still, if we look, walking away is a tough thing to do. Not long ago I wrote about the last days of Mays and Carlton, and how they should have quit while they were ahead, before we had to watch them struggle like rookies, or worse.
So, congratulations on using your good sense, as tough as that might be to do.
I realize you to might want to use your arm. I never pitched, and I am late into my 50's, but I swear, I use my arms all the time. You made a good choice.