Barry Zito announced his retirement Monday morning in an article for The Players' Tribune, saying "I'll never be too far away from the game that made me who I am." Zito describes the ups and downs of his career and its meaning on his life as he embraces his future. Zito, 37, pitched in 15 seasons, seven for the Oakland Athletics, seven for the San Francisco Giants, and one final year in the A's organization.
After taking 2014 off from baseball after concluding his contract with the San Francisco Giants, the A's signed Zito on a minor league contract prior to spring training, not knowing whether he would accept assignment to Triple-A if he did not make the big league roster. Zito did accept assignment, and spent most of 2015 with the Nashville Sounds, Oakland's Triple-A farm club.
At first, it appeared his season came to an end with the conclusion of the minor league season in early September, but a surprise call up on September 16 saw Zito back in the major leagues. After a relief appearance on September 20, Zito was given the start on September 26 against the San Francisco Giants and Tim Hudson, who was himself starting his final game at the Coliseum.
Zito's final appearance was September 30 against the Los Angeles Angels, where he pitched four innings of two-run ball on the way to Oakland's 8-7 victory.
In his article, Zito says, "I am beyond thankful to be at peace with walking away, thanks in large part to my year of renewal in Nashville with the Sounds. My return to Oakland last month was a 'cherry on top' moment in my life that my family and I will never forget."
Zito appeared in five postseason series with the A's and one with the Giants. In Game 1 of the 2006 American League Divisional Series, Barry Zito outdueled Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins with a one-run, eight-inning performance that will live as one of the greatest of his career.
The 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star finishes his career with a 165-143 record, a 4.04 ERA, and a World Series ring in 2012 with the Giants.