Remembering The Great Barry Zito
Over the last couple of days I have been in deep contemplation about what I’ve wanted to say in regards to the retirement of the great Barry Zito.
The dominating lefty that dazzled the fans and frustrated opposing batters decided to put hang up the glove and leave the game that made him a sports icon. It’s certainly a sad sight to see Zito leave along with all the nostalgia that came with him, but as the saying goes, “all things must come to an end”.
While it may be next to impossible to put into words the greatness that was Barry Zito, I will do my best.
After a long and illustrious career the great and powerful Berry Zito has announced it’s time for him to call it quits. The 37-year-old ends his days in the MLB after 15 years, all of which were based out of the Bay Area with the Athletics and Giants.
Zito took Major League Baseball by storm the moment he stepped on a professional ball field as a 22-year-old back in 2000. His rookie year yielded a 2.72 ERA and only 28 earned runs while holding opponents to a mere 1.95 batting average through 92.2 innings of work and to cap it off, finished sixth in the rookie of the year voting.
The sky was the limit for Zito and he tapped into every bit of his potential becoming a house hold name for almost every baseball fan. He continued to rise to the upper echelon of pitching developing one of the most remembered and feared curveball of all time.
Zito dominated opposing hitters game in and game out with a great arsenal of pitches headlined by that curveball which helped lead him to one of his best years in the majors. That year would come just two years into his major league career as he posted a 23-5 record consisting of a 2.75, 182 strikeouts, 7.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 all through 229-1/3 innings, not to mention winning the Al Cy Young Award that year.
There was certainly no questioning Zito’s power and endurance throughout his career. His reliability made him the optimal workhorse pitcher and during his time in Oakland, the Athletics relied on him a lot to the tune of starting no less than 34 games for six years straight from 2001-2006.
His tenure with Oakland could arguably have been the prime of his career, which is impressive when you think about the company Zito was in. He was a part of the “Big Three” in Oakland alongside Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. Yet despite all that, he managed to come out as the number one workhorse for the Athletics.
When it comes to reflecting on the hay days of Barry Zito there are many different things that come to mind. Some people remember the crazy hair, some remember his delivery, and while most baseball fans (including myself) remember the un-hittable curveball, everyone can remember the substantial 7-year, $126M contract contract that lured Zito away from Oakland.
While Zito endured success while in San Francisco his tenure with the Giants could never match his time with Oakland. He went through a few “firsts” as a Giant, the majority of which were on the negative side of things.
Zito endured his first losing season in 2007 and just two years after joining the Giants in 2008 he went 10-17 and posted a 5.15 ERA. Not a great start for Zito, but he did manage to bounce back a little going 15-8, a complete game shutout, with a World Series ring in 2012.
All in all, Barry Zito was and forever will be the type of pitcher manager’s dream of having. He will leave the MLB with a 4.04 ERA, a 165-143 record, 1885 strikeouts, and an endless amount of love for the game that made him a marvel.
I know I’m not the first to say it and I’m sure I won’t be the last when I say farewell Barry Zito, you will be missed.