After Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the entire world of sports by retiring during this season’s preseason slate, sports everywhere have been wondering what players may follow suit. While the sport of baseball is much, much less of a physical attack on an athlete’s body than that of football, baseball still can take its toll on a human’s body.
With that in mind, this article will detail a list of five of the most shocking retirements across all of MLB history. The shocking areas of each situation differ from player to player, but the fact that they all surprised a lot of people by departing from the game that they gave so much to is what gives them a spot on this list.
Old and new players alike, this list will open your eyes to situations with professional athletes that not a lot of people may be familiar with. By showing these details, hopefully, we as fans can garner a better appreciation for what athletes do and how it ultimately all takes a toll on the athletes, whether we can see it or not.
Lou Gehrig – New York Yankees
Retirement Date: June 21, 1939
Retirement Age: 36
Yet another MLB player who ultimately retired in his 30s, Henry Louis Gehrig, more notably known as Lou Gehrig, was unfortunately forced to step away from the game. His diagnosis of ALS, which became named after Gehrig later on down the road, stripped Gehrig of his ability to suit up in a Yankees uniform after his 16+ season career.
Gehrig was one of the best first basemen that helped revolutionize the game, and his legacy as being one of the best offensive players all-time will always be there for reference. In 1937, Gehrig managed to rank between the best and the fourth-best in the American League across eight different offensive categories, a testament to the type of legacy that Gehrig would have.
Taken from us less than two years after he retired, Gehrig’s bout with ALS was a very hard one to watch, especially with how highly thought of he was. Regardless of the disease that was slowly tearing him away, he was consistently thought of by his peers in very high regard, and his legacy both as an MLB player and as someone who was dealt a tough hand during a stretch of his life will live on in lore forever.
Sandy Koufax – Los Angeles Dodgers
Retirement Date: November 18, 1966
Retirement Age: 30
Even after he had just won his second consecutive Cy Young Award, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher and legend Sandy Koufax hung up his cleats while only being 30 years young. Having surprised even his fellow pitcher Don Drysdale with the decision, Koufax valued his personal health over athletic accomplishments every day of the week and even twice on Sundays.
Koufax, who did not wish to continue his professional playing days due to a fear for permanent damage to his left (pitching arm) elbow that was already dealing with arthritis, left the Dodgers at the peak of his …read more