Gil Meche: Integrity Exists

Kansas City Royals pitcher, Gil Meche [fastball (89-95), slider(85-89), curve(73-79), changeup(81-84)], announced his retirement from MLB yesterday due to recurring shoulder troubles that forced him to miss the majority of the 2010 season.

Meche displayed integrity and humility that is rarely exposed by the modern athlete.  His decision to walk away from $12 million in the final year of his contract shows “it was not about the money” but for love of the game.

The 32 year-old right-hander signed a five-year, $55 million contract before the 2007 season.  It was a classic case of the Kansas City Royals overpaying for a free agent to lure them into helping transform a losing environment.  However, Meche never demonstrated the ability to live up to such lofty expectations.

Prior to signing the contract, Meche pitched in parts of six seasons with the Seattle Mariners, compiling a 55-44 record, 4.65 ERA, and 1.44 WHIP.  His raw talent on the mound never really translated in the box score.

Meche gained his only All-Star nomination in his first year with the Royals.  Meanwhile, he led the American League in games started in each of his first two seasons while posting a sub-4.00 ERA.

In 2009, his career began to regress shortly after a 132-pitch outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 16th.  He began to feel discomfort in his shoulder and never would regain his 2007-08 status.

An injury-plagued 2010 season proved to be the last for the former 1996 1st round draft pick.  Meche pitched a scoreless inning in relief on October 3 against Tampa Bay in his final appearance in the Major Leagues.

Meche finished his career with an 84-83 record, 4.49 ERA, and 1.42 WHIP.  He should be remembered for his dignity and integrity not his bloated contract and average MLB production.

About Josh Robbins
Josh is a freelance videographer/journalist and baseball historian in Gilbert, Arizona. In 2010, he earned a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from CSU-Long Beach. From June 16 to July 11, 2008, he watched a game in all 30 MLB stadiums in a world record 26 days by car. You can email Josh at robbinsjosh AT hotmail DOT com or visit his website at

1 Comment on Gil Meche: Integrity Exists

  1. The most surprising thing about Meche’s retirement is the fact that he was pitching well at the end of last season. As the setup man he threw 13 innings to a 1.00 WHIP and a 2.08 ERA in the last eleven outings of his career. It looked like he was going to have an important place in the Royals bullpen this year. His arm must have been in excruciating pain to leave all that money behind.

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