With a Philadelphia Phillies alumni logo stitched onto the right sleeve of his pinstriped jersey, Brad Lidge signed a one-day contract this week to retire with the team.
He spent just four of his 11 major-league seasons with the Phillies, but said he always knew he would retire with the club after capturing the 2008 World Series. Thursday marked the official end for the closer who dropped to his knees on that cold October night, ending a city’s title drought and forever enamoring him to a fan base.
“I can still put myself right in that spot and remember gripping that pitch before I threw it,” said Lidge, 36. “It will always be something permanently on my mind.”
Lidge returned to Citizens Bank Park to kick off alumni weekend, which featured Curt Schilling’s induction into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday.
The strikeout of Tampa Bay’s Eric Hinske in Game 5 of the World Series capped Lidge’s perfect season as he converted all 48 of his save opportunities. After he was released by the Washington Nationals last June, he went back to Notre Dame and completed his bachelor’s degree in religious studies. Now Lidge is working toward a master’s degree in archaeology. “My wife said I’m never going to grow up,” Lidge said. “I got to play baseball and now I’m digging in dirt.”
Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton also enjoyed a return to the ballpark Friday. “Oh my God, all my friends are here,” Daulton said.
Daulton, who is also participating in the Phillies’ annual alumni weekend, spoke publicly for the first time since his brain cancer diagnosis a little over a month ago.
The 51-year-old, now a radio personality in Philadelphia, was diagnosed with two brain tumors in June. Both were removed after brain surgery on July 1, but nine days later Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that also took the lives of his former teammate Tug McGraw and former coach John Vukovich.
A 14-year major league veteran, Daulton spent nearly his entire career in Philadelphia before being traded to the Florida Marlins midway through the 1997 season, his final one.
Around the leagues
Alex Rodriguez was back with the Trenton Thunder on Friday and the New York Yankees star hit a two-run homer to left in the third inning against the Reading Fightin Phils. Drug penalties are expected to be announced Monday. ... Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said pitcher Stephen Fife, on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, will “chuck” for Triple-A Albuquerque or in Chicago on Sunday. If Fife is with Albuquerque, he would presumably pitch. Zack Greinke is scheduled to start Sunday in Chicago for the Dodgers. ... In his first game with the Detroit Tigers, Jose Iglesias started at third base in place of Miguel Cabrera (strained lower abdomen) against the Chicago White Sox. ... The Houston Astros recalled Jimmy Paredes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He started at second base. ... The Tigers released right-hander Cesar Carrillo after he served a 100-game suspension for violating baseball’s minor league drug program.