By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
After spending nearly 15 seasons in professional baseball, Erik Bedard has announced his retirement from the game, thus ending his latest comeback bid with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bedard, a port-sided hurler from Navan, Ont., appeared in 241 games over the course of his 11-year stint in the majors, going 71-82 while posting a modest earned run average of 3.99 in just over 1300 innings of work.
Signed by Baltimore Orioles in the sixth round of 1999’s draft, the former starting shortstop for Ottawa’s Sir Wilfred Laurier Secondary School took the hill for six MLB clubs over his 11 years, and, with the Dodgers, was trying for seven prior to suffering a strained teres major muscle in his back earlier this spring.
Named the top pitcher in the Eastern League by Baseball America in 2002, Bedard struggled with inconsistency as staying healthy proved to be a daunting task for the once promising prospect.
After spending most of 2003 rehabbing his elbow following Tommy John surgery, Bedard would use a nasty hook to push forward and become a mainstay in an Orioles rotation where, as a 27 year-old in 2006, he was paired with a fellow Canuck hurler in Surrey, B.C.’s, Adam Loewen.
In two seasons as teammates, the Canadian tandem posted a collective record of 36-22 with the southpaw accounting for 28 of the pairs winning decisions.
Included within those two years is a dominant 2007 campaign in which Bedard went 13-5 while posting 221 strikeouts in 182 frames. Numbers strong enough to earn the then 28 year-old a fifth place finish in Cy Young Award voting.
Prior to the beginning of the 2008 season, the “Say Eh Kids” were split up as a trade to Seattle in exchange for George Sherrill, Tony Butler, Cam Mickolio and a pair of current standouts in Chris Tilman and perennial all-star centerfieder, Adam Jones, sent Bedard to the American League West for the first time.
During the remainder of a career plagued by inconsistent play and various trips to the disabled list, the Ontarian pitcher would post 100+ IP seasons in only three of his final eight seasons.
Despite numerous setbacks and general discouragement, Bedard battled adversity for the better part of his MLB career. And in doing so, provided inspiration for countless individuals both within and outside of the games white lines.
Bedard is one of only 124 Canadians to have pitched at the big league level. He ranks third all-time in strikeouts by Canadians with 1,246 behind Canada’s only Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) who had 3,192 strikeouts and Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC) who had 2,075.
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