Right-hander Darren O’Day announced his retirement from baseball on his personal Twitter account on Monday morning.
“The mental, physical, and time demands have finally outweighed my love for the game,” wrote the 40-year-old submarine reliever. “When I started in 2006, I didn’t know if I was good enough to compete in MLB, but I was determined to keep going until someone told me otherwise. I hope anyone out there who does things a little different can find inspiration in my story.”
O’Day went undrafted after a solid NCAA tenure at the University of Florida, but he quickly latched on with the Angels and made his MLB debut with that organization in 2008. He wound up pitching for six total teams — Angels, Mets, Rangers, Orioles, Braves and Yankees — during his impressive 15-year major league career and will hang up his cleats having registered a collective 2.59 ERA with 637 strikeouts, 166 holds and 21 saves in 609 frames at baseball’s highest level. Baseball-Reference has his final career earnings wrapping up just shy of $50MM.
O’Day’s best year on the mound was 2015, when he earned his lone All-Star nod and delivered an overall 1.52 ERA and 82 strikeouts (with only 14 walks) in 65 1/3 innings for the O’s, who then signed him to a four-year, $31MM contract the following winter. The unconventional right-hander was obviously far more than just a one-hit-wonder given how long he lasted in the bigs and how many different clubs saw him as a fit for their respective bullpen mixes along the way. Between the 2009-2021 campaigns, he posted a 2.37 ERA in 586 appearances and collected 21 saves. He also logged 30 postseason appearances in that timeframe, including four in the World Series in 2010 with the Rangers.
O’Day signed a minor league contract with the Braves last winter and put up a 4.15 ERA and 26-to-10 K/BB ratio across 21 2/3 innings in the first half of the 2022 regular season. He suffered a calf injury just before the All-Star break and then a season-ending sprain of his right big toe in September. His last pitch as a major leaguer came on July 11 against the Mets.
MLBTR wishes O’Day well in the next chapter of his life.
O’Day, Brach and Britton were shut down for the O’s in their last heyday. If you weren’t winning by the end of the 6th, the game was over. Darren may have been unconventional in his delivery, but you couldn’t argue with the results.
Good luck in the next chapter in life.
Very true. I remember that one year in particular they had just a ridiculous winning % in 1-run games. If the O’s had the lead heading to the 7th, the other team might as well pack it in.
They were even able to convert Matusz to a halfway decent reliever after he didn’t make it as a starter. Not quite the success story as Britton but they were able to make something out of nothing there to fill out the back of the ‘pen.
That was 2012 with Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day and Jim Johnson. They were filthy. They actually hold the MLB record for best winning % in one run games with a record of 29-9.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Too bad, it still looked like he had a little “Punch” left in his Punch & Judy act.
This is a little surprising to me even though most people wouldn’t find it that way. I watch a lot of MLB related interviews on YouTube and one of the recent ones mentioned O’Day. It was an interview on a show called “755 is Real.” It’s a podcast hosted by Braves The Athletic writer David O’Brien and former Braves lefty relief pitcher Eric O’Flaherty. For those who don’t remember O’Flaherty he was part of that 3-headed monster at the end of the Braves bullpen everyone nicknamed O’Vembril because they all had closer stuff and ERA’s in 1’s and made sure the game was over in the 6th. The only reason Eric O’Flaherty was pitching the 7th instead of closing was because Venters was peaking and even better than him. The only reason Venters was pitching as the setup man in the 8th was for obvious reasons. Craig Kimbrel had the closer job locked up as the best relief pitcher in all of baseball. So if you get a chance to look up “755 Is Real” I would recommend it because O’Flaherty is great and David O’Brien is even better at taking baseball as a journalist.
The reason I brought them up was because on a recent episode they had Alex Anthopolus as the guest and they asked him about O’Day. AA said they had talks and would love to have him back. According to AA “O’Day knows that he always has a standing offer to rejoin the Braves any time he wants.” So O’Day isn’t retiring out of lack of interest from other teams. He just feels it’s time to hang it up. That may not be surprising to a lot of people but most players will stick around as long as someone will pay them too.
I would suggest any big fan of baseball in general like myself, or especially any Braves fans who like podcasts try watching that “755 Is Real” podcast. Start out with the Alex Anthopolous one because it is the most reason and that guy talks for almost 2 hours straight so you really get a view of where the direction of the team is heading in that episode.
Lastly, I would like to say that Darren O’Day is easily the best non-closer relief pitcher of all time bar-none. I friendly challenge anyone reading this to show me a better career relief pitcher with less than 22 saves who was or is better than O’Day. For reference, Kimbrel just had a disappointing year. The worst year of his career. Kimbrel still got more saves this year alone than O’Day has his entire career. So I would love if someone showed me a better relief pitcher than O’Day who has less career saves than Kimbrel got in 2022 alone.
Man… Between O’Day, O’Flaherty, O’Brien and O’Vembril I might have just accidentally broken the record for the most O’ names typed. Who can count for me!?
Angels really blew it by letting him go. I continued to root for him.
Happy trails. Great career.
Yep. I totally feel the same way.
HalosHeavenJJ – Him and Kole Calhoun both around the same time where minor leaguers that just played consistently better than their prospect level. I always thought they should have gotten more prospect love. I was so frustrated when they let him go. Plus, I had a good memory of him with the Angels. We had a team walking the field for little league day and he was stretching on the grass and walked over to talk to us.
That’s cool. I love stories like that.
Called it an O’Day….
Lol beat me to it fam
Congrats on a great career. I will always remember the great athleticism you showed making that stretch at first base! More than anything I’ll remember the interview you and Will Smith did after that with Kelly Crull. Legendary!
Bauer? But I Hardly Know Her!
Hi nickname is Odachowski. Anyone know why?
I guess if a guy already has a short name, you need to give him a long nickname?
@Bauer? and kellin:
It’s a very cool story. Lots of articles about it but I will just post the twitter video of him explaining it. There is no Twitter account needed because I don’t have one and i can still watch the video explaining it from O’Day himself. It has nothing to do with a short name/long nickname. It’s kind of a heartwarming story so check it out from Darren himself in video.
Steve Nebraska – Thanks for the post. It really was a good story.
He made such a big difference for a young team like the Braves. He had a great career on and if he chooses will be a hell of a coach. Really appreciate the larger than life personality. If you were the person in charge of the buffet table he may not have been your favorite but I’m sure you will always remember him like the rest of us. Congratulations.
Congrats to O’Day on what turned out to be a great career. Got to meet him once at an O’s fan event and he seemed like a really cool and personable dude. Could tell he was a hard worker too and his lengthy career stands as a testament of that.
Somewhat of an unsung hero too. His career numbers put him right up there with the greats like Chapman and Kimbrel but never got the same sort of recognition due to not being a closer.
He was better than Chapman
Bearded Texas Hulk
I loved him on the Rangers and knew they would regret trading him!
deGrom Texas Ranger
He was waived and claimed off waivers. That was to clear space for Mark Hamburger. I knew it was a bad move for Texas at the time, and it certainly was one of JD’s worst moves.
Bearded Texas Hulk
@deGrom I’m not sure why I thought he was traded. Yes one of several horrible JD moves.
Orioles bullpen mainstay for what felt like forever. Good luck in retirement
A tip of the Halo to O’Day
This Orioles fan remembers Mr. O’Day very fondly! It was lights out with this guy nearly every time he took the mound. Thanks for the memories, Darren.
I guess he called it and a Day then.
One of the best pitchers who simply dominated every right handed batter (except Jose Bautista lol)
Congrats on a great career.
14yrs on the books, @600ip and 50 million in earnings…
Not a bad gig….Congrats sir!
Looks like he still had something to offer last time he was on the mound. Fine career.
Let’s see if he’ll so a player chat now that he’s retired. : -)
O day used to make fun of himself for his throwing motion.He said he’s done pretty good for a guy who throws like a girl.Filthy stuff great career.
It’s seemed par for the course for this site to congratulate players on a fine career when the numbers warranted it, and they sure do in O’Day’s case. A career .667 W-L%, 2.59 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 and 167 ERA+ over 15 seasons is a great career.
Nice career! I’m always sad to see guys like this, Pat Neshek etc retire since they’re so fun to watch.
O’Day, O’Day, O’Day O’Day O’Day
He was a bouncer at a bar in college and was a walk-on to the baseball team. Always one of my faves.
Solid career. 15 year major league careers are not easy to come by.
I’m not trying to go overboard here, but isn’t it a shame guys like this don’t get HOF consideration? I mean, the only relievers who make it in will have gaudy “saved games” stats. This guy has great career stats, but since he has just a handful of saves, most people would think it preposterous to consider a guy like this for the Hall if Fame. I’m not necessarily saying he SHOULD be in the HOF, I’m just saying that players like this will never even get considered…
deGrom Texas Ranger
Yep. Old thinking obsesses with saves, which will keep elite setup men and other elite closers with bad luck from the HoF. Kimbrel, Chapman, Jansen, Classe, Diaz, Joe Nathan, and many others were elite, but they just didn’t rack up enough saves. It is quite a shame, truly.