When you faced Jake Peavy you know two things with absolute certainty:
1) He wanted to win more than you did.
2) He was tougher than you were.
Peavy was one of the fiercest competitors ever to step on a big league mound, a throwback to the days of Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson. We use the past tense because Jake, still a fan favorite in San Diego, has decided to officially retire from baseball.
The 37-year-old hasn’t appeared in a game since 2016 with the Giants but had been considering another go at the big leagues.
During his prime with the Padres there were few pitchers in the game as dominant as Peavy. In 2007 he won the Cy Young Award by securing pitching’s Triple Crown (leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA). In the last 20 years the list of pitchers who have done that is awfully impressive:
Justin Verlander – 2011
Clayton Kershaw – 2011
Jake Peavy – 2007
Johan Santana – 2006
Randy Johnson – 2002
Pedro Martinez – 1999
Peavy went to three All-Star Games, two with San Diego. In the mid-2000’s Jake was so highly regarded that he was tabbed to start the first ever World Baseball Classic game for the USA.
Peavy was traded to the White Sox in 2009 and then the injuries started mounting. He was traded to the Red Sox in 2013 and helped Boston win a World Series. The next year he was traded to the Giants and helped San Francisco win a World Series.
But his best work was done with the Friars. Peavy is San Diego’s all-time strikeout leader and ranks in the franchise’s Top 10 in a dozen other categories. It is a guarantee that the Padres will not wait long to induct Peavy to the team’s Hall of Fame. There has even been talk of retiring his number 44, something the author would have absolutely no problem with.