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Sunday, May 8, 2005



MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL


art
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mike Fetters, left, officially retired this spring.


Fetters’ body tells
him it’s time

The Iolani graduate called it quits
after 16 years in the majors

Mike Fetters never lacked for enthusiasm or passion or zeal during his 19 seasons in professional baseball.

It was obvious, watching his demonstrative actions on the mound or when television cameras caught him prowling up and down a dugout firing up his teammates.

Fetters will carry that same attitude into his new career as a sports agent for the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander officially retired this spring. He was in the major leagues for 16 years with the CaliforniaŽAnaheim Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins.

"I've run out of bullets. I trained all winter, but three weeks before spring training, my arm was killing me again. I knew it wasn't going to work and I bowed out gracefully," said Fetters in a telephone interview from his Arizona home.

"Your body tells you when it is time. Everything felt great except my arm, and that's how I made my money."

The Iolani graduate had Tommy John surgery after appearing in five games for the Twins in 2003 and made a 23-game comeback in his second stint with the Diamondbacks last year, but this spring he realized it was time to move on.

"I got interested in the business part of baseball about the middle part of my career, and the people at the Beverly Hills Sports Council who represented me since 1986 knew I was interested," said Fetters.

"When I retired, they asked me if I still wanted to do it. It is a business I have to learn. It is something I thought might be easy, but it is hard work. I had no idea they did so much for the players (they represent)."

The Beverly Hills Sports Council represents a number of players from Hawaii, including Benny Agbayani, Brandon League and Jerome Williams.

"My goal someday is to have a certain number of players under my wing. Right now I'm taking baby steps," Fetters said. "I just hope I'm as successful in my new career as I was as a pitcher."

Fetters did it all on the mound -- starter early in his career, then closer and, finally, setup man. In 1996 he set a Milwaukee record (since eclipsed) for saves by a right-hander with 32.

He appeared in 620 major league games, pitched 717 innings, had a 3.86 ERA and a 31-41 record with 100 saves.

"The biggest thing I'm proud of is my longevity, to be part of 16 years in the majors like I did. I got to the playoffs twice and participated once," said Fetters. "What is weird is the years went by so fast and it seemed to get quicker and quicker at the end. It was a fun run.

"I enjoyed every aspect of the game. It sounds strange to be done at 40 -- that's ancient in baseball terms -- but I still have my whole life ahead of me.

"People ask me if I'll miss it. I tell them it would be tougher if I could still play, but I can't because of the injury and that makes it easier to deal with."

His only disappointment was never getting to the World Series. He pitched 2/3 of an inning against the Cardinals in the 2002 National League playoffs while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but surgery sidelined him in 2003 when the Twins were in the playoffs.

"You play as a kid because you dream of playing in the majors under the lights in front of all the fans in the stadium. Coming from Ewa Beach, that is pretty special," said Fetters.

"To play at the highest level for as long as I did was awesome. Only 750 guys, a minute amount of people, get to put a major league uniform on every day. There is a lot of heartache, hard work and a lot of good times."

Fetters, who grew up a Dodgers fan, said it was special to wear their uniform for a year and a half. He was drafted by the Dodgers as an Iolani senior, but did not sign, opting to attend Pepperdine, where he starred for three seasons.


Mike Fetters' career statistics

Height: 6-4. Weight: 225. Throws: Right. Bats: Right. Schools: Iolani, Pepperdine
Year, Team, League G IP W L Pct. H ER BB SO ERA
1989-California, American 1 3 1/3 0 0 .000 5 3 1 4 8.10
1990-California, American 26 67 2/3 1 1 .500 77 31 20 35 4.12
1991-California, America 19 44 2/3 2 5 .286 53 24 28 24 4.84
1992-Milwaukee, American 50 62 2/3 5 1 .833 38 13 24 43 1.87
1993-Milwaukee, American 45 59 1/3 3 3 .500 59 22 22 23 3.34
1994-Milwaukee, American 42 46 1 4 .200 41 13 27 31 2.54
1995-Milwaukee, American 40 34 2/3 0 3 .000 40 13 20 33 3.38
1996-Milwaukee, American 61 61 1/3 3 3 .500 65 23 26 53 3.38
1997-Milwaukee, American 51 70 1/3 1 5 .167 62 27 33 62 3.47
1998-Oakland, American 48 47 1/3 1 6 .143 48 21 21 34 3.99
1998-Anaheim, American 12 11 1/3 1 2 .333 14 7 4 9 5.56
1999-Baltimore, America 27 31 1 0 1.000 35 20 22 22 6.10
2000-Los Angeles, National 51 50 6 2 .750 35 18 25 40 3.24
2001-Los Angeles, National 34 29 2/3 2 1 .667 33 20 13 26 6.07
2001-Pittsburgh, National 20 17 2/3 1 1 .500 16 9 13 11 4.58
2002-Pittsburgh, National 32 30 1 0 1.000 25 11 18 29 3.26
2002-Arizona, National 33 25 2 3 .400 28 14 19 24 5.40
2003-Minnesota, American 5 6 0 0 .000 2 0 1 1 0.00
2004-Arizona, National 23 19 0 1 .000 23 18 14 14 8.68
Totals 620 717 1/3 31 41 .431 699 307 351 518 3.86



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