New York Mets
Sid Fernandez announced his retirement from
major league baseball before today's game.

Sid quits

Injuries put an end to his 15-year career

By Bill Kwon

Sid Fernandez announced his retirement today, ending a 15-year major league career that included appearances in the 1986 World Series with the world champion New York Mets and two All-Star games.

Fittingly, Fernandez made his announcement before today's game at the Houston Astrodome between his last team, the Astros, and the New York Mets with whom he had his best years in the majors.

Fernandez, who had surgery on his ailing left elbow in May, pitched in only one game this season for the Astros, beating the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-2, on April 5 with a five-inning effort in the 300th start of his major-league career. It turned out to be his last.

He was sent down to the Astros' Triple-A American Association team in New Orleans for rehabilitation but pitched only 8-1/3 innings with a 0-1 record and a 4.32 earned run average.

Fernandez had a major league record of 114 victories and 96 losses with a career 3.36 ERA. His best season came in 1986, when he posted a 16-6 record with 200 strikeouts in 2041/3 innings.

Associated Press
Fernandez's career record included 114 victories
and 96 losses with a 3.36 ERA.

He was instrumental in the 1986 World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox, pitching in relief in three games, striking out 10 batters in 6-2/3 innings.

Known as "El Sid," he posted 4-11 records for the Mets and had a high strikeout per inning ratio. He was one of the all-time National League leaders in allowing the fewest hits per game.

In 10 years with the Mets, National League hitters hit only .204 off him.

Twice he led the majors in fewest hits per nine innings (1985 and 1988). Three times he ranked first or second in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings (1985, 1988 and 1992).

From 1985 through 1990 with the Mets, Fernandez struck out 1,082 batters in 1,1161/3 innings.

He had a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on July 14, 1989.

The former Kaiser star was signed out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981.

It was Tommy Lasorda, then the Dodgers' manager, who gave Fernandez uniform No. 50, which he wore throughout his major-league career.

It was for "Hawaii 5-0," Lasorda explained.

But Fernandez pitched only two games for the Dodgers before being traded to the Mets in 1983 for two players, including another pitcher from Hawaii, Carlos Diaz.

He played 10 years for the Mets before signing a free-agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles in 1993. His three-year, $9-million contract made him the highest-paid native athlete from Hawaii.

Associated Press
Fernandez spent two years with the Baltimore
Orioles, then was traded to the Houston Astros.

However, the Orioles released the left-hander after two years when he posted a disappointing 6-10 record, including an 0-4 start in the 1995 season. He was placed on the disabled list during both seasons with Baltimore, which bought him out for $2 million.

Fernandez, who will be 35 on Oct. 12, was picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies and finished the season with a 6-1 record, earning National League pitcher of the month honors in August when he won five straight games. In 1996, he was the Phillies' opening-day pitcher -- a career first for him. But injuries proved a bugaboo again and he finished the season with a 3-6 record.

The Astros signed him as a free-agent for the 1997 season with the hopes of bolstering their pitching staff. But recurring arm trouble kept him on the disabled list. He was sent to New Orleans for rehab, but it proved unsuccessful, leading to the announcement of his retirement today.

During spring training, Fernandez had complained of pain in his throwing elbow and had considered retirement then.

"It's hard to walk away from that (the money), but it's not about money anymore," he said at the time.

Throughout his career, weight was pointed out as one of the main troubles for the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder. But nobody complained how heavy I was when I was winning, he countered.

Most of his trips to the disabled list in the injury-shortened last four years were the result of a knee injury he suffered while covering first base in 1993. This time, though, it was his ailing left elbow that proved too much for him.

Fernandez and his wife, Noelani, were beset with personal problems last year when her father, Don Mike Gillis, was shot to death.

The Fernandezes have established a Sid Fernandez Foundation that annually awards four $5,000 college scholarships to deserving seniors from their high school alma mater, Kaiser.

By Dean Sensui, Star-Bulletin

Career highlights

No-hitter in first start for Kaiser, 1980
Pitches Moiliili to American Legion World Series title, 1980
Drafted by Los Angeles Dodgers, 1980
Wins World Series ring with Mets, 1986
Pitches in 1986 and 1987 All-Star games
Signs with Baltimore Orioles, 1993
Career record 114-96

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