Mike Hampton Retires, Fire Burns But Body Fails

38-year-old veteran pitcher Mike Hampton retired Saturday, bringing a 16-year career in the major leagues to an end. The lefty played for six different teams after being drafted in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners. Most recently, he signed a minor-league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks last August . 

Asked about his decision on Saturday, Hampton responded, "I just knew it was time. The fire is there and the passion will always be there, but physically it was just time to shut it down. My career as a whole has been a blessing and I really believe that baseball gave me everything I could ever want and need. I put my heart and soul into the game and it reward me very well for it. It is both a sad and joyous day because when you finally say you're done, it is tough at first. But as time goes on, I will be able to reminisce and think about it more positively."

The lefty leaves Major League Baseball with a career record of 148-115 and a 4.06 ERA in 419 games (355 starts). He experienced his best year in 1999 with the Houston Astros, when he led the league with 22 wins. Moving from the Astros to the New York Mets to the Colorado Rockies, Hampton started in at least 30 games for seven straight seasons from 1997-2003. The two-time All-Star has had health issues since then though, undergoing elbow surgery in 2005 and 2007 as well as rotary cuff surgery in 2009.

Hampton leaves baseball with several distinguished accomplishments. He won five consecutive NL Silver Slugger Awards from 1997-2003 and he became the first pitcher to win the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in the same season in 2003.

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