Calling it quits
Indians' Fryman announces retirement plans in DetroitPosted: Wednesday August 28, 2002 5:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday August 28, 2002 9:03 PM
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Indians third baseman Travis Fryman, who has struggled most of the year following offseason shoulder surgery, announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the season.
Fryman decided to make the announcement now because a strike could make Wednesday night's game his last. He also thought the timing was appropriate because the Indians were playing Detroit, where he started his career and spent eight seasons.
"I've always considered myself a blue-collar type of player and an overachiever. I only hope that people thought I gave my best effort out there," he said.
The players' association is set to strike Friday unless it has an agreement for a labor contract, and the Indians are off on Thursday.
Fryman, 33, said he talked to former Indians general manager John Hart about retiring as early as last season.
"If I was not able to play at an acceptable level, I would walk away," he said.
The 13-year veteran spent time on the disabled list this season because of inflammation in his right shoulder, the one that required surgery.
Fryman was hitting .214 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs entering Wednesday night's game, with a career average of .274 with 221 homers and 1,014 RBIs.
"This season has been really long, but the 13 years went by really fast," Fryman said.
The five-time All-Star's productivity took a nosedive in 2001 due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. Fryman played through the pain, but compensating for the elbow helped lead to his shoulder injury.
He played in 98 games and batted .263 with three home runs last year after posting the best numbers of his career in the 2000 season, including highs in batting average (.321), hits (184) and RBIs (106). He also had a 60-game errorless streak and won his first Gold Glove.
"Three of the worst years of my career have been here and two of my best," Fryman said.
Fryman came to the Indians in 1998 for Matt Williams after he was briefly on the roster of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks.
"We've loved him since the day he got here," Indians first baseman Jim Thome said. "He's been like a dad to us."
Thome said people don't understand how frustrating the year has been for Fryman.
"When you play at such a high level for so long and then you can't, and that's a point we'll all get to, well it's sad and frustrating," Thome said.
Fryman appeared in the postseason with the Indians in 1998, 1999 and 2001. The closest he got to a World Series was in 1998 when the Indians lost to New York 4-2 in the American League Championship Series.
Fryman said his dream was to play his entire career with the Tigers like Alan Trammell and Al Kaline.
"Travis was a great leader and a great talent," Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell said. "The Tigers should have never let him go. He's one of those true team players."
Harwell, retiring after 42 seasons with the Tigers and 55 years calling major league baseball games, received a special presentation from Fryman before Wednesday night's game, which could be his last as well.
Fryman said he may work with Indians infielders during spring training next season, but has no immediate plans to coach.
He said retirement will allow him to spend more time with his family in Molino, Fla. He and his wife, Kathleen, have three boys, ages 6, 4 and 1.
"I've got three sons, so there's no chance of me getting away from baseball," Fryman said.