Former Titan Washburn mulls baseball retirement
Published: Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 23:05
World Series champion and UW-Oshkosh alumnus Jarrod Washburn added another accomplishment to the already impressive list as he was inducted into the UW-Oshkosh Hall of Fame on Sunday night at Reeve Memorial Union.
Basketball standout Shelley Dietz and soccer stars Ian Martin and Mark Pawlyshyn were the other former Titans joining Washburn into the Hall of Fame.
Washburn pitched for the Titans baseball team and was drafted by the California Angels in 1995.
He went on to finish fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting and won a World Series ring while with the Anaheim Angels in 2002.
Before the induction banquet, Advance-Titan sports report Jeremy Ott sat down for a one-on-one interview with the pitcher in which Washburn said he feels honored to be chosen for the Titans Hall of Fame. The pitcher, who is currently a free agent, said he is retiring from the game, but will leave the door open for a possible midseason return.
Jeremy Ott: "What does it mean to you for your former college to recognize all of your achievements and induct you into their Hall of Fame?"
Jarrod Washburn: It's pretty special, you know, it's just one of those things where I don't really think of myself a lot, you know. I know that something like that is not possible without a ton of people that have helped me along the way. I look at it as I'm not sure what the criteria is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame but I know when I was in college there was a lot of guys on the team who did more in college than I did, so maybe it had something to do with what I did after. It's still an honor to be elected and it's a proud moment for me."
JO: "So this is your 13th year in the MLB, correct?"
JW: "Yeah, something like that."
JO: "Where do you consider your career to be at this point?"
JW: "Oh, I'm retiring right now."
JO: "Are you really?"
JO: "Have there not been offers?"
JW: "Oh, there has been lots of offers."
JO: "You turned them all down?"
JW: "Yeah. Yup, I'm going to stay home with my family and go fishing."
JO: "What if the Brewers made an offer—you don't want to finish your career in the home state? You know a lot of fans like the idea of a homegrown player."
JW: "I mean, I'm not totally shutting the door. If something happens midway through the season, maybe my thoughts will change then. Right now I'm just enjoying my life at home and being home for the first spring in a long time. I'm enjoying my time with my family, and I'm happy with it."
JO: "Do you really want to retire or have you just not gotten the right offers?"
JW: "No, there was a point this offseason when I wasn't sure which way I wanted to go. If I would have got an offer from this team or that team I would have taken it at the time. But since then, you know, I've kind of leaned towards ‘I think it's time to just stay home and be with my family.' Financially I'm set, you know. I don't have any worries there, so I don't need to play for the money anymore. At this point in my career the last couple offers I had, if they were great offers, if I would have accepted them it would have just been for the money. I didn't want to do that; I don't think it's right to play just for money, so I turned it down. I'm happy right now with where I'm at, at home."
JO: "So what teams did make offers?"
JW: "Quite a few of them. A lot of teams made offers."
JO: "What's the most important thing you learned about baseball here in Oshkosh?"
JW: "I learned how to pitch, that was the most important thing. When I got here I was really raw. In fact my first year I didn't even get to play, I got redshirted. I couldn't really throw strikes and I didn't have good command of the strike zone and (Titans head baseball) coach (Tom) Lechnir worked hard with me and chewed my butt and kept on me. We fine-tuned my mechanics to where I could get to where I could repeat my delivery and get consistent with my delivery and the rest from there kind of took off. I got better command of my fastball, and then he taught me the slider, so I had two pitches. He got me on the map."
JO: "What about something you learned just as a person in college not a player?"
JW: "I don't know if I learned it so much here but the fact of being able to never quit. Work as hard as I could to achieve whatever I want to achieve. You know coach Lechnir did a great job pushing me. I think he knew what I was capable of and he did a great job of staying on me and pushing me and making sure I got everything out of my ability that I was capable of doing. The ability to just not quit and keep fighting through and beat the odds."