Tuesday marked the end of an era for Twins fans when Brad Radke officially announced his retirement.
Radke has long been the face of the Twins organization and a pillar in an often unstable rotation. His presence guided a young team through lean years and helped anchor the more polished teams the Twins have put on the field in the past five years.
The past two seasons Radke endured pain in his pitching shoulder but continued to pitch through the pain. The pain is a torn labrum. Radke also developed a stress fracture in the joint which added to the pain. Surgery would have been required to continue, and he wasn't interested in a lengthy rehabilitation.
Radke may not have Hall of Fame numbers; his career record is 148-139 with a 4.22 ERA and he reached 20 wins only once, in 1997, and his lone All-Star game appearance came in 1998. His statistics, however, aren’t why Radke is such a large part of the Twins organization; it is and always has been his quiet leadership and his contributions in the community.
This past season Radke showed his toughness and his desire to help the team when he dug deep and blocked out the pain to go on an amazing run from June through September, where he went 8-3 with a 2.68 ERA in 17 starts.
Twins fans everywhere can appreciate what a momentous decision this is as Radke was one of the few remaining holdovers from the Tom Kelly era and has been the one constant for this team for the past 12 seasons.
Radke’s presence in the clubhouse, on the field and in the community will be missed—not only by the Twins organization, but by his thousands of fans as well.