The Old Coach Sez

TIME TO QUIT

Congratulations, DALE DECKER. Decker played for the Maple Lake Lakers from 1975 to 1999. What a record he had. He was league ERA winner as a pitcher in 1979, 1980, and 1987. Last month, Decker was elected to the North Star League hall of fame. During his 24-year career, he was voted MVP three times. He was a batting champion many years. What an athlete. Voted the league's most valuable player in 1996, it must have been very hard for such a competitor to quit in 1999, thinking he probably had some good years left. I wish Randy Johnson had the same good sense.

I have in front of me, a September, 2004 newspaper with an article about RANDY JOHNSON. With his 11 strikeouts Wednesday, Randy Johnson became the all-time, left-handed strikeout king. He is now third among all pitchers, trailing only Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, it reads. At the time of that writing, he had thrown 4,139 strikeouts. Johnson has played with four different major league teams. From 1999 to 2005 as an Arizona Diamondback, he won 81 games. He collected the Cy Young award in each of his first four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The highlight of his career with the Diamondbacks came in 2001 when they won the World Series. He pitched 3 games and won them all.

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