TEMPE, AZ – Scot Shields, selected by Sports Illustrated as the “setup man of the decade” for 2000-2009, Friday announced his retirement following a distinguished Major League career with the Angels. In doing so, Shields is only the third player in club history to have played in 10-or-more seasons with the Angels (appearing in at least one game a season) and not play for any other team in his career. Shields released the following statement:
“I am very thankful to have had the privilege and opportunity to play this great game at the Major League level. I retire with memories and experiences I will carry with me the rest of my life and for that I am extremely grateful. I would like to thank my wife Jaimie, my daughters Kayla and Ella, and my family and friends for their love and support. I would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Angels organization for giving me a chance when they drafted me in 1997. Also, my thanks belong to Mr. & Mrs. Moreno, Tony Reagins, and Bill Stoneman. My respect and thanks as well to all those who helped me along the way, especially Mike Scioscia, Mike Butcher, Buddy Black and the entire front office.”
“I do not think it’s possible to express my respect and admiration for so many teammates I had the privilege to play with through the years. The lifetime friendships created are one of the great rewards of my career.”
”The Angels are a first-class organization and I am proud to have been an Angel for my entire career. At the same time, I remain humbled and thankful to all of the Angel fans who supported me through the years. That relationship will long remain one of my fondest memories as a Major League player.”
“Scot was a huge part of our success over the course of his career here,” said Angels Manager Mike Scioscia. “He definitely understood the challenge of pitching late in games and in doing so, became the best set-up man in baseball. He will always be part of our family.”
“Scot’s contributions to our organization are self-explanatory,” said Angels General Manager Tony Reagins. “He was durable, dependable and dedicated. I know he wore the Angels uniform with a great sense of pride each and every day throughout the course of his career. I know Scot is looking forward to spending time with Jaimie, Kayla and Ella. We wish he and his family the very best.
Born July 22, 1975 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Shields attended Fort Lauderdale High School and later spent his collegiate career at Lincoln Memorial University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology. Shields would go on to play his entire career with the Angels after being drafted in the 38thth player overall) in the 1997 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. round (1,137
In all or parts of 10 seasons, Shields finished with a 46-44 record and 3.18 ERA (697 IP – 246 ER) in 491 career games. He also recorded 631 lifetime strikeouts, or an average of 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Since the “hold” stat was created in 1999, Shields holds the American League career record in that category with 155. Mike Remlinger (Atlanta, Chicago Cubs) holds the National League mark with 140, while Arthur Rhodes owns the major league mark with 215. From 2006-2008, he led the A.L. in holds with 31 per season.
Shields began his professional career as a reliever with Boise (short Single-A) in 1997, posting a 7-2 record with 61 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched while leading the circuit with 30 games. He remained in the bullpen the following season at Cedar Rapids (Single-A) prior to splitting his time a year later with Lake Elsinore (Single-A) and Erie (Double-A). Selected as the Angels Minor League “Pitcher of the Year” in 1999, the Northville, MI resident registered 182 innings pitched along with three complete games and a pair of shutouts. In addition, he fanned a combined 194 in those innings.
His standout campaign in 1999 earned him a promotion to Edmonton (Triple-A) in 2000 where he struggled with a 7-13 record in 27 starts, despite fanning 156 in 163 innings. A year later he began the season again at the Triple-A level with Salt Lake City, prior to his first recall to the Major Leagues on May 25, 2001. The following day he made his major league debut against Tampa Bay (1+ IP, 1 H, 1 BB).
Though he began 2002 with Salt Lake City, Shields was recalled to the major leagues for good on June 14. In his final 38 relief appearances, he allowed seven earned runs, while allowing opponents just a .176 average, best in the circuit. The final member of the 2002 World Championship team to play in an Angels uniform, Shields made one appearance during the Angels memorable October run, pitching in Game Five of the World Series.
In 2003 he appeared in 44 games, 13 of those starts. Out of the bullpen, Shields posted a 1.68 ERA, working at least three innings 12 times. Though he was 4-6 wi6th a 3.89 ERA as a starter, pitching at least seven innings in six of his 13 starts, he finished the season with an overall record of 5-6 and a 2.85 ERA.
The decision was made for him to return to the bullpen on a full-time basis in 2004. During a five-year stretch from 2004-2008, Shields would average 69 appearances, 85 innings pitched and 86 strikeouts. From May 9 to June 11, 2004, he recorded 22 consecutive shutout innings, and worked three scoreless innings five times during the season. That same campaign saw he and closer Francisco Rodriguez become the first pair of relievers to post 100-or-more strikeouts in the same season since 1997.
Shields retires as the Angels’ all-time leader in relief victories (46) and ranks second in appearances (491) behind former teammate Troy Percival (579). He also holds the record for most appearances in a single-season, pitching in 78 games in 2005.