Thank You, Stephen Strasburg.

After the Nats loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, the bigger organizational news was the official retirement of Stephen Strasburg being listed on the team's transactions page. This blog is a quick overview and thank you letter to the greatest postseason pitcher in MLB history.
The debut of Stephen Strasburg, where were you?
The debut of Stephen Strasburg, where were you? / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

Per Andrew Golden of the Washington Post yesterday afternoon, Stephen Strasburg has officially retired from Major League Baseball.

For his career, spanning 13 seasons with the Washington Nationals, Strasburg had a career record of 113 wins and 62 losses, with a 3.24 ERA and 1.096 WHIP to go along with it. He was a 3-time All-Star selection, 3-time finisher in the Top 10 of Cy Young voting, Silver Slugger Award winner, and most notably, a World Series MVP and Champion in 2019.

As for his postseason accolades, October was always the time of year in which Strasburg shined the brightest. In 9 career playoff appearances and 8 starts, Strasburg was 6-2 with a 1.46 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. In the 2019 World Series, he went 2-0 in 14.1 innings, including 8.1 innings in Game 6 that kept the season alive and sent the Nats to a Game 7. As for the 2019 playoffs as a whole, he went 5-0 in 6 appearances with 5 starts, and accumulated a 1.98 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, en route to stating his case for the greatest postseason pitcher of all time.

Strasburg will forever be known to me as the biggest "what if" in team history, in that you have to wonder how much greater his career would his career have been if not marred with injuries. Watching his evolution from a powerful and high-velocity pitcher that consistently hit triple digits to a savvy and off-speed dominant pitcher that won with his curveball over the course of his career was a pleasure to watch. It was a true testament to his maturation and growth as a man and baseball player, as it felt like we as fans got to watch him grow up in DC.

If it were up to me, he would have a bust waiting for him in Cooperstown, but admittedly he may have to settle with a Nationals ring of honor tribute and number retirement. However, his career had a plethora of shining moments, many of which I outline in my thank you letter to Stephen Strasburg below:

"Thank You, Stephen Strasburg."

To #37,

First of all, thank you. Thank you for everything that you did for the Washington Nationals organization and fans. You sacrificed everything for this team and franchise, and real fans can recognize that. Your blood, sweat, and tears that you gave to this club will not go unnoticed. You were the one who stayed in DC when you had the chance to leave and will go down with Ryan Zimmerman as a true "National for Life." Undoubtedly, you will have your #37 retired forever one day by the team.

I remember the drama of wondering if we were going to be able to sign the greatest pitching prospect of all time after drafting you #1 overall in 2009, which we did (albeit 77 seconds before the deadline), as you came up clutch for the organization for the first time, which would ultimately become a habit of yours over your 13-year career with the Nationals.

I still remember being a 9-year-old kid watching your first ever MLB start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 on TV. I stood with the rest of the fans when you would get Pirate hitters down to 2 strikes, and would clap along with them after you struck out one of the fourteen hitters you sat down on strikes that night. It felt as if I was there, immersed in the electric environment of Nationals Park as you diced through that lineup. You didn't know it at the time, but you provided a franchise and fanbase that needed you a lot more than you needed them with a true flame that ignited a hope for the future of baseball in the Nation's Capital.

I remember getting the "National Treasure" Sports Illustrated cover with you on the front of it in the mail in the summer of 2010 (which I still own to this day), and telling myself to cherish it, as it was going to be one that I looked back upon fondly one day.

I remember turning on any sports media show in the 2012 season, and everyone and their mother having an opinion about whether or not we should shut you down for the season (I still believe it was the right move). The situation got so large and highly debated that even the then President of the United States had to get involved on the discussion.

I remember watching you save our season in Game 4 in 2017, striking out 12 Cubs over 8 innings to force a Game 5, which of course we lost and broke everyone's hearts. You struck out 22 batters over 14 dominant innings and somehow still only finished 1-1 in that NLDS despite not allowing an earned run.

I remember you coming out of the bullpen against the Brewers in the Wild Card game in 2019, pitching 3 shutout innings as the first part of possibly the greatest single postseason run in MLB history.

I remember you winning the World Series MVP in 2019, putting together a pair of incredible starts that we won, and saving our season in Game 6 to force a final game before Howie went "Bang Zoom!" off the right field foul pole to give us our first title in franchise history.

I remember the sorrow I felt for you in 2022, as you had finally battled all the way back from yet another injury, only to walk off that mound in Miami, and not know it would be the final time you stepped on a mound in the MLB.

Finally, I again wanted to say thanks to you, Stephen, or providing me with a lifetime of memories that I will cherish for my entire life. Congratulations on a truly outstanding career. From that first start until your last, you inspired a 9-year-old kid from Northern Virginia to have a love and passion for a baseball team and organization that has led me to have the opportunity to dedicate this blog to you. You fought back from so many injuries and ailments until your body finally couldn't fight back anymore, and for that I am forever grateful. You truly gave everything you had for that ring in 2019, and for that, you've earned every single dime. You did what every single coach in the world would love for their ballplayers to do: you left it all on the field.

Thank you, Stephen Strasburg. I wish you nothing but joy, success, happiness, and a lifetime of good memories in your retirement.


Bennett Lehmann

What is your favorite Stephen Strasburg memory? Let me know on X @DCBerk.

All stats in this article were provided by Baseball Reference.