A 2007 second round pick by the Washington Nationals out of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Jordan Zimmermann debuted in the majors in 2009, and made 178 starts for the Nationals in seven big league seasons before he departed via free agency and signed a 5-year/$110M deal with the Detroit Tigers in 2015.
Zimmermann finished his time in the nation’s capital with a 3.32 ERA, a 3.40 FIP, 221 walks, and 903 strikeouts, with his most memorable start for the club a September 28, 2014 turn in the rotation in which he tossed the first no-hitter in Nationals’ franchise history (2005-present).
The now-34-year-old pitcher pointed to that game as the highlight of his career when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday, after announcing his retirement from the game.
“I guess the thing that stands out the most would be the no-hitter in D.C.,” Zimmermann told a reporter who asked what moment stood out as the highlight from his 13-year career.
“That was a pretty cool thing and a pretty big accomplishment,” he added.
“Obviously making it to the playoffs a few times with D.C. was also great, but definitely the no-hitter.”
Six years after that game, and 15 years after he was drafted, Zimmermann decided that he reached the end.
“I just felt like after 15 years of playing ball my mind was still in it but my body wasn’t,” he explained.
“And living out of suitcases half the year ... I felt like it was the right thing to do at this time to call it a career and I’m happy to start the next chapter of my life.”
So what’s next?
“Kick my feet up for a few days, and then I’ll go from there I guess,” he said with a laugh.
When it came to a question about his time in Detroit, however, where he struggled with a string of injuries and made just 97 starts total over five seasons with the Tigers, putting a 5.63 ERA and a 4.83 FIP up in 514 1⁄3 IP in those outings, Zimmermann choked up.
“I wish I would have stayed healthy,” he said, before his emotions overwhelmed him. “Body just wasn’t holding up.”
Zimmermann said he had been prepared to walk away from the game this winter, but one of the teams he said he’d consider playing for called.
“I was honestly set this offseason to walk away, and then the Brewers called, and that was one of a couple teams that I was going to sign with if they did call,” the Auburndale, Wisconsin-born pitcher said of signing in Milwaukee.
Getting to pitch for and end his career with the Brewers was special, but he said his time in D.C. held a special place when he looked back on what he accomplished.
We'll never forget the reaction to his no-hitter!— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) May 11, 2021
Congratulations to Jordan Zimmermann on his retirement. pic.twitter.com/PnVNIS3JLT
“Yeah, for sure, the first six or seven years that I was there kind of put me on the map and got my career going. I remember getting there, the first couple years we were losing 100 games, and to be able to turn that around and have some winning ballclubs and going to the playoffs a few times is something I’ll never forget.”
The thing he’s proudest of from his 13 seasons in the majors?
“I guess my proudest thing would be I was a small town kid, went to a Division III school, and made it to the big leagues,” Zimmermann said.
“That’s tough to do. So, that’s probably the biggest thing.”