First, Brendan Donnelly. Now Scot Shields. The only three remaining active pitchers from the 2002 Anaheim Angels' staff are John Lackey, Francisco Rodriguez, and Scott Schoeneweis, and Scott Schoeneweis doesn't have a job. One by one, they're dropping out.
As with Donnelly, Shields' retirement announcement doesn't come as much of a surprise, because it was easy to forget that he was still active. Over the last two years, Shields posted a 5.65 ERA in 63 games while struggling with knee and elbow problems. He wasn't himself, or anywhere close, and at 35 he didn't have anything left to offer.
But looking back, Shields was an impressive reliever from the day he arrived in the bigs all the way through the 2008 season. Shields made his Major League debut on May 26th, 2001. Over his next 428 appearances, spanning 633.1 innings, he posted a 2.93 ERA. Between 2001-2008, 196 Major League pitchers threw at least 500 innings, and Shields' ERA ranked fourth, between Johan Santana and John Smoltz. Obviously it isn't quite fair to put relievers and starters in the same pool. But no matter what you do, the message is the same - Shields was dominant, and he was dominant for a very long time.
That he threw well in the playoffs doesn't hurt, either. Shields' Angels lost four of the six series in which he made an appearance, but that wasn't his fault, as he whiffed a batter an inning.
Now Shields has walked away after 14 years with the Angels organization. He's actually second in franchise history in appearances, between Troy Percival and Chuck Finley. Between the retired Shields, Donnelly, and Garret Anderson, there wasn't a lot of hope for continued success. But those three players represent a lot of good times and great achievements for the city of Anaheim, and Angels fans will take yet another opportunity to thank a former standout for all the memories.