Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Kirk Rueter called it a career on Monday, March 6th, 2006. With a career record of 130-92 and a career ERA of 4.27, Rueter said “I'm a full-time husband and a full-time father now.”
Rueter joined the Giants from the Montreal Expos in the middle of the 1996 season, and stayed with the Giants for 10 years, before being designated for assignment in late 2005. He won 105 games with the Giants, passing Mike McCormick for the title of winningest southpaw in the history of the San Francisco Giants.
Known affectionately as ‘Woody,’ after his resemblance to the happy-go-lucky cowboy in Disney’s “Toy Story” films, Rueter charmed San Francisco fans with consistent results despite often being ridiculed for having below-average ‘stuff.’ He won games with control and guile, and did it consistently for the Giants, posting 7 consecutive winning seasons from 1997 through 2003.
Rueter had signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in the offseason, his favorite team as a child, in hopes of continuing his career, but had second thoughts as the spring began. "It was a great run for me, and I don't consider myself anything but a Giant,"
With the Giants, Rueter was on the mound for key games for 3 division champions and started Game 4 of the 2002 World Series against the then-Anaheim Angels and a relief stint in Game 7. "I started Game 4 in San Francisco. As a kid, everyone dreams of that,” Rueter said regarding some of his career highlights. He also started the first ever game at AT&T Park, and pitched key games throughout his career, including a stirring victory at home in the 2002 NL Championship Series against the Cardinals, and the first game of a late-season two game series sweep against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, a sweep that put them tied for first in the NL West and a series most often regarded as a turning point for a franchise that has been a playoff contender nearly every season since.
General Manager Brian Sabean had words of praise for him. "When he went out to pitch, everyone felt it was a win day," Sabean said. "The guys liked playing behind him. His record is evidence that he had more talent than he was given credit for."
Sabean plans to give him his due credit, as the team plans to honor Rueter with a special day at AT&T Park sometime during the 2006 season.
Until then, Rueter plans to enjoy time with his family. "I love baseball,” he says. “The Giants have been unbelievably good to me. I'm going to miss the fifth day, but I won't miss the road trips and being away from my family."
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