For now, at least.
Roy Oswalt is one of the best pitchers ever to put on an Astros jersey, particularly the brick-red alternate that Oswalt preferred when he took the mound.
He grew up a Braves fan but idolized Nolan Ryan in Weir, Mississippi. A small town for a pitcher regarded as too small and after pitching at Holmes Community College, he entered the colossal pool of Major League Baseball hopefuls. Only one scout showed much interest, James Farrar from the Houston Astros, who selected the heavily accented country boy in the 23rd round.
Four years later he struck out ten and allowed just two runs over two Olympic Gold Medal winning starts.
The year after he arrived in the show and became a prominent Major League pitcher, finishing in the top five voting for the National League Cy Young award five times — 5th in 2001 as a rookie, 4th in 2002, 3rd in 2004, 4th in 2005 and 4th again in 2006.
In 2005 he was the NLCS MVP, with the Astros eventually falling to the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
Oswalt was a nice add for the Phillies for the 2010 postseason run, but 2011 was a difficult season in Philly. Tornadoes in his hometown caused Roy to take personal leave in April and injuries would dominate his final year in Philadelphia.
In 2012 Roy Oswalt held out for a lucrative contract, which he never received. At 34 he entered the season as a free agent.
Multiple injuries to the Texas Rangers rotation had them calling and Oswalt signed a minor league contract. Sporting his familiar number 44 jersey, Oswalt had an impressive debut for the other Texas team hurling 6.2 innings scattering 9 hits and striking out 6 on 110 pitches. He received a standing ovation from the Arlington crowd as he exited the field.
However, this was not a sign of things to come and the remainder of the 2012 season was a combination of spot starts, long relief appearances and reportedly a clubhouse distraction, seeking more of a consistent turn in the starting rotation.
The Rangers didn’t re-sign Oswalt, but the team he defeated in his Rangers debut, the Colorado Rockies, signed him to a minor league contract on May 2, 2013.
Due to a shortage of arms both young and old but certainly not ineffective, Oswalt would make six starts for the Rockies with his first coming on June 20 against the Washington Nationals. It was another impressive debut with a new team as the former Astros ace struck out 11 batters — albeit over just 5 innings allowing 4 runs on 101 pitches.
In nine outings for the Rockies — six starts — Oswalt accumulated an 8.63 ERA over just 32.1 innings pitched.
So today, at 36, Roy Oswalt announces his retirement. I’m not sold though. If someone comes calling in April, May or June or even later, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he’s stayed in game shape and accepts another minor league deal.