Left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, a veteran of parts of 15 seasons, announced his retirement from Major League Baseball last week during an appearance with Jessica Lindberg on the Heart Strong Podcast.
Happ, 39 years old, told Lindberg that he had continued to work out over the offseason in case he felt the itch to continue playing. Once Opening Day arrived, however, he realized that he was prepared to move forward and prioritize his family.
Here's part of Happ's explanation, according to MLB Trade Rumors:
"Even though I had put the work in to be ready if the right situation came, I felt like it was time to move on and be a dad and dive into the kids. … It was emotional — something I didn't expect. I called my agent that day, right after we turned that game on, and said, 'I think this is it.' I told the people I feel like I needed to tell. I think I'm still processing it, but I do wake up feeling good about it, and I'm happy to start the process of being a full-time dad, for the time being, at the very least."
Happ, 39 years old, pitched for eight teams during his career, including most recently the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent at least parts of three seasons with four clubs: the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom he accrued the most time.
Happ made 354 big-league appearances overall, with 328 of those coming in a starting capacity. He accumulated a 4.13 ERA (100 ERA+), a 2.49 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 21 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference's calculations.
Happ never won any individual hardware, though he did finish second in Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2009 and he later received downballot Cy Young Award consideration in 2016. He did make an All-Star Game, with that coming during the 2018 season. He also was part of the Phillies' 2008 World Series championship club, albeit in a limited capacity. He played a larger role the subsequent fall in a losing effort against the Yankees.