World Series Rays Phillies Baseball

Philadelphia Phillies' Brad Lidge, left, and Carlos Ruiz react after their victory in Game 5 of the baseball World Series in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 to win the series.

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press file photo

The picture hangs above the concourse of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Whenever Phillies fans look at it, they probably smile.

Reliever Brad Lidge is on knees with his arms outstretched. Catcher Carlos Ruiz is charging toward him.

Lidge had just struck out Eric Hinske of the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch the 2008 World Series title. The celebration was about to begin.

The photo is only four years old but Monday it seemed longer than that when Lidge’s agents, Rex Gary and Jim Turner, confirmed the reliever is retiring.

Lidge, 35, finishes with 225 career saves — 37th in baseball history. He appeared in 603 games and was 26-32 with a 3.54 ERA. Lidge was 3-11 with a 3.73 ERA and 100 saves for the Phillies.

Lidge relied on a fastball and slider that hitters often swung and missed at. He stuck out an impressive 11.9 batters per nine innings.

His slider was an especially confounding pitch for hitters. It appeared to be a strike before diving at the last second into the dirt.

Lidge was at his best in 2008. The Phillies acquired Lidge in November 2007, trading Michael Bourn, Mike Costanzo and Geoff Geary for him and infielder Eric Bruntlett.

Lidge led the Phillies to the 2008 title. He went a perfect 41-for-41 in save opportunities during the regular season. Lidge then converted all seven of his save opportunities in the playoffs. Fans nicknamed him “Lights Out Lidge.”

But things were never as good for Lidge — or the Phillies — again. He struggled with injuries the next three seasons. Lidge left the Phillies after 2011 and signed with the Washington Nationals as a free agent before the 2012 season. But Lidge threw just 91/3 innings in 11 games with a 9.64 ERA for the Nationals.

For all his success on the mound, Phillies fans didn’t get to see one of Lidge’s best qualities. He handled success and failure with dignity.

If he blew a save, Lidge stood in front of his locker and answered every question from every reporter.

Contact Michael McGarry:


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