Former Phillies World Series champion J.A. Happ retires after 15 seasons
One of the last remaining vestiges of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ Golden Era is leaving the mound for good.
As reported by MLB insider Robert Murray, J.A. Happ is retiring after 15 years in the Majors. Happ announced his decision on the Heart Strong Podcast, saying he’s looking forward to being a full-time dad:
"“It got to the point where it was Opening Day, and I turned the first game on, and I talked to my wife, Morgan, and I said ’What are you feeling?’ She just kind of looked at me and said, ’A little anxiety.’ I wanted to turn it on to see what I felt, too, and I didn’t maybe feel what I needed to feel in order to think I wanted to keep doing this. I felt like that was a sign, like ’OK, it’s time to go.’ 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.”"
The Phillies drafted Happ in the third round of the 2004 draft and he made a brief, one-game big-league debut with them in 2007. His true rookie seasons came the following two years, when he posted a 3.69 ERA over eight games, including four starts, helping the Phillies to a second consecutive division title and ultimately, their second championship in franchise history.
Still technically a rookie in 2009, his 2.93 ERA over 35 games (23 starts, four games finished, an NL-leading two shutouts), propelled the Phillies to back-to-back pennants. For his part, Happ finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting behind Chris Coghlan.
At the 2010 trade deadline, the Phillies traded Happ and prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar to the Houston Astros for Roy Oswalt. He’d go on to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, Blue Jays again, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Happ/Oswalt trade will remain a significant ‘What If?’ in franchise history. The Phillies would win five consecutive division titles from 2007-11 but have not been back to the postseason since. While they’ve floundered in the decade since, Happ garnered Cy Young votes in 2016 and had an All-Star season in 2018.