Longtime Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver, known for his laid-back surfer-dude manner and wicked ability to surprise hitters with precise pitch placement, announced his retirement from pro baseball Tuesday after 11 years with the Halos and one last tour with the San Diego Padres.
An acclaimed Long Beach State Dirtbag who’s still a regular visitor and donor to the program, Weaver was among the Angels’ most popular players since he elbowed his way into the starting rotation as a rookie sensation in 2006. He went on to become one of the most successful pitchers in the franchise’s history.
Here are five things to know about Weaver:
1 The right-hander was a star at Simi Valley High, where he caught the eye of pro scouts but opted for Long Beach State instead. And he owned a house in his hometown until selling it in recent years.
2 Weaver is generally regarded as the best pitcher to come out of the vaunted Dirtbag program. Weaver went 37-9 at the school, where he won the Golden Spikes Award in 2004 while leading his team to the NCAA Super Regional. Though he turned pro before his senior year, he often expressed his love for his alma mater and donated $500,000 to help pay for the renovation of Blair Field.
3 Weaver’s nickname was “The Friday Knight” because of all the Friday games he started and dominated at Long Beach. The school still produces Friday Knight memorabilia, including a recent “bobblehead” giveaway.
4 The death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed with two of his friends by a drunken driver in April 2009, stuck with Weaver. He regularly wrote Adenhart’s initials on the pitching mound and named his son Aden after him.
5 Weaver’s lack of velocity late in his career made him a punchline of sorts to some in baseball, but that overlooks his mostly stellar first nine seasons in the majors. In 2010, he led the AL in starts and strikeouts; in 2012, he was the league leader in the ratio of walks and hits allowed to innings pitched. He finished No. 3 on the Angels’ list for career strikeouts (1,598) and WHIP among starting pitchers.