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Luis Lopez Retirement

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Luis Lopez Retirement
I ran across this article about Luis Lopez and thought that some of you may enjoy this reading. He played for the Somerset Patriots [Link - Patriots Baseball].

[Following is the original article by Scott Stanchak, reprinted with permission.]

Luis Lopez Retires After Great Career
Published: June 17, 2004 in the Democrat - Scott Stanchak

Going out on top is the way you would want it to be. But when things just aren't going right and your heart isn't where it used to be, you have to take a step back and reevaluate the situation.

Luis Lopez did. He is now retired.

The Patriots first baseman left the game that has been so good to him last week after walking through the tunnel below Waterfront Park in Camden with manager Sparky Lyle. The two talked things over and before the game started, Lopez was gone.

"We talked because I was hearing a few things," Lyle said. "He was in such good shape and that is why we brought him back. It was taking him a while to (start hitting) and he was not out hitting everyone like he use to."

Lopez spent four seasons in a Patriots' uniform (1999-2000,2003-2004) and was one of the most revered and dominating athletes to do so. It was in 2000, however, that he left the Patriots to again play in Japan - he played there from 1996-1998 as well - a place that made him a superstar.

"Man, it is great over there," said the six-year veteran of Japanese baseball. "It was a great opportunity and they made a great offer and it was the best move I ever made."

The numbers don't lie. According to a source in Japan, in 709 games between the Hiroshima Carp and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, Lopez hit .303 with 129 home runs, 510 RBIs and 795 hits.

As for his tenure with the Patriots, Lopez, who also has major-league experience with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians, appeared in 182 games, hitting .291 with 26 home runs, 120 RBIs and 30 doubles.

While he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever put on a white uniform with the word Patriots splashed across it, his teammates are happy for him rather than upset.

"I'm happy for him that he can just retire," second baseman Emiliano Escandon said. "Now he can just go and enjoy his money."

That money, reportedly in the millions, came to him through playing in Japan. His numbers over there were comparable to Hideki Matsui, if not better. In fact, they were so similar that Lopez might have had better numbers if not for missing part of the 2000 season.

The rest of the season will not be the same without Lopez around the batting cage before a game. His handshakes and wisdom will be missed by everyone and the pure bliss of seeing the one person I would want up with the game on the line will never be seen again.

Thank you Luis for the memories. Happy retirement.
Comments
Re: Luis Lopez Retirement
[ Author: daijnj | Posted: Oct 15, 2004 12:17 AM | FSH Fan ]

Had the privilege of knowing Luis when he was with Daiei. In addition to it all, he is also just a great guy. Best to you, Looie.
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