Former Yankees’ starter who accomplished historic feat makes retirement official

MLB: New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber officially announced his retirement from baseball on his personal Instagram page. One of the best pitchers of the 2010s, he was a staple on the Cleveland Guardians as their dominant ace, collecting over 1,700 strikeouts in his 13-year career, including a stop with the New York Yankees. When the team signed him to a one-year free agent deal in 2021, they were hoping to unlock his Cy Young form, and while injuries derailed his season, he still posted a 3.83 ERA across 16 starts.

His most notable performance came against the Texas Rangers when he tossed a no-hitter, joining an exclusive list of 13 Yankees to ever complete a no-no. Kluber had a brilliant career, and while it ended in a whimper with the Boston Red Sox last season, he had one of the best pitching primes we’ve seen in the 21st Century.

Corey Kluber Retires After Joining Historic Yankees List

MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Yankees
Sep 22, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) delivers against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

From 2014-2018, Corey Kluber posted a 2.85 ERA and won two Cy Youngs with the Cleveland Guardians, striking out 1,228 batters in 1,091.1 innings. His 30.3 fWAR led the American League over those five seasons and was one of just two pitchers over that stretch to log over 1,000 innings. He was traded by the Guardians after an injury-riddled 2019 season, finding himself with the Texas Rangers, who he ironically no-hit just a year later at their ballpark.

Kluber was a stoic pitcher who rarely showed emotion, and that poker face created an unbelievable ability to remain poised on the mound even during high-stress situations. You wouldn’t be able to tell if he was throwing a complete game or getting blown up based on his facial expressions, which is high praise for any starting pitcher. Following his days with the Yankees in 2021, he signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, making 31 starts but struggling with a 4.34 ERA.

The Boston Red Sox, who desperately needed pitching, gave Corey Kluber a one-year deal as well, hoping that his 3.53 FIP from 2022 would be an indicator that he still had something left in the tank. Instead, Kluber would have the worst season of his career, making just 15 appearances and pitching to he tune of a 7.04 ERA, and that season would spell the end of a career that had some incredible highs.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Apr 13, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) leaves the game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

He won’t be remembered for that 2023 season, but rather for a brilliant career that included an incredible playoff run in 2016 when he nearly carried Cleveland to their first World Series title since 1948. Corey Kluber pitched 34.1 brilliant playoff innings with a 1.83 ERA in their World Series run, and he is one of the best pitchers of his era. The career numbers won’t result in a Hall of Fame induction, but he certainly had a Hall of Fame prime and was certainly a highly-regarded person.

Everywhere he’s gone, Corey Kluber has been regarded as an excellent leader for the pitching staff, and with the Yankees he would teach Michael King the sweeper that helped him emerge as one of their best pitchers. The impact Kluber had on the Yankees goes beyond the on-field production, and the prime he had will certainly be talked about for years to come.