Former Colorado Rockies rotation mainstay Jeff Francis, who was part of Colorado's memorable Rocktober run in 2007 and started Game One of the World Series that year, has chosen to retire from professional baseball, according to MLB.com.
Francis, 34, pitched in 197 games (185 starts) for the Rockies between 2004 and 2010, and then again from 2012 through 2013. He also played in the Major Leagues with the Blue Jays, Yankees, Athletics, Reds, and Royals, and finished his career at 72-82 with a 4.97 ERA across 254 games (217 starts).
He is currently third in the history of the Rockies' franchise in wins (64), and near the top in most every other cumulative pitching category, thanks to his long time in the organization after being drafted by the club in the first round in 2002 out of the University of British Columbia.
Francis' best season came in 2007 when the Rockies went on their improbable late-season run. Across 34 stars that year, Francis was 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA (4.19 FIP) over 215⅓ innings, striking out 165 hitters (6.9 K/9) while walking 63 (2.6 BB/9). He finished ninth in National League Cy Young Award voting that season.
In the World Series that year, Francis started game one against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, but he lasted just four innings in the Rockies' 13-1 loss that night, allowing six runs on ten hits and three walks. He did win his other two starts that postseason, though, combining to throw 12⅔ in the National League Division Series (against the Phillies) and the National League Championship Series (against the Diamondbacks), striking out 12 while allowing just three runs on 11 hits and three walks.
Francis spoke to Thomas Harding at MLB.com about his postseason memories in light of his decision to retire:
"It was special to be able to be a champion -- I know we didn't win it all, but that was a team that came together, even though I don't know what was expected of us. We did special things in dramatic fashion. We felt unstoppable. It was almost as if the drama was too much to think about. Looking back, I'm sure there was a lot of pressure, but I don't think we felt it. We just rode a wave and took it as far as we could."
And he acknowledged how he — with few others — was able to tame Coors Field to find success in his career:
"What I was able to do, what Aaron Cook did, what Jorge De La Rosa is doing and what Jason Jennings did before us, it's hard to do. Not many have done it more than two years in a row, including me. I don't know if there is an answer."
Above all, though, he also spoke highly of Denver, and the Rockies:
"It's a special place. I spent the bulk of my time there. It was at times an up-and-down career, but to have the time in Denver playing in the World Series, and playing for a team that grew up together, that's pretty satisfying."
Congratulations on a successful, long career, Jeff. We wish you the best of luck and happiness in your personal and professional pursuits after baseball.