Major League Baseball pitcher Gil Meche hasn’t been earning his salary. This is nothing new in sports — sometimes a player will have a good year or two, then something changes physically or mentally, and he’s never the same. Usually they “play out their contract,” which is another way of saying “takes millions of dollars even though they’re a supreme disappointment.”
Legally, Meche was owed $12 million on the final year of his contract with the Kansas City Royals, who signed him to a $55 million contract over the course of five years. Since then, however, Meche’s numbers plummeted, culminating in an injury-plagued 2010 season which saw Leche amass an 0-5 record with a 5.69 ERA.
But instead of finishing out his contract, getting paid to make $12 million for doing almost nothing, Leche called it quits today: “I don’t deserve $12 million.” (link to news story)
From the Washington’s NBC site:
Meche announced last week he will retire, giving up the payday due on the last year of his deal. Meche has always been known for his integrity, according to The New York Times, but this move left the baseball world stunned. Meche said he just didn’t like the idea of not earning his keep.
“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the paper from his temporary home in Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”
“This isn’t about being a hero — that’s not even close to what it’s about,” Meche said. “It’s just me getting back to a point in my life where I’m comfortable. Making that amount of money from a team that’s already given me over $40 million for my life and for my kids, it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”
He said he has no regrets and is now looking for a new home in the area where he grew up.
“I want to get back to what I remember as a kid, the way of life here in Louisiana,” Meche said. “We tend to think we live a little differently down here. It’s a lot of culture, a lot of French culture. Everywhere I’ve been in the country, for some reason, this is the place I can’t get away from.”
Don’t call us “Lowsyana.” Call us Integrityana.
Actually…don’t. That’s just stupid.
Still, kudos to Gil Meche for letting his deeply-embedded values shine. For once, there is an athlete we can admire.