StlToday.com wrote:Cards' Eldred says his baseball career is over
By Joe Strauss
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Righthander Cal Eldred has decided to retire after posting 86-74 career record with three teams, spending the last three years of his career in the Cards bullpen.
Cal Eldred confirmed Sunday his decision to retire following a second-chance career that ended with three years in the Cardinals bullpen.
Eldred, who turned 38 last week, cited personal and financial reasons in addition to a conversation with general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Tony La Russa shortly after the team's elimination from the National League Championship Series.
"I think that it's common sense because of a lot of factors for me not to play anymore," Eldred said.
Eldred was 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 31 appearances, including one spot start, in a season interrupted by myopericarditis, a viral infection of the lining surrounding his heart. The ailment sidelined him for 56 games covering two months and followed a year in which his wife, Christi, delivered twin girls and suffered the loss of her grandmother and mother.
"That continued to help me confirm that what I was feeling was correct," Eldred said. "Any team you're going to talk to, including the Cardinals, is going to say, 'Look at those (health) problems you have.' As a player, that's in the past but a team is going to bring it up.
"Could I push it another year or two? Probably. But I don't know if it's for the best."
The condition prevented Eldred from reaching appearance incentives in a contract that last season provided a $600,000 base salary. Eldred signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Cardinals last December after going 11-6 with nine saves in 114 appearances the previous two seasons.
"I don't mind the effort," Eldred said after returning Sunday from a hunting trip. " I enjoy the workouts, the pitching and the competition. And I've enjoyed the success the team's had. But there's also a price my family pays and I pay, and it's just no balancing out. At 38, I don't think that's going to change."
Eldred and his wife home school their children and regularly traveled to the team's road series. The couple also established a residence in St. Louis.
Proximity to their Iowa home made playing for the Cardinals ideal, but the club's reluctance to offer Eldred a guaranteed contract became one of several sticking points.
"They look at me and see someone who enjoys being around my family and being close to home," Eldred said. "They knew they were one of the teams that could enable me to do that. They didn't offer a guaranteed year after I pitched pretty well for two years. I'm not holding that against them at all. It's just the way the business is. But we've had a lot of things go on in the last 1 1/2 years; I just think this is the right thing to do."
The decision marks an end to Eldred's comeback following nearly two years inactivity. Eldred pitched only two games in 2001-02 because of stress fractures in his right elbow. He arrived at spring training to compete for a spot in the 2003 rotation but instead wound up pitching relief for the first time in his career.
Eldred finishes with an 86-74 career record and nine saves in 341 games for the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox and Cardinals.