Gainesville, Fla. — Gators legend Darren O’Day is retiring from Major League Baseball after 15 seasons at the sport’s ultimate level.

“From being a lightly recruited high school player to a college walk-on, an undrafted free agent, to an unpromising professional ball, I’ve been incredibly proud to have played with the best players in the world for so long. “Finally, after 17 seasons in professional baseball, it’s time to go home,” O’Day wrote.

O’Day’s 15 major league seasons tie him for the most Gators players in MLB history. Only David Ross (2002-16) and Mike Stanley (1986-2000) played in as many of his MLB campaigns as the Jacksonville, Florida native.

Throughout his MLB career, O’Day has represented five MLB clubs: the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. He appeared in his 644 games, had a 2.59 earned run average, and in 609 his frames he had 637 strikeouts. His 167 ERA+ for O’Day showed that his work load in the majors was 67% above his league average.


The reliever’s best campaign occurred in 2015, when he earned his only All-Star nod, achieving a 1.52 ERA overall and 82 strikeouts (just 14 walks) in 65 1/3 innings. This prompted the Baltimore Orioles to resign him to his four-year, $31 million contract the following offseason. In total, O’Day’s career earnings were just under his $50 million.

As an elite bullpen weapon, O’Day performed well against hitters from both sides of the plate. was only .224.

O’Day’s legacy as a gator is one of a kind. After joining the team as a walk-on in his freshman year in 2003, he quickly established himself as a highly leveraged option in the bullpen by his sophomore year. In 2004, O’Day set his 8-1 record with a 2.56 ERA in 59 2/3 innings. He went on to pitch under a 3.00 ERA with 50 or more strikeouts in both his junior and senior campaigns, winning 124 his 2/3 frames in his final two years. From 2004 to his 2006, O’Day paced Florida’s Hurler in his ERA season after season.

Combining his numbers with the Orange & Blue, O’Day finished with a 23-9 record, 20 saves, a 3.14 ERA, and 190 strikeouts in 117 appearances spanning 223 2/3 innings for the Gators. Did. After the 2006 season, he signed a free agency contract with the Angels. O’Day made his debut with Halos in 2008, two years after that. Most of his big league career was spent in Baltimore, where from 2012 he had his best season (354 1/3 IP, 371 G, 28-12), pitching 7 of his seasons until 2017. , 17 SV, 2.34 ERA, 0.99 WHIP).

“I consider myself lucky because I met so many people along the way,” O’Day added. “As I got older and introspected, I realized that my favorite part of my time in the major leagues was being with my teammates. Being part of the group is the ultimate blessing of my career.I love you all and thank you for everything we have shared.”

The University of Florida Baseball Program celebrates O’Day and his family’s illustrious MLB career.

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