Derek Lowe

Derek Lowe

June 1, 1973
6' 6"
230 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-26-1997 with SEA

Baseball career

Minor leagues

Lowe was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in round 8 of the 1991 Major League Baseball Draft. He signed with the Mariners on June 7, 1991. The Mariners immediately assigned him to their rookie league team, where he went 5-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 12 starts.

He spent the next several years working his way through several minor league teams: 1992 - Single-A Bellingham (7-3, 2.42 - 13 starts), 1993 - Single-A Riverside (12-9, 5.26, 26 starts), 1994 - Double-A Jacksonville (7-10, 4.94, 26 starts), 1995 - Double-A Port City (1-6, 6.08, 10 starts), 1996 - Triple-A Tacoma (6-9, 4.54, 16 starts).

Seattle Mariners

Lowe made his major league debut on April 26, 1997, working 3 2/3 innings in relief against the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his first major league start on May 27, 1997, against the Minnesota Twins, giving up four runs in 5 innings. His first career win came on June 6 against the Detroit Tigers, pitching 5 1/3 innings and giving up 3 runs in the Mariners 6-3 victory.

Seattle, however, was desperate for immediate bullpen help and packaged Lowe and catcher Jason Varitek into a deal with the Boston Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb. The Mariners' willingness to trade Lowe may have stemmed from his involvement in an incident earlier that year in Federal Way, Washington. Lowe was charged with fourth-degree domestic violence by King County police after his girlfriend claimed that he struck her. Lowe was released on $1,000 bond the next day, and he allegedly violated a no-contact order by returning to her home shortly after his release. However, given the subsequent careers of the three players involved in the trade it is now viewed as one of the most lopsided in recent MLB history.

 Boston Red Sox

Derek Lowe (left) and Pedro Martínez at the Red Sox World Series Victory Parade in 2004.

Lowe compiled a 5-15 record over his first two seasons, during which he split time starting and relieving, but came into his own in 1999 after being transferred into the closer's role, finishing the season with 15 saves and a 2.63 ERA.

Lowe had his best season as a closer in 2000 when he led the American League with 42 saves. He was regarded as an unconventional closer, however, as he didn't overwhelm hitters. As a result, despite 24 saves early in the 2001 season, Lowe lost the closer's job soon after the trading deadline, July 31, when he lost the job to the newly acquired star closer Ugueth Urbina. Lowe was left in limbo, forced to take various setup jobs in the bullpen.

In 2002, Lowe moved back into the starting rotation, a move which paid off immediately. He posted a 21-8 record, a 2.58 ERA, and finished 3rd in Cy Young Award voting behind Barry Zito and teammate Pedro Martínez. Lowe also no-hit the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Fenway Park on April 27 that year, becoming the first pitcher to do so at Fenway Park since Dave Morehead in 1965.

Lowe struggled through much of the 2003 season, but boosted by the strength of Boston's thunderous offense, posted a 17-7 record despite a 4.47 ERA. He recorded an improbable save in deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series, helped by two clutch strikeouts.

In 2004, he finished 14–12 with a 5.42 ERA in 33 starts, spending part of the season demoted to the Red Sox bullpen. During the postseason he rebounded with a 3–0 record and 1.86 ERA in four games, three of them starts. He was the winner in the final game of all three postseason series—American League Division Series against the Anaheim Angels, American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, and World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals (where he threw shutout ball for 7 innings in game 4, to defeat Jason Marquis) — as the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, extinguishing the Curse of the Bambino. Lowe was the first pitcher in baseball history to accomplish this feat. With the curse extinguished, he said that the team would no longer hear "1918" at Yankee Stadium.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Lowe pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006.

On January 11, 2005, he finalized a $36 million, four-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite his signing with a new team, Lowe wore a Boston Red Sox uniform, with his career-long number of 32, during the Red Sox World Series ring ceremony on April 11, 2005, after already making a start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On August 31, 2005, Lowe nearly pitched the second no-hitter of his career. After giving up a leadoff single to the Cubs' Jerry Hairston, Jr., Lowe did not allow another Chicago hit, picking up a one-hit, two-walk, 7–0 complete game victory while facing only 29 batters.

For the 2008 season, after being the opening day starter for the Dodgers for the last three years, he was moved to the second starting position, with the honor of the first position going to Brad Penny. Lowe was chosen by manager Joe Torre to start game one of the National League Championship series against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 9, 2008. Lowe opened the game with five scoreless innings.

Both times that the Dodgers acquired Greg Maddux midseason, Lowe performed visibly better afterwards. He indicated that Maddux helped him considerably, and Maddux was often seen sitting next to him in the dugout.

Atlanta Braves

On January 13, 2009, it was reported that Lowe had agreed to a four-year, $60 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Braves that was confirmed two days later.

On March 29, 2009, Bobby Cox announced that Lowe would start both Opening Night and the Braves home opener for the 2009 season. Lowe beat the Phillies 4-1 on Opening Night, going 8 innings and giving up just 2 hits and 0 runs. On June 20, 2009, for the first time since leaving the Red Sox, Lowe pitched at Fenway Park against his former team. Despite losing the game giving up three runs, he received a standing ovation coming into and exiting the game due to his crucial part in the 2004 curse breaking World Series team.

In 2010, Lowe was one of only two active players, along with Livan Hernandez, to have played 12 or more seasons without going on the disabled list.

Despite having a mediocre season until August, Lowe was exceptional in the September of 2010, with a 5-0 record, a 1.77 ERA, 29 strikeouts while walking only three batters, which helped the Braves secure a playoff berth as the NL Wild Card, being one game ahead of the second place Padres at the end of the regular season. For this, Lowe was named National League Pitcher of the Month.

Personal life

Derek Lowe has advocated for various causes to fight cancer. Himself a survivor of squamous cell carcinoma, Lowe has worked with the Melanoma Foundation of New England, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, and The Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Derek Lowe was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and received permission to treat it with Adderall, a substance banned by Major League Baseball.

On August 3, 2005, FSN West in Los Angeles announced that Carolyn Hughes, anchor of the network's Dodger Dugout show covering the Dodgers, had been suspended pending an investigation into a potential relationship between her and Lowe. Shortly thereafter, Lowe filed for divorce from his wife of seven years, Trinka Lowe, with whom he fathered two children. Hughes's husband had also filed for divorce. In the aftermath, Hughes ended her broadcasting career, while she and Lowe continued their relationship. The two were married on December 13, 2008 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

On April 28, 2011, Lowe was arrested and charged with DUI, reckless driving, and improper lane change after Lowe was spotted racing another car down an Atlanta street. The trooper who stopped Lowe detected an odor of alcohol and administered a field sobriety test, which resulted in Lowe’s arrest. Lowe declined to take a breath test before he was released after posting bail. The other driver was not charged with any offense and was released. On May 26, 2011, both the DUI charge and the reckless driving charge against Lowe were dismissed by City of Atlanta Solicitor-General Raines Carter, and Lowe entered a nolo contendere plea (no contest) to a violation of violating basic motor vehicle rules.*All-Star (2000, 2002)

  • Starting Pitcher for the American League in the 2002 All Star Game
  • No-hitter vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays (April 27, 2002)
  • Finished 3rd in American League Cy Young Award voting (2002)
  • Led the American League in saves with 42 (2000)
  • Finished 2nd in the American League in wins with 21 (2002)
  • Winner of the deciding game of the American League Division Series, American League Championship Series, and World Series in the same year (2004)
  • The final pitcher for both 2003 and 2004 ALDS series. Both were emotional wins that set up the eventual ALCS showdown with the Yankees.
  • Finished tied for National League lead for wins with 16 (2006)
2004 World Series, All-Star, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Derek Lowe, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners
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