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Sean Stidfole: “I’m retiring”

 

The 48th annual York Area Sports Night was not without a surprise Thursday evening at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.  During the Q&A portion of the celebrity dinner and reception, now former Revolution reliever Sean Stidfole was put on the spot about his preparations for the upcoming season by M.C. Wayne McCullough of WOYK.  To Stidfole’s credit, he did not dance around the question with a cliched response, but rather gave it to the crowd straight:

I’m paraphrasing a bit:  “Actually, I’m retiring,” Stidfole said to the crowd, the first announcement of his intentions for 2012.  “It feels awful right now, because I’d never thought I’d stop playing baseball.  But I’ve gotten as close to the big leagues as I’m going to get.  I do have a job I’ve already started, and it’s just time to move on,” he continued, showing some understandable emotion.

The crowd intervened before McCullough could wrap up the interview with a nice ovation and applause upon hearing the news.  The Penn State educated Stidfole is already working full time in Perry County (Pa.).  His attended high school at Susquehanna Township, in Harrisburg.

Stidfole’s impromptu announcement does come as a surprise to some around the organization and Atlantic League, coming off two good seasons in a set-up role, and an occasional closing role out of the Revolution bullpen.  He appeared in 128 games in his two Revolution seasons, an amazing number.  He set the league record for appearances in 2010 with 68, only to watch it be broken by teammate Ronnie Morales last season.  In a moment in the comments below, Darrell Henry will weigh in with Stidfole’s statistical contributions and significance, and his place in Revolution history.  Darrell and myself named Stidfole as the reliever on our Revolution Fifth Anniversary Team.  His qualities as a good teammate are unquestionable. 

Again, paraphrasing as we polished off some very good food (thank you Heritage Hills, great job):  “I was on two championship teams my final two years,” Stidfole said.  “That’s a pretty good way to end it.  I had so much fun, and played with great teammates each year (in 2010 and ’11).  I won’t want to be around it too much my first year out, otherwise I’ll want to play again.  But I’ll be back on opening day to get my ring, and here and there.”

Sean Stidfole shares a moment with Liu Rodriguez on Opening Day 2011 after receiving his championship ring.

Stidfole’s remarks certainly reasonated with the crowd even amongst the other celebrities who spoke, including Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame defensive lineman Randy White, University of Maryland Head Football Coach and Glen Rock native Randy Edsall, Cincinnati Reds outfielder and Lancaster County native Chris Heisey, former Phillies catcher and all-around hilarious guy Darren Daulton and the Revolution’s own Scott Grimes.  But it was only Stidfole who got the extra round of applause as congratulations for a great career. 

After playing at Penn State, he was selected in the 2005 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, ascending as high as Triple-A in 2008 and 2009 before spending the last two seasons in York.  He calls it a career after seven professional seasons.

The Revolution certainly have a big gap to fill in the bullpen, in the clubhouse and in the community with Stidfole’s absence.

-Paul Braverman

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One response

  1. Darrell Henry

    Ok, here goes…

    And first off, I must say I was as surprised as anyone to hear the news when he privately told us around 4 p.m., a couple of hours before sharing with the crowd. I was under the impression he’d be returning, but really commend him for making a decision that’s too difficult for many of us to even understand when you consider that baseball has been his life since the time he could first walk. He’s got a great opportunity outside of the game that he couldn’t pass up though, and we wish him all of the best. He represented the organization extremely well on and off the field, and will always be regarded as a champion in York as one of the greats on two of the greatest teams that will ever be in Revolution history.

    Adding a little extra factual perspective to what Stidfole has done in a York uniform, his performance in 2010 earned him an Atlantic League Second Team All-Star selection, becoming just the second pitcher and first relief pitcher in team history to be honored by the league with a postseason award. He was also arguably the league’s biggest All-Star “snub” that year, as there was without a doubt some uproar when he was not picked by the Somerset coaching staff to represent the Freedom Division at the 2010 All-Star Game at Long Island.

    When you win a championship you have to have certain things go your way, and certain pieces have to fall into place. Stidfole was a prime example as a local guy who was a late release from Blue Jays spring training. Needing a place to play, he turned to York in 2010, drove to Sovereign Bank Stadium for what amounted to an audition-type workout in the bullpen one day, and the coaching staff, who in their minds already had an idea of who would fill out the roster, and who already had more than 30 players in camp, could not say no to Stidfole after what they saw in that one session, and he ended up becoming one of the greats to wear the continental navy and sargeant’s red.

    In that first season, he racked up a career-best 11 saves (one shy of matching the club’s season record at the time) while posting a 1.90 ERA in a then-league record 68 appearances (included a 1.44 ERA over the final 57 games of that season). He capped the first championship run by earning the win in relief in Game 3 at Bridgeport.

    Earlier in that season, he set club records for longest scoreless streaks at 18.1 innings and 17 consecutive appearances, as he was nearly perfect for much of the first half.

    Last year, his five relief wins tied a team record for a single season and was the second-highest total of his pro career, while posting a solid 3.79 ERA in 60 appearances, a mark that came in only a 126-game season compared to a 140-game schedule the previous year. The 60 appearances is the fourth highest total in a season in Revs history (owns second and fourth highest single-season appearance totals).

    His combined 12 saves are fourth most in Revs history. He ends his career having appeared in more games than any other pitcher in the Revs’ five-year history with 128 appearances to his name while in a York uniform. And last but certainly not least, his combined 2.72 ERA is also a club-record for any pitcher with a minimum of 101 innings in a York uniform. I think that puts into pretty good perspective just how valuable he’s been for his team the last two seasons.

    So the Revs have a major void to fill in the bullpen, but that’s the challenge year after year. You never have the same team back the next season, key players move on for a variety of reasons, and you just keep moving on and looking for that next guy. Etch and his staff will continue to find new pieces, and this marks the first major news of the offseason and the first big departure that will need replaced. But this isn’t the time to focus on that, there will be plenty of time in the months ahead. Instead, this is about reflecting on a great career for a local guy who became one of the greats here in York, and celebrating what he did on and off the field in helping to bring a championship to York the last two years. Our congrats to “Stid” on an outstanding baseball career.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

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