- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Jordan Zimmermann, who made Washington Nationals history when he threw the team’s first no-hitter in 2014, retired from baseball Tuesday.

Zimmermann was a standout member of the Nationals’ rotation from 2009 to 2015. He threw an immaculate inning in 2011 — striking out three batters on nine pitches. Zimmermann earned two All-Star nods, the first coming in 2013, when he led the National League with 19 wins to go along with his 3.25 ERA and two shutouts.

The following season found him in the Midsummer Classic once again, and on the final day of the regular season, Zimmermann secured his place in Nationals lore.

On Sept. 28, 2014, Zimmermann threw both arms in the air after left fielder Steven Souza Jr. leaped and snagged a line drive that seemed destined to spoil Zimmermann’s no-hit bid. It was the first no-hitter by a Washington major league since Aug. 8, 1931, when Bobby Burke achieved the feat at Griffith Stadium.

Across Zimmerman’s 178 starts for Washington, he finished with a 70-50 win-loss record and held a 3.32 ERA, 1.159 WHIP and a 4.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He departed in free agency after the 2015 season, joining the Tigers while Max Scherzer went the other way, departing Detroit for Washington.

Zimmermann never reached the same heights he did with the Nationals. He signed a five-year, $110 million contract — about half as much money as Scherzer earned in Washington — but landed on the injured list in 2016 with a neck strain. Two years later, he dealt wit a shoulder strain. The next year he navigated a UCL sprain. And in 2020 he began the season sidelined with a right forearm strain.

Those injuries limited his effectiveness somewhat. Across five seasons, he finished with a 25-41 record with a 5.63 ERA. His strikeout-to-walk ratio dipped to 2.99 and his WHIP rose to 1.441.

After Detroit, he signed for the Milwaukee Brewers. A native of Marshfield, Wisconsin, Zimmermann appeared twice in relief for the Brewers, allowing eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings.

“I have had the joy of playing the game that I love for the past 15 years,” Zimmermann said in a statement. “I will forever be thankful to the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers for allowing me to live out this dream. It has been particularly special to be able to end it all playing for my hometown team, the Milwaukee Brewers.”

The 34-year-old played 13 major league seasons and finished his career with a 95-91 record and a 4.07 ERA. Zimmermann appeared three times in the postseason for Washington, allowing seven hits and five runs in Game 2 of the 2012 National League Division Series, departing after three innings in the eventual 12-4 loss to the Cardinals.

He featured in Game 4 of that series, throwing one scoreless frame while striking out the side. The Nationals went on to lose that series in five games. In 2014, Zimmermann dazzled in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. He allowed one run in 8 2/3 innings, but the Giants still won, 2-1, after 18 innings. San Francisco went on to take that series in four games.

But Zimmermann will always have a place in Nationals history for that first no-hitter, walking one and striking out 10 and holding his breath as Souza Jr. tracked down pitch 104 in deep left field.

“Thank you to all of my friends, teammates and family members who have been by my side throughout this incredible journey,” Souza said. “I will miss the game greatly, but I’m ready for the new phase of my life.”

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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