Lake Charles native Wade LeBlanc retires from pro baseball

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc works against the Baltimore Orioles during the...
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc works against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)(AP)
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 3:20 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - After 16 professional seasons of baseball, Lake Charles native Wade LeBlanc is calling it a career. Wade announced his retirement on his Instagram account with a passionate post.

“As we close this chapter, one question continues to arise in my head. How do I know God is real? With it come stories on the journey that leave no doubts. Let’s start with the fact that guys who throw 86 don’t make it to this level very often, even less play til they’re 37. There’s the 2 tears in my shoulder prior to 2015 that were completely healed in what I can only call a miracle. Following that season, not knowing whether I was to keep playing or not, my wife and I went on a Daniel Fast, which if you are in need of guidance or answers please look into going on one yourself. I guarantee you will hear from God. While on the fast, I prayed if I were meant to keep playing that God have someone random reach out to check on my arm. 12 hours later, a friend of a former teammate, sent me a text and asked “Hey brother, how’s your arm?” I got my answer. There was the game in Oakland in 2014 where my bro-in-law/mentor told me God would give me a camera and a spotlight to exalt Him and I better not waste it. That night I beat the A’s and was asked to interview after the game. I didn’t waste it. Or the game of my life vs the Red Sox on national TV. I didn’t waste that chance either. And I’m not going to waste this one. God has gone above and beyond for me. He gave me a dream, but most importantly He gave me the passion to pursue that dream. He gave me a smoking hot wife that loved me when I had acne and weighed 160lbs. Who lived and died with every game, right along with me. He sustained my family. Blessed us extensively. God deserves every praise I have. To all the teams that gave me a chance, THANK YOU. To all the teams that didn’t, THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone whose path I was fortunate to cross on this journey. Know that I respected you all. If you were my teammate at any point(likely, considering the number of teams I’ve been on!), know that I loved every second of sharing a locker room, dugout, and bullpen with you. I’ve given up enough runs to last a lifetime...but now I can’t wait to give up as many as possible to my boys’ coach-pitch teams! It’s time to let the kids play. #58,49,23,46,37,55,35,47,35,38,49,23, and 49 out.”

In his career, LeBlanc played for nine MLB teams and another 13 minor-league squads, in addition to a Nippon Professional team in Japan. LeBlanc finished his MLB career with a 46-49 record in 258 career appearances. He totaled 671 strikeouts in 931.1 innings pitched, sporting a career 4.54 ERA.

LeBlanc’s pro career started in 2006 after being drafted in the second round by the San Diego Padres. He would make his MLB debut just two years later during the 2008 season.

The former Barbe standout is considered the best pitcher in the Buccaneers’ storied baseball history. The southpaw’s 2003 season saw him set eight single-season team records including strikeouts (184), shutouts (5), ERA (.45) and innings pitched (109).

Following his standout career at Barbe, he was first drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 36th round of the 2003 MLB Draft, but LeBlanc elected to play college baseball at Alabama under head coach Jim Wells. LeBlanc played three seasons with the Crimson Tide. In 2004, LeBlanc was named the National Freshman of the Year by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

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