Gil Meche hung up the spikes today, after 10 seasons of complete and absolute mediocrity in the strictest sense of the term. We will miss him.
My first thought on hearing of his retirement was, "Oh, Gil Meche. He was a guy who was always...there." So I was inspired, as much as a guy like Meche can inspire anyone, to take a look at his stats. And they were about as bland and middle-of-the-road as humanly possible.
Meche retired with a record of 84-83. But wins and losses aren't useful statistics, even if "Mr. .500" weren't a perfect nickname for him. His WAR over 10 major league seasons amounted to 18.3, with the league average being about 2 for any single given season. But the ultimate measure of his standing amongst, directly amongst his peers is his adjusted ERA, which accounts for ballpark and league average. An average ERA+ is precisely 100. Meche's career ERA+ was 99.
Truly this is a man who could not possibly be replaced, except by any other pitcher.
His Baseball Reference similarity scores are a who's who of "hey, I sort of remember that guy." Jason Marquis. Cal Eldred. Melido Perez. Andy Hawkins. It's like finding a baseball card collection from the mid 90s, with all the cards of value already sold off.
Meche started his career off in Seattle, and finished in Kansas City, perhaps the two most vanilla franchises in baseball.
A passable 10 years of baseball, to be sure. But when we hear his name, we'll never not think of Gil Gamesh, the Sumerian epic-inspired baseball player of Philip Roth, who disappears after his final game. No need to strive for immortality, youth of America. If you're the definition of average for a decade in the big leagues, you've done all right for yourself.