In February, about five months after he retired from the NBA at age 34, Tracy McGrady announced that he was going to give professional baseball a shot with the Sugar Land Skeeters, an independent minor league team in Texas that isn’t affiliated with any major league team. Baseball had been his passion since he was 5 years old, he said. Now, after a 16-year NBA career that included seven all-star game appearances and two scoring championships, he could give it a shot.
That quest ended Wednesday night, as McGrady announced his retirement from baseball after pitching 1 1/3 innings in the Atlantic League All-Star Game at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Tex.
T-Mac struck out the last batter he faced, Atlantic League All Star Bryan Pounds, before walking off the mound to the applause of his teammates. The strikeout was the first and only “K” of McGrady’s baseball career and he kept the baseball for his mantle.
“That is definitely going in the trophy case,” he said from the dugout following his outing. “I told some of the guys that I am going to get a strikeout before I stop playing. I got it in the second inning. Thank you Jesus.”
McGrady started four regular season Atlantic League games pitching a total of 6.2 innings, allowing four hits and five runs. He allowed a run on one hit in the All Star Game.
“It has been a tremendous ride,” McGrady said. “It is my last game today. I informed the team this would be my last outing and I appreciate them giving me this opportunity to start the game and enjoy this great mid-summers classic.
“This has been an awesome year. Not having my basketball career end the way I wanted but having the opportunity to be friends with some of the guys and get to know them and compete with them, learn from them every day, it’s been an honor.”
As Dolan notes, McGrady teamed with Little Leaguer Will Dolan to win the Atlantic League home run derby with six home runs. Dolan hit all of them.