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Tracy McGrady pitches in All-Star game, gets first career strikeout, then retires

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Oh boy, there's a whole lot to unpack in that headline, like how Tracy McGrady was pitching in a baseball All-Star game to begin with, but we'll hit the pause button on that for a second and spit out the news.

T-Mac, the former NBA star, has decided to retire from baseball after an almost three-month stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. McGrady, who averaged 19.6 points per game in 15 seasons in the NBA, wasn't super successful in baseball, but at least his ERA wasn't over 19.

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

He started four games for the Skeeters, throwing a total of 6.2 innings and allowing five runs. His ERA was 6.75. It's worth reminding, though, that T-Mac hadn't played baseball since high school.

Despite not being terribly effective on the mound, McGrady was selected to start the Atlantic League's All-Star game Wednesday, because sure why not. It was there that T-Mac notched his first career strikeout. He was removed from the game and afterward announced his retirement. So his final batter was the peak of his baseball career. At least he went out on a high note.

McGrady, 35, told CBS Houston:

“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.”

And then, about his decision to stop playing baseball:

“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 ... I got a little emotional coming off the mound. It feels good to be celebrated again.”

That last sentence really says it all. T-Mac, like many athletes before him, wasn't ready to stop being competitive and hear the end of the applause from fans. We've seen many other more embarrassing comeback attempts than this one.

Let's hope it satisfied him. We don't need T-Mac trying to play Arena Football.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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