Mark Prior retires seven years after throwing final major league pitch

The second overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Chicago Cubs, right-hander Mark Prior came to the majors a year later with all of the promise in the world. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 23o pounds with thick legs and a pretty delivery, Prior looked like Hollywood had cast him to be the perfect pitcher in a movie.

And he was one of the best pitchers in the league in his second season, finishing third in Cy Young voting and ninth in MVP while also leading the Cubs to within five outs of the World Series. And yet, by the time Prior turned 23 years old, he was on the decline because of injuries to his shoulder and other body parts. He threw what would be his last big-league pitch about a month before his 26th birthday in 2006.
David Brown

Pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during spring training on February 22, 2008 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the Chicago Cubs relaxes on photo day February 28, 2004 at Fitch Park in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Mark Prior #22 of the Chicago Cubs points to the ball as Robert Fick of the Atlanta Braves pops out to second baseman Mark Grudzielanek for the final out of game three of the National League Division Series on October 3, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Prior pitched a two-hit, complete game as the Cubs defeated the Braves 3-1. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) .

Pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the Chicago Cubs pours champagne on pitching coach Larry Rothchild #47 as they celebrate the Cubs win over the Pittsburgh Pirates that clinched the National League Central Division Championship after the second game of a double-header on September 27, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 7-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Starting pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the Chicago Cubs grabs his shoulder in pain after colliding with second baseman Marcus Giles #22 of the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of the game at Wrigley Field on July 11, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. The Braves defeated the Cubs 9-5. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Starting pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball to David Eckstein #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals on August 14, 2005 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during spring training on February 22, 2008 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)