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BREAKING: Pitching Legend Monica Abbott Announces Her Retirement

Breaking News

One of the great pitchers in the history of the sport is stepping out of the circle for good.

University of Tennessee and Team USA legend Monica Abbott announced her retirement on Tuesday with a post on her social media account.

“Today, today is the day and my heart is so full. Sixteen years I’ve played professionally, 20 years with Team USA, and I’ve got to play for you. I’ve got to throw rise balls with a heart full of joy and love, and I’ve got to entertain you from the pitcher’s circle,” the 37-year-old Abbott said. “I believed in building a better future for women, for women athletes, for the youth of tomorrow. And today, I am going to say this is going to be it for me. I am going to retire from playing softball on the field.”

After a record-setting career at the University of Tennessee, Abbott helped lead Team USA to two Olympic silver medals and four World Championship titles. The Salinas, California native was the youngest member of the 2008 U.S. national team at the Beijing Olympics, and returned as one of the oldest for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Abbott showed no signs of regression in Tokyo, finishing with a tournament-best 0.00 ERA, 31 strikeouts, three wins and two saves for Team USA. Making two starts and four relief appearances in Tokyo, Abbott totaled 20.1 innings pitched and limited batters to a .106 average.

Abbott rose to great heights at Tennessee to help elevate the program to an elite status. The lanky left-hander finished her four-year career for the Lady Vols as the NCAA’s career leader in victories (189), strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112) and appearances (253). She led the country in wins in each of her four seasons and set the single-season record for strikeouts with 724 in 2007.

Abbott is one of only two players in program history to earn NFCA All-America honors four times, and is the only Lady Vol softball player to win the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award (2007). Abbott also won the prestigious Honda Award in 2007, and was a three-time SEC Pitcher of the Year (2005-07). Abbott threw an impressive 23 no-hitters and six perfect games during her career and led Tennessee to three consecutive Women’s College World Series appearances (2005-07), with a runner-up finish in 2007.

After her college career, Abbott played 14 years in the Japanese pro softball league, leading the Toyota Red Terriers to six league titles while winning four MVP awards.

Abbott’s retirement comes with softball’s future in the Olympics still in flux as the sport works to get back on the docket on a permanent basis. It comes a year and a half after fellow legendary pitcher Cat Osterman announced her retirement, signaling a passing of the torch to the next generation of great pitchers.

Abbott leaves behind a lasting legacy with Tennessee, Team USA and throughout the entire global world of softball.

“It was my greatest honor and joy to be able to step on the mound and be able to pitch for you all, so I want to thank you for supporting my playing career. I can not wait to go on this next journey and this next chapter with you from the other side of the white lines,” Abbott said. “Thank you so much for all your love and support throughout the years. And although I am not going to be standing on the mound throwing fireballs for you, I look forward to impacting the game of softball and finding new ways to inspire you all. I am retired.”