Gil Meche Gave Up $12M Because It Was The Right Thing To Do; Could You? : The Two-Way The Major League pitcher says it just wouldn't have been OK to take the money, even though he could have, because he wouldn't have been able to do a good enough job.
NPR logo Gil Meche Gave Up $12M Because It Was The Right Thing To Do; Could You?

Gil Meche Gave Up $12M Because It Was The Right Thing To Do; Could You?

A remarkable story first started to get some attention last week, when SI.com's Joe Posnanski wrote about Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche's decision to retire at the age of 32 even though that meant walking way from a guaranteed $12.4 million.

Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, on April 23, 2010. Charlie Riedel/AP hide caption

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Charlie Riedel/AP

Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, on April 23, 2010.

Charlie Riedel/AP

Meche was doing it because after a series of injuries he just didn't think he could do the job — so it wouldn't be fair to take the money. As Posnanski said, it was astonishing because you just don't hear of anyone doing something like that very often.

But the story didn't really take off until late yesterday, when The New York Times' Tyler Kepner posted some lengthy comments from Meche about his decision.

"It got to the point where I wasn't going to lie to myself and say, 'I'm going to be healthy, I'm ready to roll, I can't wait to get going,' " Meche told Kepner. "None of those things were true. ... It wasn't fair to the team or my teammates to go back."

And, said Meche, "this isn't about being a hero — that's not even close to what it's about. ... Making that amount of money from a team that's already given me over $40 million for my life and for my kids; it just wasn't the right thing to do."

Now, as Meche says, he's already earned a lot of money. And some others have certainly sacrificed as much or more — remember former NFL player Pat Tillman, who after the 9/11 attacks joined the Army and lost his life in Afghanistan.

Still, this makes us wonder: