Whatever Happened to MLB Pitcher Dontrelle Willis?
Dontrelle Willis was a fan favorite in the MLB. The left-handed pitcher had a deceptive high leg kick that threw off the timing for some hitters. This delivery proved to be a success for Willis.
The Oakland, California native wasted no time when he got to the big leagues, making an immediate impact. Willis will always be remembered for his unique delivery from the pitching mound. However, he’s impacting baseball in a different way these days.
Dontrelle Willis’s pitching career highlights
Willis made his MLB debut with the Florida Marlins in 2003. It was a big year for “The D Train,” as he came to be called. Willis won a World Series title and was named the NL Rookie of the Year. He was a key contributor to that World Series team, finishing with a 14-6 record with a 3.30 ERA in 27 starts in his first year.
Willis immediately became a fan favorite in Florida and was set to have a successful career in the majors.
During the 2005 season, he became the only pitcher in Marlins history to win 20 games. He also won the Warren Spahn Award, given to the best left-handed pitcher in each league.
Among the Marlins organization, Willis ranks first in complete games (15) and second in wins (68), shutouts (8), and games started (162). He’s also third in total strikeouts with 757.
Willis’s career after leaving the Florida Marlins
After leaving the Florida Marlins in 2006, reports The Root, Willis would finish his career playing for the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cincinnati Reds. He also signed minor league deals with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels, and Milwaukee Brewers.
When Willis left the Marlins, he wasn’t known as one of the top pitchers in the league. His best years were in Florida, and he got a championship out of it. In 2015, he announced his retirement from the game of baseball.
If Willis had the same success throughout his career with the Marlins, he could have made a strong case for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Willis ended his career 72-69 with a 4.17 ERA and 896 strikeouts.
Dontrelle Willis has remained close to the game of baseball
Though he may not pitch in the big leagues anymore, Willis has found a way to remain in the sport. In 2020, he joined NBC Sports Bay Area to cover the Athletics for the upcoming baseball season, contributing as an in-studio analyst.
Since 2015, Willis has worked for Fox Sports as an MLB studio analyst. Adding to his off-field accomplishments, he won the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Studio Show with the network. In May 2022, Willis added to his resume by joining the broadcast team for the Dodgers.
The now-41-year-old is active on social media with a Cameo profile fans enjoy. According to his Twitter profile, he’s a member of the Black Aces, a group of Black pitchers who’ve won 20 MLB games or more in a single season.
Willis has been married since 2006. He and his wife, Natalie, have four daughters.