Perhaps one of the biggest player disappointments for Giants fans in recent years could reside with just one player, Noah Lowry (LHP). Fans weren't disappointed with Noah himself, but on what could have been after seeing him pitch for the Giants during the 2003-07 campaigns. What could have been a great career for Noah has instead become a classic example of where a player had his career cut short because his body just broke down and simply couldn't recover.
Noah was drafted by the Giants in the 2001 amateur draft during the first round (30th overall pick) after spending his amateur career pitching for Pepperdine University. Noah quickly moved up ranks of the minor leagues for the next three years before being called up in late 2003 and appearing in six games for the Giants. In 2004, Noah got shuttled between San Francisco and Fresno, until he made his first career start on June 12 at Baltimore (no decision). Noah would have three additional starts before recording his first career win on Aug. 3 vs Cincinnati with a 11-0 win at home. What transpired after that was a San Francisco club record of winning seven straight games to start off a pitching career.
After the 2005 season where he posted a 13-13 record with an ERA of 3.78 in 33 starts over 204 innings, the Giants signed him to a four-year deal worth $9.75 million, with a club option for a fifth year. In 2006, the first year of his new contract, his season was cut short short when he suffered an oblique strain at the beginning of the season, and elbow injury at the end of the season. The very next year would end up being his last in professional baseball. Despite having a career year by posting a 14-8 record and a 3.92 ERA, his season was cut short again with a forearm injury. Everyone thought Noah would return in 2008, but he continued to have physical setbacks and eventually had surgery on his left forearm. The 2009 was no better, he was sidelined the entire season and needless to say, the Giants declined their club option on him after the '09 campaign. That same year, after rehabbing and not having any positive results, it was shown his original diagnois was wrong and he ended up having another surgery (rib removal) to eliminate the shoulder and neck pain he was having.
After missing two seasons, 2010 was Noah's first as a free agent and he was eager to showcase his pitching to clubs during spring training. What ensued were a number of postponements to audition in front of possible suitors. In the end, he never did have his pitching audition for any clubs. The 2010 season has now come and gone, and still no word on Noah's status.
So where the hell is he? Good question. As of date, it's still unknown on whether he's working on a comeback or if he's retired. I recently sent an e-mail to Noah's representatives at All Bases Covered Sports Management inquiring on his status, but never received a response from anyone at ABCSM. Regardless, I will say one thing about him, he was definitely one of the nicest Giants to ever wear the uniform. Anyone that has met him would probably say the same thing, he was very accommodating and conducted himself with class from the very beginning.
Accolades and Highlights:
NL Player of the Week (Aug. 8, 2004)
NL Player of the Week (Aug. 27, 2006)
13 wins in 2005, ranked 19th in the NL
14 wins in 2007, ranked 12th in the NL
172 K's in 2005, ranked 15th in the NL
2 career home runs (that's one more than Duane Kuiper!)
Noah Lowry in 2007