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HURST RETIRES TO BECOME FULL-TIME DAD

Bruce Hurst, former all-star pitcher, will now be tossing batting practice not to major leaguers but to his kids.

The professional baseball life is the only life his children have known, said Hurst from his new home in St. George, following his retirement from Major League Baseball June 19. "This is a new road for them to travel, having Dad full-time.Hurst, who was the Boston Red Sox's No. 1 pick in the June 1976 draft out of Dixie High School, made stops with the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Texas Rangers before announcing his retirement.

"It was hard. It was more emotional than I ever thought it would be," Hurst said. "To some degree I still miss it. But every day I get to spend time with my kids. There is no replacing that."

His career spanned part of 19 seasons in the minor and major leagues during which he made a trip to the 1986 World Series and the 1987 All-Star Game in Oakland, Calif.

Hurst's 88 career victories in Boston are fourth among lefthanders. His 1,043 strikeouts put him at No. 4 on the Red Sox career strikeout list.

The 1986 World Series changed his perspective of the game.

"The World Series gave me more incentive and more reasons to play. It wasn't just to make money, it was to win as many games as I could to make it to the World Series."

Hurst won 13 games that season. His final regular season victory over the Toronto Blue Jays clinched a tie for the American League East pennant. But his two victories in the World Series put the Red Sox in the hunt for the title against the New York Mets.

Hurst would have never made it to the World Series if it wouldn't have been for a career decision in 1981.

"I didn't want to be a career minor-leaguer," Hurst said. "I walked away for three days, but I didn't pack anything. I had to decide during that time, `Did I really want to pursue being a major league baseball player.' "

Following the 1986 World Series, Hurst spent two more seasons with the Red Sox before opting for free agency. And from there he went to the San Diego Padres where he won 57 games in four seasons.

In October 1992 Hurst underwent left shoulder surgery and was in rehabilitation when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies.

After rehabilitation, Hurst made three starts with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the triple A club of the Rockies. He then made three starts with the Rockies where he was 0-1 with a 5.19 earned run average.

Hurst then went to the Texas Rangers where he had three starts and posted a 2-1 record and a 7.11 ERA.

"I didn't feel like I was able to pitch at the level I wanted to pitch," Hurst said. "I didn't see myself making the improvement that I wanted to, and I was not going to drag my family through it anymore. I played enough that my kids had a chance to see what Dad did. They got to travel a little bit, but they're still young enough that I can be their Dad and raise them."