A story in this week's Globe (surprisingly highlighted by Dan Shaughnessy today):
Knowing he was too injured to pitch, oft-maligned Keith Foulke (now trying to make a comeback) retired in February 2007 one day before he would have collected $5 million from the Indians just for showing up at work. Here's what Foulke said to the Globe's Stan Grossfeld when asked about Curt ($8 million for not pitching in 2008) Schilling: "He's got to wake up and look himself in the mirror every day."
Here's how Larry Bird's retirement went down:
When Bird finished the 1991-92 season, the prognosis was grim; his body had finally worn out. His contract contained a two-year option for $4.5 million a year, which would automatically take effect on August 15 if he didn't notify the club of his retirement. On August 12, Bird went to see [Celtics CEO Dave] Gavitt and announced he was going to retire. Gavitt, aware of the August 15 deadline and of all the years of dedicated service Larry had given the Celtics, asked him whether he wanted a few more days to think it over. "I know what day this is," Bird replied. "If I'm not going to play and know I can't play, I'm not going to take the money. I'm not going to take one cent I don't earn."