After 21 seasons of excellence at the third base position, MLB.com reports that baseball great Adrien Beltre has decided that the time is right for him to walk away from the game he loves.
Players past and present spent much of Tuesday (November 20) joining fans in saluting Beltre for all that he brought to America’s pastime – after he announced his retirement in a letter that the Texas Rangers released before noon. In addition to sharing Beltre’s message to the public, the Rangers switched their Twitter handle to #ThankYouAB, replaced the cover photo to an image of Beltre, and peppered the team’s page with tributes to the 39-year-old Dominican star. In a statement that CBS Sports published on the organization’s behalf, general manager Jon Daniels remembered him as the quintessential teammate and a worthy representation of the franchise’s character.
“After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, I have made the decision to retire from what I’ve been doing my whole life, which is playing baseball, the game I love,” Beltre wrote, before recalling how far along he came from being a kid from a Caribbean island who had a dream to dazzle on the diamond some day.
“I have thought about it a lot, and although I appreciate all the opportunities and everything that baseball has given me, it’s time to call it a career. I have enjoyed the privilege of playing professional baseball since I was 15 years old. I have been blessed to have played 21 seasons at the highest level in Major League Baseball,” he went on to say.
— #ThankYouAB (@Rangers) November 20, 2018
Beltre broke into the majors four years after the Dodgers signed him as a pubescent phenom who had yet completed high school. It was the great Tommy Lasorda who in 1998 decided to elevate him to the big leagues at the ripe age of 19. Beltre’s glove was never a question and before long, neither would his bat be, as he steadily gained his footing at the plate in lead up to an MVP caliber campaign in 2004. He would drive in 121 runs to go along with 48 home runs. Both numbers wound up being career highs, as was his.334 batting average that year.
While he never quite did replicate 2004, Beltre became more of a consistent player in his latter years. In fact, he wouldn’t join Texas until 2011. He’d hit over.300 in all but three of his seasons in the Lone Star State, and all but one of his All-Star Game appearances came during his tenure with the Rangers. According to Baseball Reference, Beltre would even land on the MVP voting ballot in each of his first six years with the team.
By the end of his career, Beltre would take home five Golden Glove awards for his defense, and four Silver Slugger awards for his talent as one of the game’s premier offensive players. No career third baseman has ever had more hits than Beltre (3,166) and he is the only third baseman to ever collect over 400 home runs (477) to go along with more than 3,000 hits. Beltre ranks among history’s the top 30 statistical performers in hits, home runs, and RBI.
Congrats to Adrian Beltre on one amazing hall of fame career.. it was an honor to play against you and to get to know such a great player and person!
— Matt Carpenter (@MattCarp13) November 20, 2018
Congrats, AB. Yes…a HOFer, 3000 knocks, best defender at 3rd I ever saw.
But, above all, a perfect teammate. pic.twitter.com/2grL299Ar0
— Michael Young (@MikeyY626) November 20, 2018
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) November 20, 2018
Congrats on an unbelievable career Adrian Beltre! The total package at the hot corner. I will save a seat for u at the third baseman’s table of the members dinner in Cooperstown my man! Enjoy retirement buddy.
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) November 20, 2018