Beltre retires after 21 MLB seasons
ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Adrian Beltre had a sometimes-imposing stare and plenty of quirky habits. He also had a genuine love for baseball, and a lot of fun in a Hall of Fame-calibre career.
After 21 big-league seasons in which Beltre hit 477 home runs and became the first player from the Dominican Republic to have 3,000 hits, the slick-fielding third baseman for the Texas Rangers retired Tuesday at age 39.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
Beltre, who will be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in five years, was a .286 hitter with 1,707 RBIs in 2,933 career games. His 3,166 hits rank 16th on the career list, with his homers total 30th and RBIs 24th. He played 2,759 games at third base — only Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson had more.
“As much fun as people see us having at the ballpark all of the time, and playing around, I haven’t met somebody that was more detailed about the game than him,” Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “He’s going to be missed for sure.”
The four-time all-star and five-time Gold Glove winner was 19 when he made his big league debut with the Dodgers in 1998. Beltre played with Los Angeles until 2004, the Seattle Mariners from 2005-09 and the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He joined the Rangers on a six-year, US$96-million free-agent deal in 2011 and appeared in his only World Series in his first season with Texas.
In his statement, Beltre thankedTom Lasorda, then the Dodgers’ interim general manager, for “believing in this young kid from the Dominican Republic when others thought I was too young to be called up” to the majors. Beltre was only 15 when he first signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in July 1994.
“To all my fans in the Dominican Republic, the United States and Latin America, my sincerest THANK YOU for your continuous support throughout my career,” Beltre also wrote. “While I will forever cherish the memories from my time playing the greatest game on earth, I am excited to become a full-time husband and father, and I am ready to take on the next chapter of my life.”
Adrian Beltre won four Gold Gloves and became the first player who was a primarily a third baseman to amass 3,000 career hits and 450 home runs.