It was an emotional day for Rangers great Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre, one of the greatest third baseman in baseball history who became a member of the 3,000-hit club with the Texas Rangers, announced Tuesday morning that he is retiring.
He does so as the all-time leader in hits by a third baseman with 3,166 – 1,277 of those coming over eight seasons with the Rangers. Beltre also has 477 home runs, 636 doubles, and a .286 average over 21 seasons with four teams.
Beltre, 39, broke into the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 at age 19. He joined the Rangers before the 2011 season and came within a strike of the one goal he wanted in his career – a World Series title.
Beltre, who won five Gold Gloves at third, is almost certain to be inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He will first appear on the ballot in five years.
“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 after informing the Rangers on Monday night.
“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.
“I want to thank God, my amazing wife, Sandra, for your unwavering and unconditional love, support and understanding throughout my entire baseball career, my three awesome children, Cassie, A.J and Camila for being the best baseball kids, my parents, and my entire family for all your love and support.
“I also want to thank my agents, Scott Boras, Mike Fiore and the entire Boras Corp. for always believing in my talent. A huge THANK YOU goes to the numerous teammates, managers, coaches, and staff members from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and especially the Texas Rangers. These past eight seasons playing in a Rangers’ uniform have been the best of my career and were made possible thanks to Rangers’ owners Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, and Neil Leibman, general manager Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and the late Don Welke.
“I also owe a huge part of my success in Texas to the amazing Rangers’ fans. You guys are the best!
“I also have to acknowledge and thank Tommy Lasorda for believing in this young kid from the Dominican Republic when others thought I was too young to be called up to the big leagues.
“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. 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.
“It’s been one hell of a ride!
Beyond what Beltre did on the field, he was regarded MLB-wide as a terrific teammate, a consummate professional and an outstanding leader. Shortstop Elvis Andrus will be asked to fill the leadership void.
“Adrian is a baseball machine,” said Rangers Hall of Famer Michael Young, who played two seasons with Beltre. “I knew he was good when we got him, and his reputation as a great teammate preceded him. He blew all expectations out of the water. Just an off-the-charts player and teammate. Congratulations to him and his family. Whatta ride. Now somebody go to Elvis’ house and get him out of the fetal position.”
Only a handful of players besides Beltre were able to set aside injuries and play through them. Of note was the 2015 season, when Beltre tore a thumb ligament at the end of May but returned to the lineup less than three weeks later.
He fashioned a swing out of it in the second half and help lead the Rangers to the American League West title. The thumb required surgery after the season.
“Adrian is one of the best people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. He stands out as much off the field as he does on it,” Daniels said. “He is a Hall of Fame level teammate, husband and father. He helped raise the Rangers’ franchise to a new level.
“Among the many, many examples of selflessness over the years, his performance in the second half of 2015 stands out. Against the advice of doctors, he played through a badly injured thumb that required surgery when the season ended. He played at a top level, and set the tone for the rest of the club. It is symbolic for how he carried himself and led the organization every day. I want to thank him and Sandra for all they’ve done for the Rangers and our community. They’re forever a part of us. We wish them and their family the best in retirement.”