Adrian Beltre has been tormenting pitchers for the better part of the last two decades, but after 21 years in Major League Baseball, he will torment them no more.
The 39-year-old third baseman and designated hitter announced his retirement on Tuesday morning via a statement the Texas Rangers released on his behalf.
Beltre will retire with a .286/.339/.480 lifetime triple slash, which includes 636 doubles, 38 triples and 477 home runs. He was an All-Star four times, won four Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. He never earned MVP honors, but was close a few times. He finished second in 2004, third in 2012 and has a trio of seventh-place finishes.
No active player in MLB has appeared in more contests than Beltre, whose 2,933 games played rank 14th all-time. He was just 18 hits from passing Cal Ripkin Jr. (3,184) and 154 hits away from knocking Paul Molitor out of the top ten all-time. Injuries slowed Beltre down a bit in recent years, but he recorded 153 hits in 2016, 161 in 2013 and 156 in 2012.
Beltre spent his 21-year career playing for four teams. The Dominican Republic native made his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 at age 19, and spent seven seasons with them. He next spent five years with the Seattle Mariners, and then one year with the Boston Red Sox before signing a deal with the Rangers, the team he’d call home for the rest of his career. He spent eight seasons playing in Arlington.
It was more than Beltre’s prodigious talent that won over legions of fans from all over baseball. His personality could never be tamed. There are hundreds of memorable Beltre moments from his long career, but his ejection for picking up and moving the on-deck circle in a July 2017 game is an all-time great baseball moment.
And of course, he’s famous for not wanting his head to be touched. Which meant that everyone was always trying to touch it.
Farewell to Adrian Beltre. We hope nobody touches your head in retirement. pic.twitter.com/uWYTya3Xii
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) November 20, 2018
Congrats to Adrián Beltré on a great career!
He played in a total of 4 Triple-A contests, 2 of which were in Omaha for the @RRExpress in 2011.
(don't worry, we made sure to avoid touching his head) pic.twitter.com/agFecBSZmx
— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) November 20, 2018
Salute Adrian Beltre. He provided 21 years of jokes. Don’t touch the top of his head 😂 pic.twitter.com/860LIJjvOJ
— TooTallVol24 (@thecollinsay) November 20, 2018
Beltre is widely considered to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’ll turn 40 in April, which means he spent half his life playing baseball in the majors. Now with his retirement announced, he can do anything he wants. His fans, and the entire baseball world, will be eager to see what he does next.
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