Adrián Beltré announced his retirement on Tuesday after 21 seasons in the league. Beltré had alluded to the possibility this would be his last year playing for much of the season, and chose to stay with the Rangers at the trade deadline rather than going to a contender for one final postseason berth.
Beltré played multiple seasons with the Dodgers, Mariners, and Rangers with one successful season in Boston with the Red Sox thrown in for good measure. He’s one of the most entertaining guys to have ever played the game from a personality perspective. Even when, or especially when, he got a little surly out there.
He ends his career with 477 home runs, 3,166 hits, and more than 1,700 RBI. His shenanigans with teammates and best friend Felix Hernandez might be more memorable than all of those things combined. He’s a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, which happened without us realizing it. But he’s a sure thing for Cooperstown.
The Rangers released Beltré’s statement about his decision in which he says “after careful consideration and many sleepless nights” he came to the conclusion it was time to say goodbye to baseball. He thanks his wife, God, Baseball God (Scott Boras), and Tommy Lasorda, the last one 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.”
Beltré is one of just 11 players in baseball history to reach both the 3,000 hit and 400 home run threshold, alongside Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, Eddie Murray, Stan Musial, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski, Albert Pujols and Cal Ripken. He was the first Dominican player to reach 3,000 hits with Pujols following him a season later.
According to Baseball Reference only 37 players in baseball history have a better career WAR than Beltré, who ends with 95.7 career WAR — second among active players. 54.4 of that came after he turned 30. But more important than the numbers is his love of the game and willingness to enjoy himself even on the biggest stage. That’s something that few players do and the reason we will miss him the most.
The one thing we know for sure is that when he gets inducted into Cooperstown, Felix better at the ceremony there to goof on him and touch his head.