Carlos Beltran’s two-decade run as one of Major League Baseball’s most dynamic talents officially came to a close Monday when the nine-time All-Star outfielder announced he will retire.
Beltran, 40, will go out a champion: He hit 14 home runs for the Houston Astros this season before they went on to win their first World Series title.
Yet his final act – which was anticipated, but finally confirmed Monday in a posting on The Players’ Tribune – hardly sums up a career that will likely culminate in his induction to baseball’s Hall of Fame five years from now.
A native of Puerto Rico, Beltran belted 435 home runs, stole 312 bases and had a lifetime on base plus slugging of .835 – much of it while manning center field, for which he earned three Gold Glove awards.
He was the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year for the Kansas City Royals, and led both the Astros (in his first go-round) and New York Mets to within one game of pennants in 2004 and 2006, respectively.
Beltran did not reach the World Series until 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost in six games to the Boston Red Sox. He also played three seasons with the New York Yankees and partial seasons with the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers following midseason trades.
Excerpt below on his retirement:
“I had always dreamed about winning a championship, and I chased every opportunity to do so in my career. But I never thought that I needed to win a World Series to make my career complete. Like I said before, I realized early on that my purpose in this game was to share knowledge with younger players and to give back to the game of baseball. I always wanted to do that — that, and be the best teammate I could possibly be. Over 20 years, I feel like I accomplished that. So whether we won or lost Game 7, I would have still been happy with my career.
But it still feels nice to have a ring….
And now, if I have to leave you with only one thing — one thing that I think represents my career and the way I feel about everybody who has been a part of it — I will leave you with a story about something that happened right after we won the World Series.
We were in the clubhouse, celebrating as a team, and all of the young guys — Springer, Marwin, Correa, Altuve — they were all coming up to me saying, ‘Thank you, Carlos! … Gracias! Gracias! … Thank you for everything!’
I stopped them and I said, “No, no, my friends. No….
This is and always will be my response when someone thanks me for what I’ve done in this game. Because I am so eternally grateful.
I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years.
I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations.
I am blessed to have shared all of my experiences with my wife and my three kids, my family and friends. To have so many loving fans. To have been able to build a school in Puerto Rico and change the lives of so many kids. To have won the Roberto Clemente Award, which is the greatest honor I could have ever received as a ballplayer.
And I am blessed to be a champion.
But now, my time as a player has come to an end.
Today, I am officially announcing my retirement.
Muchas gracias, béisbol.
I can’t wait for what the next chapter holds.”