Adrian Beltre, the third baseman whose defensive wizardry and infectious personality animated the Texas Rangers for the past eight years, retired Tuesday.
The 39-year-old is the first player from the Dominican Republic to top the career milestone of 3,000 hits. He collected 3,166 hits in all — which ranks 16th in major league history.
Beltre announced his decision in a statement released by the Rangers, saying it is time for the "next chapter of my life."
"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 wrote. "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."
Michael Young, who played with Beltre on the 2011 Rangers team that just missed winning the World Series, tweeted that his friend is a lock for baseball's Hall of Fame.
Congrats, AB. Yes...a HOFer, 3000 knocks, best defender at 3rd I ever saw.
But, above all, a perfect teammate. pic.twitter.com/2grL299Ar0
— Michael Young (@MikeyY626) November 20, 2018
Beltre played 2,933 career games over 21 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and finally, the Rangers. He played 2,759 games at third base — only Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson had more. His career batting average was .286, with 477 home runs (30th all-time) and 1,707 runs batted in (24th).
"We have been honored to have Adrian Beltre as a Texas Ranger for the last eight years," team co-chairman and managing partner Ray Davis said. "Adrian has represented this organization in an exemplary fashion on and off the field, and it has been a privilege for all of us to be associated with him. He is one of the greatest third basemen to ever play this game. But his greatest legacy will be as a teammate, a mentor, a husband, and a father."
The four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner made his big-league debut at 19 with the Dodgers in 1998. In his statement, Beltre thanked former Dodgers manager 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 majors.
"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 wrote. "While I will forever cherish the memories from my time playing the greatest game on earth, I am excited to become a fulltime husband and father, and I am ready to take on the next chapter of my life."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.