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Former Dodger Adrian Beltre retires after 21 seasons, 3,166 hits

Adrian Beltre is retiring after 21 seasons and 3,166 hits.

The 39-year-old third baseman announced his decision Tuesday in a statement released by the Texas Rangers.

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“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. “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.”

Beltre was a .286 hitter with 1,707 RBIs in 2,933 career games. His 3,166 hits rank 16th on baseball's career list, with his homers total 30th and RBIs 24th. He played 2,759 games at third base — only Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson had more.

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.

His breakout season came in 2004, when he hit .334 with 48 home runs and finished second in the voting for National League MVP.

Adrian Beltre smiles during Dodgers batting practice on Sept. 7, 2004.
Adrian Beltre smiles during Dodgers batting practice on Sept. 7, 2004. (Matt Sayles / Associated Press)

He left the Dodgers as a free agent the following offseason and was with the Seattle Mariners from 2005-09 and the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He joined the Rangers as a free agent in 2011 and appeared in his only World Series in his first season with Texas.

“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.”

Beltre hit .273 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs in 119 games this season, when he went on the disabled list twice because of an ailing left hamstring issue that also bothered him at the end of the 2017 season.

He got his 3,000th career hit on July 30, 2017, the 31st major leaguer to reach that milestone.

“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.”

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