This week was a special one for Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, as he got to return to the stadium and city that he grew up in. It was Beltre’s first time playing ta Dodger Stadium since 2009.
The Dodgers signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 1994, when Beltre was just 15-years-old. He went on to make his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 1998 when he was just 19.
Beltre spent his first seven big league seasons with the franchise, but none were as memorable as his final season. During that 2004 campaign, he hit .334/.388/.629 with a career-high 48 home runs, 121 RBI and second in National League MVP voting.
That was the last season that Beltre played for the Dodgers as he went on to sign a five-year, $64 million contract with the Seattle Mariners during the offseason.
While it didn’t end the way he wanted it to as he said he envisioned being with the organization forever, Beltre is thankful for his time in Los Angeles, especially how the fans treated him, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I will never forget that,” Beltre said as he sat by his locker at the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park in Arlington. “I will never forget that because when you come to the plate and hear those chants, that is so nice. They were great fans. They were great to me.”
Beltre has gone on to have a Hall-of-Fame 21-year MLB career that is still going. He’s been named an All-Star four times in addition to winning five Gold Glove Awards and four Silver Sluggers.
Beltre will likely be enshrined in Cooperstown as a member of the Rangers, although his time in Los Angeles certainly will not be forgotten.
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