With the Texas Rangers in town for a rare two-game Interleague series, the Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed back Adrian Beltre to Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2009.
Beltre, now in his 21st season at the Major League level, began his career with the Dodgers in 1998. He wound up becoming a mainstay on the left side of their infield for seven years before departing as a free agent at the conclusion of the 2004 season.
Beltre went on to enjoy stints with the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox before catching on with the Rangers in 2011, where he has remained ever since.
Now in the twilight years of his illustrious career, the 39-year-old admitted that he never anticipated leaving the Dodgers organization, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I wanted to stay there forever,” Beltre said. “But it didn’t happen. But I don’t regret any move that I’ve made my career. Everything happened for a reason.”
Despite a shorter-than-expected tenure with the Dodgers, Beltre put together what was arguably the finest season of his career in 2004 — his last in the organization.
He produced a .334/.388/.629 slash line with a National League-best 48 home runs and 122 RB1 in 156 games — en route to earning Silver Slugger honors and a second-place finish in MVP voting.
That performance earned Beltre a lucrative contract with the Mariners over the offseason, after the Dodgers’ brass declined to match the offer, and instead, utilize their funds elsewhere.
In seven seasons with Los Angeles from 1998-2004, Beltre hit .272/.332/.463 slash line over 3,818 plate appearances (966 games) with 176 doubles, 18 triples, 147 home runs and 510 RBI.
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