Former Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2018 MLB season, wrapping up an illustrious 21-year career that also featured stops with the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
While Beltre spent the first seven seasons of his career in Los Angeles, he departed the organization before hitting his prime and went on to find success elsewhere.
Beltre arguably played his finest baseball with the Rangers from 2011-18, where he pieced together a compelling Hall of Fame résumé. Over those eight seasons, he racked up three All-Star appearances, six top-15 MVP finishes, three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards.
A beloved figure in their organization, the Rangers recently honored Beltre by retiring his No. 29 jersey. Among the guests in attendance for the ceremony included former teammates and a familiar face in former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.
Lasorda recently offered high praise for Beltre and deemed him as one of the finest players to ever play in the Dodgers organization, via T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com:
“He was one of the finest young men we ever had in our organization. … The Dodgers,” Lasorda said. “Whatever he accomplishes for the rest of his life, he played for the Dodgers.”
Beltre’s relationship with Lasorda dates back over two decades, when the Dodgers signed him as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1994. Beltre specifically mentioned Lasorda in his retirement letter last year, thanking the Hall-of-Fame manager for taking a chance on him.
Lasorda, the Dodgers’ general manager in 1998, made the surprising decision at the time to promote Beltre to the Majors at the young age of 19. Beltre understandably experienced some growing pains, but credits Lasorda for believing in him from the start.
In seven seasons with the Dodgers, Beltre hit .274/.332/.463 with 176 doubles, 18 triples, 147 home runs and 510 RBI over 3,818 plate appearances (966 games). He enjoyed what was arguably his best individual season in 2004 — his final year with the club — slugging a league-leading 48 home runs and 121 RBI over 156 games.
Beltre had the opportunity to return to Dodger Stadium for a two-game series last season, during which he revealed that he wished he could have played out his entire career with the Dodgers.