'All 9 Romine' announces his retirement

December 11th, 2021

The last Major Leaguer to play all nine positions in one game has hung up his versatile spikes for good. , who became known as All 9 Romine for his historic game with the Tigers in 2017, announced his retirement on Friday in an Instagram post.

The post included a photo of him doing a postgame interview in a Tigers uniform the night he became the fifth player in MLB history to play all nine positions in a game on Sept. 30, 2017.

"I was a boy with a dream. A dream of becoming something great,” Romine posted. “To push harder, be better and compete against the best in the world. A dream to be a part of history. As I hang up my cleats today and reflect on my journey through Baseball, all I can think is 'Thank You.'"

Romine thanked everyone from fans to teammates to opponents, trainers, coaches, support staff, front offices, media, stadium workers and family.

Born into a baseball family -- his father Kevin was a Red Sox outfielder from 1985-91 before embarking on a second career as a Los Angeles police detective -- Andrew Romine had to grind to forge an 11-year Major League career. The switch-hitting shortstop was a fifth-round pick in the 2007 Draft out of Arizona State by the Angels, for whom he played parts of four seasons.

Romine is best known for four seasons with the Tigers, who acquired him in a Spring Training trade in 2014. He was Detroit’s shortstop for nearly half of the 2014 season and started there in every game of their 2014 AL Division Series against Baltimore. From there, however, he stayed in Detroit as a utility player -- first as an infielder, then including the outfield.

Not only was Romine willing to move around, he worked to become good at it. The investment paid off with at least 108 games played in three consecutive seasons from 2015-17. In all three seasons, he started at least one game at every infield spot. By 2016, he was a part-time outfielder, including 20 starts in center and 15 in left in '17. He even pitched an inning in a pinch for then-manager Brad Ausmus in '14, then made another appearance in '16.

Ausmus was a Tigers catcher when Shane Halter played all nine positions in a game on the final day of the 2000 season. Ausmus raised the idea of repeating the feat with Romine as far back as 2015. But not until 2017, as Detroit embarked on a rebuilding project and Ausmus neared the end of his Tigers tenure, did the possibility of Romine playing all of those positions in one game take flight.

"He's not a guy that wants or gets a lot of attention,” Ausmus said at the time. “He's unique in the sense that he can play pretty much anywhere, and you feel comfortable with him there, except that you don't want him to pitch or catch. It gives him kind of a day in the sun, so to speak."

After toying with the idea for weeks and working out the logistics, Ausmus put it into action for the next-to-last game of the 2017 season, a Saturday night game against the Twins at Target Field. With family in the stands, Romine was the starting left fielder, spent an inning there, then began moving around. He played the second inning in center, the third in right, moved to third base for the fourth inning, then played shortstop in the fifth and second base in the sixth. He caught for five batters in the seventh inning -- his lone career appearance behind the plate -- moved back to second base, retired his lone batter faced as a pitcher in the eighth inning on an 85 mph fastball, then finished out the game at first base to complete the defensive cycle. The crowd -- family and otherwise -- gave him a standing ovation.

“That was something else,” Romine said after the Tigers' victory. “I was trying to focus as much as I could without getting caught up in the moment. Because moving around and stuff, it got hectic, but it was fun. It was a lot of fun.”

Romine played three more years in the Majors, including a stretch this past season with the Cubs. His 11th and final Major League home run was a game-tying three-run drive in the eighth inning on Aug. 6 at Wrigley Field.

Romine, who will turn 36 years old on Christmas Eve, finished his career with a .233 average, .587 OPS, 41 doubles, 86 RBIs and 40 stolen bases over 609 career big league games as a position player, including at least 24 games at every infield position and left and center field.

In eight career pitching appearances, he allowed nine runs on 12 hits over 6 2/3 innings with four home runs, five walks and two strikeouts.