Cervelli retires after 13-year MLB career

October 3rd, 2020

Marlins catcher , who missed the final month of the season due to a concussion, announced his retirement on Saturday.

Through his Instagram page, Cervelli released a statement, citing it was a “difficult decision” to step aside after spending 13 seasons at the Major League level.

The 34-year-old signed as a free agent with the Marlins in December, and he started the season as Jorge Alfaro’s backup. When Alfaro tested positive for COVID-19, Cervelli's playing time increased. But on Aug. 22, he sustained a concussion and was placed on the 60-day injured list soon after. Cervelli has missed significant time due to concussions in each of his last three seasons.

“Today, I want to share the difficult decision I’ve made to end my career as a professional baseball player,” Cervelli wrote. “I feel it’s important to share this with you, the fans, because your support throughout my 18-year-long [professional] career has meant so much -- you helped make my journey possible.”

Cervelli’s career began with the Yankees in 2008. The veteran also played for the Pirates, Braves and Marlins. Over his 13 big league seasons, he appeared in 730 games and hit .268.

Cervelli hit .245 with three homers and seven RBIs in 16 games with Miami. His impact with the Marlins extended beyond the playing field, as he was a leader on the team and a mentor to the catchers.

“During my career, I encountered injuries and made some bad decisions,” Cervelli wrote. “But I also learned so much. This game has brought me endless joy and happiness. I’ve received incredible support by so many, including countless teammates -- my brothers in baseball -- that I will carry in my heart forever. I also hold great pride in knowing that I strived to constantly make the impossible possible.”

Marlins manager Don Mattingly recently said he had conversations with Cervelli. The message Mattingly and the organization sent the veteran catcher was they were concerned about his long-term health.

The Marlins advanced to the National League Division Series on Friday, and Cervelli’s inspiration has helped motivate this upstart team. The Miami Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America honored Cervelli with the Jeff Conine “Heart & Professionalism” Award.

In his retirement post, Cervelli urged people to pursue their dreams.

“My advice?” he wrote. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your dreams. If I did it, you can do it, too. Today, I retire happy and fully satisfied, because I gave my heart and soul to this wonderful game. I am retiring because the time has come to put my health before my career.

“For a long time, I put baseball first, through countless concussions and injuries, because this game was my life; my whole world. But it’s clear to me now that my future holds so much more. For the first time in a long time, I know my health and wellness needs to be the leadoff. It’s time."

For years, Cervelli’s walkup song was Dean Martin’s rendition of “That’s Amore.” So he gave a fitting end to his retirement post.

"I will never forget all that this game has taught me," Cervelli said. "I wouldn’t trade the blood, sweat and tears for anything in the world. This game will always be my greatest love, because… well, THAT’S AMORE!"