NEW YORK -- Tim Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who put aside football to take up a baseball career, has announced his retirement.
“I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions," Tebow said in a statement. "I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100 percent in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time as a Met.”
Tebow’s run as a professional baseball player lasted four seasons, plus a stint in the Arizona Fall League. He was an Eastern League All-Star while playing for Double-A Binghamton in 2018, but injuries, age and a lost year due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from accomplishing more on the field.
Along the way, Tebow served as a positive clubhouse presence for both Major League and Minor League players. His foundation continued to raise millions for underprivileged and special needs children around the world.
“It has been a pleasure to have Tim in our organization as he’s been a consummate professional during his four years with the Mets,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “By reaching the Triple-A level in 2019, he far exceeded expectations when he first entered the system in 2016 and he should be very proud of his accomplishments.”
The Mets signed Tebow as a Minor League free agent in September 2016. He hit a home run in his first instructional league at-bat that month, then again in his initial at-bats for Class A Columbia in 2017 and Double-A Binghamton in ’18. The 2018 season proved to be his best; Tebow hit .273 with six home runs in 84 games, being named an All-Star before a hand laceration cut his season short in July. Tebow did not return to the field until '19, when a broken bone in his hand ended his season with Triple-A Syracuse after 77 games.
Last March, Tebow was set to represent Team Philippines in the World Baseball Classic, until the pandemic caused the tournament to be canceled. Tebow went home and continued working on his swing. In November, he left the door open for a potential retirement, telling MLB.com that “there are a lot of things that I have weighed and am weighing.” But Tebow said he intended to report to Spring Training as usual. It was not until this week that the plan changed; Tebow’s retirement came mere days after New York announced him as a non-roster invitee to camp.
All told, Tebow spent four spring trainings with the organization, making an impact on players from the bottom of the Minor League ladder up to the big league clubhouse. But baseball was never Tebow’s only pursuit. Throughout his Mets tenure, he continued to work for ESPN and the SEC Network as a college football analyst. He was also extremely active in philanthropy. In addition to his foundation, which recently hosted its seventh “Night to Shine” event for special needs children, Tebow has opened a hospital in the Philippines, as well as 11 playrooms around the world for children facing life-threatening illnesses. His latest mission involves working to combat human trafficking.
“There are a lot of things that I have weighed and am weighing [in my life],” Tebow said in November. “We’re trying to rescue as many trafficked survivors as possible. We’re trying to get 'Night to Shine' in every country in the world. We’re trying to push a lot of things that I’m super passionate about that mean so much to me, and so there’s a balance of pursuing a sport that I love … vs. also pursuing other passions in my life.”