ARLINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who appears to be a lock for future induction into the Hall of Fame, has announced he is retiring from baseball.
Beltre made the announcement in a statement released by the Rangers on Tuesday morning.
"After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, I have made the decision to retire from what I've been doing my whole life, which is playing baseball, the game I love," Beltre said.
Beltre just finished his 21st season in the Major Leagues and his eighth with the Rangers. He finished the season undecided about his future, but he was clearly leaning toward retirement. He wanted to consult with his family before making a final decision.
"I have thought about it a lot, and although I appreciate all the opportunities and everything that baseball has given me, it's time to call it a career," Beltre said. "I have enjoyed the privilege of playing professional baseball since I was 15 years old. I have been blessed to have played 21 seasons at the highest level in Major League Baseball."
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Beltre finished his career having played in 2,933 games, the 14th most in Major League history. That is just one of many categories in which he ranks among the all-time greats. He is also 16th with 3,166 career hits, 24th with 1,707 RBIs and 30th with 477 home runs.
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Among third basemen, Beltre has few peers. In addition to being the only player at his position with both 3,000 career hits and 400 homers, he leads all third basemen in career hits and RBIs, and ranks third in home runs behind only Mike Schmidt (548) and Eddie Mathews (512).
"Adrian is one of the best people I've had the opportunity to work with. He stands out as much off the field as he does on it," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He is a Hall of Fame-level teammate, husband and father. He helped raise the Rangers' franchise to a new level.
"Among the many, many examples of selflessness over the years, his performance in the second half of 2015 stands out. Against the advice of doctors, he played through a badly injured thumb that required surgery when the season ended. He played at a top level, and set the tone for the rest of the club. It is symbolic for how he carried himself and led the organization every day."
Beltre, who broke in with the Dodgers at the age of 19 in 1998, played in four All-Star Games, and won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger Awards. He helped the Rangers win division titles in 2011, '15 and '16, and he helped them to reach the World Series in '11. The Rangers lost to the Cardinals in seven games, which remains the biggest disappointment of his career.
Video: WS2011 Gm6: Beltre homers to give Rangers late lead
"We have been honored to have Adrian Beltre as a Texas Ranger for the last eight years," said Randers co-chairman and managing partner Ray Davis. "Adrian has represented this organization in an exemplary fashion on and off the field, and it has been a privilege for all of us to be associated with him.
"He is one of the greatest third basemen to ever play this game. But his greatest legacy will be as a teammate, a mentor, a husband and a father. On behalf of our ownership group and everyone in the Texas Rangers organization, I congratulate Adrian Beltre for a remarkable career and wish him and his family all the best."
Beyond all the accomplishments, Beltre remains one of the most respected players in the game. His departure will be a major loss not only for the Rangers, but across the game.
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"Adrian is a baseball machine," former teammate Michael Young said. "I knew he was good when we got him, and his reputation as a great teammate preceded him. He blew all expectations out of the water. Just off the charts [as a] player and teammate. Congratulations to him and his family. What a ride."
Beltre was hoping for one more shot at a World Series, but the Rangers are in a rebuilding mode after two straight losing seasons. Beltre, who also played with the Mariners and the Red Sox along with the Dodgers and Rangers in his career, was not interested in playing for any other team but Texas next season.
"I want to thank God, my amazing wife Sandra for your unwavering and unconditional love, support and understanding throughout my entire baseball career," Beltre said. "My three awesome children, Cassie, A.J and Camila for being the best baseball kids, my parents, and my entire family for all your love and support.
"I also want to thank my agents, Scott Boras, Mike Fiore and the entire Boras Corp. for always believing in my talent. A huge THANK YOU goes to the numerous teammates, managers, coaches and staff members from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and especially the Texas Rangers."
The Rangers signed Beltre as a free agent before the 2011 season, and his tenure with them was his longest with any club. It is likely that Beltre will follow Nolan Ryan and Ivan Rodriguez as the third player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Ranger.
"These past eight seasons playing in a Rangers' uniform have been the best of my career, and were made possible thanks to Rangers' owners Ray Davis, Bob Simpson and Neil Leibman, general manager Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and the late Don Welke," Beltre said. "I also owe a huge part of my success in Texas to the amazing Rangers fans. You guys are the best!"
Beltre was signed by the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic on July 7, 1994. It was Tommy Lasorda, who was the Dodgers' general manager at the time, who made the decision to promote Beltre to the big leagues at the age of 19.
Video: Adrian Beltre's first and last Major League hits
"I also have to acknowledge and thank Tommy Lasorda for believing in this young kid from the Dominican Republic when others thought I was too young to be called up to the big leagues," Beltre said. "To all my fans in the Dominican Republic, the United States and Latin America, my sincerest THANK YOU for your continuous support throughout my career.
"While I will forever cherish the memories from my time playing the greatest game on earth, I am excited to become a fulltime husband and father, and I am ready to take on the next chapter of my life. It's been one hell of a ride!
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.