After a career that spanned 19 seasons and eight teams, Nelson Cruz is retiring from baseball, he told The Adam Jones Podcast on Thursday.
Cruz, 43, spent eight seasons with the Texas Rangers from 2006 to 2013, earning two All-Star nods and ALSC MVP in 2011. He’s also a three-time All-Star with the Seattle Mariners, where he played from 2015 to 2018, after a season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2014 that saw him lead the major leagues with 40 home runs.
Cruz, a seven-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger, also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres. He’s hit 464 career home runs, slashing .274/.343/.513 through 2,055 career games.
The Dominican Republic native also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2021 and is a two-time Edgar Martínez Award winner (2017, 2019).
Cruz’s legacy with the Twins
In his first year as the Twins’ manager, Rocco Baldelli needed a strong voice to run his clubhouse in 2019 and Cruz was perfect for the job. Whether it was bringing together the entire group, demonstrating the work ethic necessary to be a great player, or simply hitting the ball all over the yard, the free agent signee instantly transformed the team’s culture. He was a role model to some, a father figure to others and led the Twins’ Bomba Squad as it smashed a major-league record 307 homers.
Even on his way out, Cruz was the gift that kept giving as his trade to the Rays in July 2021 netted the Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan. — Dan Hayes, Twins senior writer
(Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins / Getty Images)