After Houston Astros won their first World Series Nov. 1, nine-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltrán, who hit 435 home run over the course of his career, announced that he would be retiring after 20 years in the Major Leagues.
The Puerto Rican athlete, who scored 14 home runs for the Astros this season, wrote an open letter in The Players Tribune sharing the surprising news: “I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years,” he wrote. “I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations. I am blessed to have shared all of my experiences with my wife and my three kids, my family and friends. To have so many loving fans. To have been able to build a school in Puerto Rico and change the lives of so many kids. To have won the Roberto Clemente Award, which is the greatest honor I could have ever received as a ballplayer. And I am blessed to be a champion. But now, my time as a player has come to an end. Today, I am officially announcing my retirement. Muchas gracias, béisbol.”
In his moving piece, Beltrán shares memories and lessons he learned from fellow athletes along the way, including pro golfer Chi Chi Rodríguez, who taught him to ask questions: “‘To be successful in life, Carlos,'” the star Puerto Rican athlete told a young Beltrán, “‘you have to surround yourself with successful people. You can’t be afraid to ask questions to those people that you look up to.” Taking that to heart, he once asked hero and fellow outfielder Barry Bonds to help him with his swing and got tips from right fielder Reggie Jackson on how to make adjust that would allow him to extend the length of the career.
Following his announcement, his team gave him an enthusiastic shout-out on Instagram: “Congratulations on a spectacular and storied career, @cbeltran15! Thank you for all you’ve done in Houston. Forever a champion.”
It may be the end of his time on the field, but Beltrán hopes to parlay the skills he’s acquired over his illustrious career into a managerial role. In his first interview since announcing his retirement, the 40-year-old told MLB.com that he “would love to have the opportunity to manage.” He also plans to continue his philanthropic and charity efforts: When Hurricane Maria struck his homeland in September, he and his wife Jessica started a relief fund on CrowdRise, raising a whopping $1 million.