Jul 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; American League designated hitter Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins (23) watches warmups before the 2021 MLB All Star Game at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

One of the greatest hitters of his generation is calling it a career, with San Diego Padres designated hitter Nelson Cruz announcing his retirement following 19 seasons in the major leagues.

The 43-year-old Cruz made his announcement on The Adam Jones Podcast.

“So this is the last we’re seeing of Nelson Cruz?” asked Jones, who played with Cruz on the Baltimore Orioles in 2014.

Cruz responded: “I think so, yeah.”

A seven-time All-Star, Cruz’s professional career began when he signed with the New York Mets as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1998. After being traded to the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers, Cruz made his MLB debut with the latter in 2005.

Over the course of his near-two decade career, Cruz spent time with the Brewers (2005), Texas Rangers (2006-2013), Orioles (2014), Seattle Mariners (2015-2018), Minnesota Twins (2019-2021), Tampa Bay Rays (2021), Washington Nationals (2022) and San Diego Padres (2023. In addition to his seven career All-Star appearances, he was named a first-team All-MLB selection in 2019 and a second-team selection in 2020. He also earned four Silver Slugger Awards, led the MLB in home runs in 2014, the American League in RBI in 2017 and won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2021.

Cruz is perhaps best remembered for being named the MVP of the American League Championship Series in 2011 while playing for the Rangers. In a twist of fate, his retirement comes one day after the Rangers won the World Series.

He ends his career with a .274 batting average, .856 OPS, 464 home runs and 1,325 RBI. His 464 career home runs rank 37th all time. In 2013, he was suspended 50 games after being linked to the Biogenesis scandal.

While Cruz’s accomplishments will earn him Hall of Fame consideration, it’s unlikely he’ll ultimately be enshrined in Cooperstown. Nevertheless, his retirement marks the end of the career of one of this era’s most consistent power hitters, and a player who was largely productive through the end of his playing days.

After Cruz announced his retirement on Thursday, many took to social media to weigh in.

[The Adam Jones Podcast]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.