The exceptional career of a former Los Angeles Dodger has come to an end, as shortstop Rafael Furcal announced his retirement from professional baseball after 14 MLB seasons.
The 37-year-old, who played for the Atlanta Braves, Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, signed a Minor League contract with the Kansas City Royals in March, hitting .240 in seven games with the Royals’ Class-A and Double-A affiliates. Persistent hamstring injuries derailed the speedy switch-hitter’s comeback attempt, via Joey Nowak of MLB.com:
To play in the Major Leagues for 14 seasons was a dream come true,” Furcal said in a statement. “I love the game, but at this point, I don’t feel like I can play up to my standards anymore and want to spend more time with my beautiful family. I really appreciate the opportunity [general manager] Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals provided me this year.”
The 5-foot-8 Furcal retires with a career batting average of .281 and 314 stolen bases. In 2000, he was named National League Rookie of the Year as member of the Braves, and was named an All-Star three times (twice with the Dodgers) in his career. The Dodgers traded Furcal to the Cardinals prior to the trade deadline in 2011, after which he went on to win the 2011 World Series with St. Louis. He signed a one-year deal with the Marlins prior to the 2014 season, but only managed to play nine games with Miami.
Aside from his offensive and defensive skills, Furcal was renowned for his leadership. In 2006, his first year with the Dodgers, he was awarded the inaugural Roy Campanella Award. The award is voted on only by Dodgers players, and is given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame Dodgers catcher.