Former Lansing Lugnuts outfielder Carlos Beltran announced his retirement Monday after playing parts of 20 seasons in the major leagues, capped by a World Series title won by his last team, the Houston Astros, earlier this month.
After appearing in 14 games with the Kansas City Royals in September 1998, Beltran won the American League Rookie of the Year award in his first full season. He batted .293 with 22 HR, 108 RBI and 27 SB in 156 games with the ’99 Royals. He ended up playing for seven different MLB teams during his career, collecting 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, and 1,587 RBI to go with a .279 batting average along the way.
In addition to winning the Rookie of the Year award, Beltran was a nine-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards, and twice finished in the top 10 in voting for Most Valuable Player awards.
Though he fell short of 3,000 hits and 500 homers — milestones that go a long way toward helping players get into the Baseball Hall of Fame (though that’s not a guarantee anymore) — Beltran certainly will be a strong candidate when he becomes eligible for the HOF five years from now.
Beltran is already in a baseball hall of fame — the Lansing Lugnuts Hall of Fame. Although he batted only .143 (6-for-42) with two doubles, a stolen base, a walk, and 11 strikeouts in 11 games with the ’96 ‘Nuts, his subsequent major-league achievements led to him being one of three former Lansing players chosen for the team’s inaugural HOF class in 2010. (Carlos Zambrano and Brian Dopirak were the other two.)