After throwing out 1st pitch, Nelson Cruz retires as a Mariner

Mar 28, 2024, 8:03 PM

Nelson Cruz Seattle Mariners...

Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners jogs off the field during a 2018 game. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Nelson Cruz is perhaps the greatest signing the Seattle Mariners have made in free agency. So it’s only fitting that he has decided to retire as a member of the organization.

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The 43-year-old Cruz played 49 games last season with the San Diego Padres, then announced after the season his intention to retire from his professional baseball playing career.

It was known that Cruz would throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners’ opening day game against the Boston Red Sox at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Thursday night. What was a surprise, however, was that a table was brought out, allowing Cruz to sign a one-day contract and officialy retire as a Mariner.

“I have always identified myself with the Seattle Mariners,” Cruz said. “When I was playing here, I felt comfortable playing the game.”

Pretty cool move by the Mariners and the “Boomstick,” who hit 163 of his 464 career MLB home runs during his four seasons in Mariners uniform – more than he hit with any of the seven other teams he played for. Yes, even more than he had with the Texas Rangers, who he hit 157 homers for over eight seasons.

Watch it all unfold in the video here.

Cruz initially joined the Mariners for the 2015 season, during which he hit 44 home runs and made the fourth of his seven career All-Star Games. He had 43 homers in 2016 with Seattle, then earned two more All-Star nods with the M’s in 2017 and 2018.

Cruz also won the first two of his four career Silver Slugger awards during his Mariners tenure.

Cruz began his MLB career all the way back in 2005 with a brief stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, then went on to Texas, where he made two All-Star teams, won the 2011 ALCS MVP award and played in a World Series. He had one big season with Baltimore in 2014 (during which he led MLB in homers) before coming to Seattle, then spent 2 1/2 seasons with Minnesota, a half-season with Tampa, and one with the Washington Nationals.

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After throwing out 1st pitch, Nelson Cruz retires as a Mariner