Posted on July 25, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine

Troy Tulowitzki
Image via nypost.com

One of the greatest shortstops of his generation is walking away from baseball. On Thursday, current Yankees and longtime Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki announced that he’s retiring from baseball. At age 34, a series of injuries have caught up with the five-time all-star, all but forcing him to call it a day.

“For as long as I can remember, my dream was to compete at the highest level as a Major League Baseball player … to wear a big league uniform and play hard for my teammates and the fans,” Tulowitzki said in the statement released by the Yankees. “I will forever be grateful for every day that I’ve had to live out my dream. It has been an absolute honor.”

Tulowitzki made his big league debut late in the 2006 season and burst onto the scene the following season. He was runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year in 2007. That year, he was an integral part of the Rockies reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Tulowitzki reached his peak in 2010 and 2011, the first two seasons he was named an all-star. During those seasons, he also won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in back-to-back seasons.

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However, injuries always seemed to play a part in Tulowitzki’s career. He missed large chunks of several seasons while playing with the Rockies, including what looked like a career-year in 2014. That trend continued when he was traded to the Blue Jays in the middle of the 2015 season. Despite having many good seasons in Colorado and helping Toronto to the playoffs in both 2015 and 2016, Tulowitzki was sent to the Injured List a dozen different times in his career. Ultimately, the injuries became too much for him to overcome.

After missing the entire 2018 due to surgery to address bone spurs, the Blue Jays released Tulowitzki with two years left on his contract. The Yankees took a chance on him and Tulowitzki was actually the team’s opening day shortstop in 2019. But after playing just five games, Tulowitzki landed on the Injured List with a calf strain. He has attempted to rehab the injury and return to the Yankees but his body hasn’t allowed him to do so. Tulowitzki left a game on April 3 due to the injury in what turned out to be the last game of his career.

“Even though injuries cut him short a little bit, it was a great career,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Tulowitzki. “What I’ll remember is obviously a great player and a guy that played shortstop, a great shortstop, but played it in such a unique way and with a flair.”

When all was said and done, Tulowitzki played 13 major league seasons. In nearly 1,300 games, he hit .290 with 225 home runs and 780 RBIs, posting a career OPS of .856. Along with Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra, he is one of three shortstops to hit at least 20 home runs with an average of .290 at least six times. He also features prominently in Colorado’s record books.

Whether there’s a place in the Hall of Fame for Tulowitzki is a question for another day. Injuries may ultimately end up being the difference between a great career and a Hall-of-Fame-worthy career. However, there’s no denying that for nearly a decade, Tulowitzki was hands down one of the best shortstops in baseball. Despite all that he accomplished, his career still feels incomplete.

“I will always look back with tremendous gratitude for having the privilege of playing as long as I did. There is no way to truly express my gratitude to the fans of Colorado, Toronto, and New York. They always made my family and I feel so welcome,” Tulowitzki said in his career-closing statement. “While this chapter is now over, I look forward to continuing my involvement in the game that I love.”

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