Troy Tulowitzki, a five-time All-Star with the Colorado Rockies and one of the greatest players to ever come out of Long Beach State’s Dirtbag baseball program, announced his retirement on Thursday, more than three months after he played in his last game for the New York Yankees.
“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,” he said in a statement issued by the Yankees before a series against Boston. “I will forever be grateful for every day that I’ve had to live out my dream. It has been an absolute honor.”
Tulowitzki was the Dirtbags starting shortstop for three years (2003-05) and was an All-American as a junior. He hit .310 as a Dirtbag with 20 home runs. He was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the seventh overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, which was the highest LBSU draft pick to that point.
Tulowitzki, who has missed most of the past two seasons with leg injuries, was NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2007, when he helped the Rockies reach the World Series for the only time in franchise history. He finished in the top 10 of the NL MVP voting three straight years from 2009-11; in all, he received MVP votes in six seasons.
He was traded to Toronto in the middle of 2015 and hit .254 with 24 homers and 79 RBIs the next year, his last full season in the majors. He spent most of 2017 on the disabled list with and ankle injuries, and then missed all of last season with following April 2018 surgery on both heels.
The five-time All-Star shortstop was induced into the LBSU Hall Of Fame in 2013 where he donated $1 million to built the new batting cages at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field. He also returned to Blair last year to rehab before signing with the New York Yankees in the offseason. He won the shortstop job in spring training while starter Didi Gregorius opened the season on the injured list following Tommy John surgery. But Tulowitzki lasted just five games before going on the IL himself, straining his left calf on April 3.
“Even though injuries cut him short a little bit, it was a great career,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “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. He looked at home out there playing shortstop.”
Tulowitzki finished with a .290 average, 225 homers and 780 RBIs in 13 seasons with Colorado (2006-15), Toronto (2015-17) and the Yankees. He is one of three shortstops in major league history to with at least 20 home runs and a .290 average in six different seasons; the others are Alex Rodriguez (seven) and Nomar Garciaparra (six).
He wore No. 2 in honor of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
“I look forward to continuing my involvement in the game that I love, instructing and helping young players to achieve their goals and dreams,” he wrote. “I’m saying goodbye to Major League Baseball, but I will never say goodbye 2 the game I love. Thanks again 2 all of you!”
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.