Former New York Mets outfielder and short-term Yankees experiment, Jay Bruce, announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Sunday morning after 14 professionals seasons.
“I’ve decided to make the very difficult decision to retire from baseball,” Bruce wrote. “All I ever wanted to be ‘when I grew up’ was a baseball player, and to say that I got to live out my dream would the understatement of a lifetime.”
Bruce won a spot in the Yankees’ lineup to start the season — an avenue that was opened up due to Luke Voit’s injury. A natural corner outfielder, the 34-year-old saw most of his time at first base in the Bronx.
A 4-for-34 start to 2021, however, saw manager Aaron Boone begin to phase Bruce out of the lineup, opting to start DJ LeMahieu at first and the newly-acquired Rougned Odor at second.
“It was tough,” Bruce said via Zoom later Sunday morning. “I feel like it really hit me a week ago when the thought didn’t stop leaving my mind. I really wanted to think it thoroughly and think it through and on Friday, I decided to let Aaron know that my plan was to retire.
“The reason I ultimately chose to do this, over 13 years of playing pretty much every single day, I set a standard of what I expected out of myself, or at least to perform at that level… Ultimately, I just felt like I couldn’t perform at the level that I expected out of myself. For me to do what I needed to do, it just wasn’t in the cards. It’s tough, but I feel at peace with it.”
Bruce debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 2008 where he quickly developed into a reliable power hitter, recording 20 or more home runs in nine of his first 10 seasons.
A three-time All-Star, he was acquired midway through the 2016 season by the Mets to spark a playoff push. He hit eight home runs with 19 RBI in 50 games, helping the Mets clinch a berth in the NL Wild Card Game.
He launched 29 home runs with 75 RBI in 103 games in Queens the following season, but a Mets team going nowhere dealt Bruce’s expiring contract to the Cleveland Indians.
He signed back with the Mets in 2018, where injuries shortened his campaign to 94 games.
Before signing on with the Yankees, Bruce made pitstops with the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners.
“Every stop I made throughout these 14 seasons were special, and my family and I are so appreciative of all the help and hospitality along the way,” Bruce wrote. “I’ve always loved baseball and will be a fan for life.”
Bruce finishes his career with a .244/.314/.467 slash line (.781 OPS) with 1,455 hits, 319 home runs, and 951 RBI.