Terry Steinbach, who won a World Series title in Oakland and was MVP of the 1988 All-Star game, retired from his hometown Minnesota Twins on Tuesday so he could spend more time with his family.
"Retirement is something I have honestly been looking forward to," Steinbach said. "There's a lot of Memorial Days and Labor Days and Fourth of July picnics I've got to catch up on here."
Steinbach, 37, who grew up in New Ulm and starred at the University of Minnesota, signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1996 after 10 years with Oakland Athletics, where he played in three World Series and three All-Star games.
Steinbach said his two youngest children, Lucas, 9, and Jake, 6, helped convince him it was time to move on when they went up to him one day last summer and said they'd like for him to go outside and play but understood that he needed his rest.
"When you hear your kids say something like that ... that really sunk in," Steinbach said. "Kids are only small one time and I definitely want to spend some time with them."
Steinbach said he had no immediate career plans but would like to coach at the major league level once he and his wife, Mary, put their three children through college.
Steinbach finished his career with a .271 batting average and 162 home runs, including eight grand slams. His best season was 1996, when he set an AL record for catchers with 34 home runs and his 100 RBIs were the most by an Athletics catcher since Mickey Cochrane in 1932.
Steinbach caught two no-hitters, Dave Stewart's on June 29, 1990, and Eric Milton's last Sept. 11. He was MVP of the 1988 All-Star Game after hitting a home run off Dwight Gooden and won a World Series ring in 1989.
Steinbach informed general manager Terry Ryan of his decision on Tuesday, presumably leaving the starting catcher's job to Javier Valentin, the 24-year-old younger brother of Milwaukee shortstop Jose Valentin.
"This is an occasion where there's a joyous family here that just gained a father and husband," Ryan said. "And it's an organization that just lost a fulltime catcher and a guy that's done a wonderful job for us over the last three years."
Ryan said he only wishes the Twins could have lured Steinbach earlier.
"The biggest regret we have with the Twins is we didn't get him here early enough in his career and at the height of his career," Ryan said. "But we were fortunate enough tget him here for the last three years."
Steinbach batted .284 with four homers and 42 RBIs last season and was the oldest starting catcher in baseball.
"He's going out on top. He's still got a lot to offer to an organization and I expressed that thought," Ryan said. "And unfortunately, I couldn't talk him out of it. His wife won out."
"But I'd like to congratulate Terry on a tremendous career and I thank him for all the contributions he's given the game of baseball."
Steinbach said he'll remain in Minnesota and plans to attend many games.
"I'm not going to run away from the game," he said. "I plan on walking away."
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