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Thursday, February 6
Updated: March 13, 11:59 AM ET
 
Justice won World Series titles with the Yanks, Braves

ESPN.com news services

David Justice was a money player. In the postseason and in the regular season, he shined the brightest in situations when his team needed a clutch hit. As a pitcher, you were always aware of him in the lineup. I'm sure a lot of major-league pitchers are glad today to hear he's retiring.

After his rookie year in 1990, Justice played in an amazing 12 straight postseasons (six with the Braves, three with the Indians, two with the Yankees and one with the A's). And he played a significant role in his teams' success. The Braves of this era will always be known for their dominant pitching, but Justice was the marquee hitter in their lineup for the first half of the '90s. I remember watching him win the 1995 World Series for Atlanta with a home run against Cleveland.

Justice grew as a hitter throughout his career. Against a knuckleball pitcher like me, he learned to be patient. Early in his career, he was aggressive and loved to hit the fastball. But over time he became a complete hitter. He'd wait for the curveball and the off-speed pitch, looking for a certain pitch in a certain situation. Plenty of hitters never make those adjustments.

Also, I ran a charity auction for years (the cause was missing children), and Justice was always willing to donate a bat or ball or glove. I would sometimes feel bad asking him, but he always came through without question.

David Justice announced his retirement on the Dan Patrick show on ESPN Radio on Thursday afternoon.

"Fourteen seasons is long enough," said Justice, whose teams made the playoffs in 12 of the 14 seasons he played. "I have a diminished desire to play."

Justice, who was a key player during the Atlanta Braves' dominance in the 1990s, ended his career after playing with four different teams. He won World Series titles with the Braves in 1995 and the New York Yankees in 2000.

Going into the 2002 season with the Oakland Athletics, Justice hinted it might be his last year.

"I don't foresee myself playing really past (2002)," Justice said in December 2001. "I'm going to think long and hard about it. I'm at that age now. When you get to be 36, you start thinking about when is time going to be up, and the fact that I don't have a contract after this year makes me think about it."

The three-time All-Star hit .266 with 11 home runs in 118 games last season with the Athletics. He didn't homer in his final 69 at-bats of the regular season and was 5 for 21 with no homers and four RBI in Oakland's AL Division Series loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Justice hit .279 with 305 homers and 1,017 RBI in 1,610 games in his career.

A's general manager Billy Beane said he plans to discuss with Justice staying with the organization in some capacity, possibly in a special assignment role. Beane said he was playing phone tag with Justice.

"We have to see what David wants to do, and maybe try to determine something for him,'' Beane said Thursday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.




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