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Next stop, Cooperstown? Adrian Beltre announces retirement

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Is Beltre a first-ballot Hall of Famer? (1:53)

Adrian Beltre retires after 21 MLB seasons so The Dan Le Batard Show debates if his 3,166 hits and 477 home runs merit him becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer. (1:53)

After 21 seasons and over 3,000 hits, Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has announced his retirement.

In a statement in which he thanked his family, fans, agents and former teams -- and former Los Angeles Dodgers executive Tommy Lasorda -- Beltre said it's simply "time to call it a career."

"After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, I have made the decision to retire from what I've been doing for my whole life, which is playing baseball, the game I love," Beltre, who will turn 40 in April, said in a statement released by the Rangers.

The native of the Dominican Republic is a strong candidate to make the Hall of Fame. His 3,166 hits rank 16th all time and are the most among foreign-born players, as he passed Ichiro Suzuki for that distinction this past season. Beltre, a four-time All-Star selection, won six Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards while also compiling 477 home runs, 1,707 RBIs and a career .286 batting average.

He did not win a World Series ring. He batted .300 (9-for-30) during the 2011 World Series, which Texas lost to St. Louis.

At the end of the 2018 season, he ranked first among active players in hits, games played (2,933, 14th all time), at-bats (11,068, eighth all time) and plate appearances (12,130). He was second among active players in home runs, RBIs, WAR (95.7, 38th all time), runs scored (1,524, 64th), doubles (636, 11th), total bases (5,309, 14th) and extra-base hits (1,151, 14th).

Beltre, who made $18 million in 2018, averaged only a little more than 100 games the past two seasons as he battled through a number of injuries to his hamstrings and calf. He still managed to hit .273 with 15 home runs and 65 RBIs in 2018.

At the age of 19, Beltre broke into the majors with the Dodgers in 1998, playing seven seasons there before signing with the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2005 season. After five seasons in Seattle, he joined the Boston Red Sox in 2010 and then the Rangers in 2011.