Gary Sheffield retires from baseball

Gary Sheffield, who last played in the majors with the New York Mets in 2009, told the New York Post that he called the Major League Baseball Players Association on Wednesday and officially retired.

"I wanted to retire after I played for the Mets," Sheffield told the newspaper. "My family said wait one year, that there was no need to rush it. I gave it a year and now it's time to say goodbye."

Sheffield finishes his career with 509 home runs, 1,676 RBIs and a .292 career batting average. He is 24th on the all-time home run list and 25th on the career RBIs list.

He played for the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Mets over 22 major league seasons.

Sheffield will be eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame after the 2014 season.

"I am sure it will be mentioned and debated but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame," Sheffield told the newspaper. "A lot of them don't belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats."

Of the players who have hit 500 career homers, 15 have been elected to the Hall of Fame. Among the 15 not in the hall, three players (Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez) are active and five players are not yet eligible (Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Sheffield). Only two players who have hit 500 home runs and have been eligible for election -- Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro -- are not in the hall.

McGwire's and Palmeiro's connection to performance-enhancing drugs has factored into their omission. Sheffield was named in the Mitchell report on PED use in Major League Baseball, but Sheffield said his inclusion in the report should not cloud his candidacy for the Hall of Fame.

On page 116 of the report, Sheffield is among the players who are alleged to have purchased "the cream" and "the clear" from BALCO founder Victor Conte. On page 136, a FedEx receipt from Sheffield to BALCO found during a 2003 search of trainer Greg Anderson's condominium is referenced. On that same page, an excerpt from Sheffield's book "Inside Power" where he acknowledges receiving a bill from BALCO for "vitamins" is mentioned. His testimony before the BALCO grand jury -- he testified not knowing whether "the cream" contained steroids -- is also referenced.

"The thing about the Mitchell report is that I cringe about it because the guy who wrote the report didn't talk to me," Sheffield told the newspaper. "If he talked to me I would respect that no matter what. But I cringe on that because he didn't."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report