Greer's all-out, aggressive style made him a fan favorite during
his nine playing seasons (1994-2002) that included the team's only
three AL West titles. That also led to the multiple injuries and
surgeries that ended his career.
Texas declined Greer's 2005 contract option in October, making
him a free agent. The Rangers, however, were interested in him
coming to spring training on a minor league contract.
"Rusty had a great career," Rangers manager Buck Showalter
said Sunday. "He could really show his consistency over a 162-game
season. He was a great competitor and did things the right way, on
and off the field."
Greer, who turned 36 last month, said he retired because he
didn't know if he could make it through another season physically.
He also wanted to spend more time with his family, including three
Minnesota and Tampa Bay had also expressed interest in Greer.
Greer was a .305 career hitter in 1,027 games. He averaged 146
games a year from 1995-99, and his three 100-RBI seasons coincided
with the Rangers' three division titles (1996, 1998 and 1999).
"He was blessed with a lot of things other players don't
have," Showalter said. "He played hard, but he never took himself
too serious. He was a voice of calm and reality."
His offensive production and highlight-reel catches made him one
of the team's most consistent performers.
But all that hard play took a cumulative toll on his body. He's
been through numerous surgeries since 2000, including procedures on
his left rotator cuff and his right ankle. He also had surgery to
relieve a pinched nerve and to fuse two vertebrae in his neck.
His last game was a defensive replacement July 11, 2002. That
was his first appearance more than a month after making two diving
catches in a game against the Kansas City Royals.
Greer collected $21.8 million from 2002-2004 as part of a
contract extension he signed in 2001. He received a $600,000 buyout
from the Rangers, instead of the $8.1 million option for 2005.