Randy Winn retires after 13 seasons
SAN FRANCISCO -- Veteran outfielder Randy Winn is retiring after 13 major league seasons.
The 36-year-old Winn was granted his release by the Baltimore Orioles on Monday after signing a minor league deal with the club in early February.
The well-traveled Winn is a career .284 hitter with 110 home runs and 662 RBIs in 1,717 games with Tampa Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, the Yankees and St. Louis. He announced his retirement plans in a phone interview with The Associated Press from his home in the Tampa, Fla., area.
Winn, who played college basketball alongside NBA star Steve Nash after walking on at Santa Clara before making the switch to baseball, was selected in the third round of the 1995 draft by the Florida Marlins.
At times, Winn had his doubts whether he would make it in the majors. He reached the big leagues three years after being drafted, making his debut on May 11, 1998, and playing 109 games that season for Tampa Bay. The Rays chose the switch-hitting Winn from the Marlins in the 1998 expansion draft.
"Coming from somebody who didn't get any scholarship to play baseball in college and wasn't drafted out of high school, I wasn't sure I would make it," Winn said. "Once I made it to the big leagues and had a little bit of success, I thought, 'Huh, maybe I can make it.' It was a fun ride."
Winn went to the Mariners in an October 2002 trade -- after his lone All-Star season -- as compensation when former manager Lou Piniella left with a year on his contract to take over the Rays.
At spring training in 2003, Winn joked about being swapped for a manager.
"I'll probably be some sort of a trivia question somewhere down the line," he said.
During his career, Winn quietly went about his business with little fanfare. Former Seattle manager Bob Melvin once referred to him as a "blue-collar player, kind of an unsung hero, the kind of guy you can't win without."
Winn played primarily right field in the latter part of his career but wasn't a regular splitting the 2010 season between the Yankees and Cardinals. He started 135 games and played in 146 for the Giants in 2009, when they were in the playoff chase until mid-September.
"Each place has its own memories," Winn said. "Every place I played holds a special place to me for different reasons."
Once Winn realized he wasn't part of Baltimore's plans, he knew he had to make the tough decision to retire. He said he cherishes the friendships he formed with teammates along the way.
"It was time for me to go," said Winn, who isn't sure what he will do next but plans to enjoy more time with his wife, Blessings, and two young children.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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