BOSTON (AP) — Steve Pearce, the career journeyman who broke loose to become the unlikely MVP of the 2018 World Series, says he’s done playing after an injury-plagued season for the Boston Red Sox.
“You know what? It has been a good run. I have 10 years in there. Right now I am officially retired,” Pearce said.
Pearce made the announcement Monday night on WEEI while the Boston radio station aired a replay of the 2018 World Series opener between the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. He homered and hit a three-run double in Game 4, then homered twice the next day as the Red Sox took title.
Pearce, who turned 37 on Monday, was hurt most of last season and didn’t play after May 31. He became a free agent after the season.
Overall, he played on seven major league teams — all five clubs in the AL East, plus Pittsburgh and Houston. He hit .254 with 91 homers in 766 games over 13 seasons, primarily as an outfielder and first baseman.
“What Steve did for us in ’18 was pretty incredible,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday on a conference call. “From the first game he played he fit in great. His personality worked really well. And what he did on the field was outstanding.”
Pearce hit just .180 with one home run and nine RBIs in 29 games last season. He began the year on the injured list with a calf strain and later was sidelined by back and knee trouble.
Pearce’s path to glory came in the summer of 2018 when Toronto traded him to Boston for a minor league infielder. He played 50 games for the Red Sox in the regular season and reached base in each of his 12 postseason games.
In the World Series, he went 4 for 12 with three homers, drove in eight runs and scored five. The performance helped Pearce earn a one-year contract worth $6.25 million.
“Baseball’s a funny game,” he said when presented with the MVP award at Dodger Stadium. “The longer you stay in the game, great things can happen.”
“You never know where the game will take you,” he said. “And I’ve gone through a lot in my life or in my career to be here, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Pearce also dismissed allegations the Red Sox used video to improperly steal catchers’ signs in 2018. Major League Baseball has been investigating the situation.
“No. That’s such a joke to us,” Pearce said on WEEI.
“We won it fair and square. Whatever they accused us of, we were all kind of like, ‘I can’t believe this is even an issue.’ Once the report comes out we’re all going to be free.”
Pearce told the station he recently made one key purchase — season tickets to see Tom Brady play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs’ stadium is near Pearce’s home in Florida.
“I’ve been a huge Pats fan pretty much my whole life so I got to watch Tom Brady come in there and take the franchise and do it for 20 years,” Pearce said.
“As much as I love the Patriots, I love Tom Brady, too, and when he gets to come down to Tampa I’m looking forward to watching him play,” he said. “It was a no-brainer for me to get those tickets.”
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