Astros’ Michael Brantley announces retirement after 15 seasons in MLB


Houston Astros Michael Brantley (23) points to the dugout after hitting a home run against New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino during the second inning of a MLB baseball game at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 in Houston.
Houston Astros Michael Brantley (23) points to the dugout after hitting a home run against New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino during the second inning of a MLB baseball game at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 in Houston.Karen Warren/Staff photographer

Michael Brantley, the five-time All-Star outfielder and a team pillar during his five seasons with the Astros, announced his retirement Friday after a 15-year major league career.

“It’s been a great honor to live out my dreams and wear a Major League uniform for the past 15 years,” Brantley wrote in a statement through his agency, Excel Sports. “Representing the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Guardians has been an incredible privilege.

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“My deepest thanks go out to my parents, whose support propelled me forward. Thank you to my wife and kids for their constant love and support throughout my career.”

Brantley, 36, left his future open-ended after the 2023 season ended for Houston in the ALCS. It was an arduous year for Brantley, who endured multiple setbacks in his attempt to return from shoulder surgery. He did rejoin the Astros in the season’s final month, after a 14-month absence, and hit a home run in Game 4 of the ALDS as Houston clinched the series in Minnesota.

It marked another of several memorable postseason moments in Brantley’s tenure with Houston. Brantley’s diving catch in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS began a double play and helped Houston secure a trip to the World Series. Although Brantley did not play in the 2022 World Series after his shoulder surgery, his speech after a Game 3 loss became lore after the Astros defeated the Phillies in six games.

In his retirement statement, Brantley also thanked Larry Pardo, the former Brewers scout “whose belief in me in 2005 changed everything.” Milwaukee selected Brantley, the son of former big-league outfielder and hitting coach Mickey Brantley, out of high school in the seventh round in 2005. In 2008, the Brewers sent Brantley to Cleveland as the player to be named later in a trade for starter CC Sabathia.

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Brantley played his first 10 major league seasons with Cleveland. He made his first All-Star team in 2014, a season in which he hit .327 with an .890 OPS and finished third in American League MVP voting. Brantley made two more All-Star teams with Cleveland before departing after the 2018 season and signing with the Astros in free agency.

In five seasons with Houston, Brantley compiled a .305 batting average, .365 on-base percentage and .463 slugging percentage. He made two more All-Star teams and batted .297 in 55 postseason games with the Astros. Mauricio Dubón, the utilityman who joined Houston in 2022, is among Astros players who have credited Brantley with offering guidance.

“When he was rehabbing, it was every day me and him in the tub talking about hitting, talking about what kind of player I am,” Dubón said last October. “I always admire him. … He’s a true professional, and I hope to have close to the career he has.”

Former Astros catcher Martín Maldonado, who like Brantley became a free agent after last season, posted to Instagram on Friday a photo of the two from a postgame clubhouse celebration with the caption: “Congratulations on your amazing career. Best teammate ever.”

A World Series ring eluded Brantley until 2022. An injury sidelined him for most of 2016, when Cleveland reached the World Series and lost to the Cubs, and the Astros fell in seven games to Washington in 2019 and in six games to Atlanta in 2021 with Brantley on the field. While sidelined for the second half of 2022, Brantley remained a presence in the Astros’ clubhouse during the playoffs and spoke after a 7-0 loss in Game 3 in Philadelphia.

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“I just wanted to remind us how good we were and why we got there,” Brantley later said.

Brantley returned in late 2023 to play in 15 regular-season games and eight in the playoffs. He retires with a .298 batting average, .355 on-base percentage and .439 slugging percentage over 1,445 major league games. Among players who compiled at least 6,000 plate appearances from 2010-23, Brantley ranked sixth in batting average and owned the lowest strikeout rate (10.6%).

“To my teammates, managers, coaches, medical staff, clubhouse attendants, and front offices of both organizations, your guidance and camaraderie shaped my career,” Brantley wrote in his statement. “And to the fans, your passion and support have been my driving force. While my time on the field concludes, I’ll always carry these experiences and I want to thank you all for being a part of this unforgettable chapter in my life.”



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