By JAKE SEINER, AP Baseball writer
Tim Tebow is retiring from baseball after five years as a minor leaguer with the New York Mets.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner returned to baseball for the first time since his junior year in high school in 2016, achieving Triple-A, encouraged by then general manager and current team president Sandy Alderson.
Tebow played 77 games in the highest minor league in baseball in 2019, beating 0.163 with four home runs. He finished his career averaging .223 over 287 games.
“I would like to thank the Mets, Alderson, the fans and all of my teammates for the chance to be part of such a great organization,” said Tebow in a statement released in New York on Wednesday. “I loved every minute of the trip, but at this point I feel called in other directions.
“I never want to be partially involved in anything. I always want to be 100% involved in whatever I choose. Thanks again for everyone supporting this great journey in baseball. I will always treasure my time.”
The 33-year-old, a left-handed outfielder, was invited to spring training in the Major League this season and took up one of the 75 places in New York as a precautionary measure after Major League Baseball capped the size of the spring roster. Position players are not due to report to the Mets Spring Complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida until next week.
In four big league spring training sessions, Tebow faced .151 in 34 games and bonded for his first and only homer last spring before the camps closed.
“It was a pleasure to have Tim in our organization as he was an absolute professional during his four years with the Mets,” said Alderson. “By achieving the Triple A level in 2019, he exceeded expectations when he first entered the system in 2016 and should be very proud of his achievements.”
Tebow’s baseball career began with a bang – he celebrated his first professional game in the fall of 2016 during an educational game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He made headlines later that fall by comforting a fan who was having a fit the first series of Tebow’s debut in the Arizona Fall League.
The former NFL quarterback was an All-Star at Double-A in 2018, battling .273 in 84 games with six homers. He fought at Triple-A the next year and had ended his season with a cut on his left hand.
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