After a long, illustrious and at times controversial career that began in 1995 with the Oakland Athletics, Jason Giambi announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Monday.

In his statement published by the New York Daily News, Giambi thanked his family and friends for the support over the years before turning to the folks in baseball who helped him along the way. Here is an excerpt:

Ever since I was five years old, all I ever wanted to be was a Major League Baseball player. The Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians were a big part of helping that dream come true.

To the managers, coaches and players, it’s been a tremendous honor sharing the field with you and thank you very much.

To the writers, local and national, and to the broadcasters, I want to express my appreciation to the media for covering the game we all love.

I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey. I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today.

Lastly, to the game of baseball: I started playing you when I was a kid and I’m leaving you a man. Thank you.

Giambi spent 20 years in baseball, hitting a lifetime .277 with 2,010 hits, 440 home runs and 1,441 RBI. He was a five-time MLB All-Star and won the American League MVP award in 2000. The first baseman also won the Silver Slugger award in 2001 and 2002.

He last suited up for the Cleveland Indians in 2014 but only appeared in 26 games during the season before entering free agency in October.

His career was marked by some controversy amid the steroid era, however. In 2004, it came to light that Giambi admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to a federal grand jury in 2003. He didn’t publicly admit he took steroids until 2007, when he chastised Major League Baseball and its players for not apologizing for the steroid era.

Howard Bryant of ESPN favorably remembers how Giambi handled the controversy:

It’s hard to say what Giambi’s legacy will be going forward, as is the case with many of the players who were entangled in the steroid controversy. But all things considered, he was one of the finest hitters of his generation and a truly dominant player from 1999 to 2003.

History will decide whether the numbers he posted—and the numbers posted by his contemporaries—can be trusted. For a stretch during his prime, though, there were few players in baseball better than Giambi.


Follow TRappaRT on Twitter

Read more MLB news on