Eric Hosmer ends career, new pursuit awaits former KC Royals star

A Kansas City fan favorite retires.

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The retirement from the game of a popular, productive, fan-favorite-type player like Eric Hosmer, so long a key member of the KC Royals, always jars me. Retirements remind us that time is its own master, an unstoppable force no one can slow or impede, one that diminishes the great skills of even the best athletes before it steals them away altogether.

So it went when I learned Wednesday that Hosmer has retired. But the news of this bowing-out wasn't as rattling as some retirements I've experienced — I'd felt this one coming for a long time. First came his not unexpected release from the Cubs last May when, after 31 games, he'd homered just twice and was hitting .234. The dearth of even moderate signs of other teams' interest followed and, when that silence lasted through the winter, I sensed Hosmer's playing days were, by choice or otherwise, over.

That didn't dampen, though, the mixed feelings Hosmer's retirement evoked in me Wednesday morning. I am at once happy for him, yet sad that his career is over.

And it was, for the most part, a good career. He broke into the majors in early May of the 2011 campaign and was hitting .283 with five home runs by the end of the month; he finished with 19 homers and a .293/.334/.465 line.

It was merely a sign of things to come. Integral to the club's welcome rejuvenation that led to back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015, and culminated with a World Series title in 2015, Hosmer failed to reach double-digit home run totals only once in his seven-season KC tenure, homered 25 times twice, and exhibited a brand of play that won the hearts of Kansas City fans. He won a Silver Slugger as a Royal, his .276/.335/.427 Kansas City line isn't bad at all, and his fiery energy made him a key team leader almost from the start.

Hosmer's critics at times lamented his defense, claiming it really wasn't all that good, but the four Gold Gloves he won for his play at first base belie that strained notion.

Eric Hosmer's career took a turn for the worse after 2017

Unfortunately for Royals fans, Hosmer left after the 2017 season; San Diego lured him away with an apparently irresistible eight-year, $144 million free agent contract that gave him the option to move on after five seasons. And unfortunately for Hosmer, his performance waned: in four full seasons and part of another with the Padres, he hit better than .272 only once, never hit more than 22 homers, never won a Gold Glove, and hit .265.

Apparently desirous of moving his contract, San Diego traded him to Boston just before the 2022 trade deadline expired. Plagued by an injury, he played only 14 homerless games and hit .244 for the Red Sox. Boston released him after the season, and he signed with the Cubs for what proved to be a short and unproductive term on the North Side.

His playing career at an end, Hosmer turns now to media where, per John Perrotto at Forbes, he'll begin a new venture with MoonBall Media, which Perrotto describes as a "...media and production company that will include original unscripted programming, a weekly podcast, social media content and upcoming FAST channels."

We bid farewell to Hosmer the player, and look forward to seeing how his new pursuit turns out.

And to someday welcoming him into the Royals Hall of Fame, where he's certain to earn a spot.

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