Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder certainly never expected he would be leaving MLB at the relatively young age of 32.
But there he was on Wednesday, the six-time All-Star speaking before a packed news conference, bidding an emotional goodbye to the sport due to a neck injury.
"The doctors told me since I got two spinal fusions I can't play Major League Baseball anymore," said Fielder, still wearing a neck brace from recent disc surgery.
"I just want to thank my team-mates, all the coaching staff. I'm going to miss being around those guys."
Pointing to his two young sons, Jadyn and Haven, sitting beside him, Fielder said, "I've been in a big-league clubhouse since I was their age, so not being able to play is going to be tough. I'm happy I got to enjoy my career, and play with these guys."
Fielder underwent neck surgery to repair a disc herniation in July, and his medical condition left him unable to obtain medical clearance to return to the sport.
His 2014 season also ended prematurely after neck surgery, although he rebounded in 2015 to earn American League (AL) Comeback Player of the Year honors.
At one point during the news conference, Fielder wiped away tears and said, "Shoot, I thought I was just going to cry in the car. ... Anybody have a tissue?"
Once one of the most feared sluggers in the game, Fielder had only eight home runs in 89 games this season, with a slash line of .212/.292/.334.
He ends his career with 319 career home runs, coincidentally the same number as his father, Cecil, who played from 1985 to 1998. Fielder also tallied 1,028 RBIs and finished with a career slash line of .283/.382/.506.
"I want to thank my wife," Fielder said. "She's really helped me a lot. Like I said, this year's been a struggle. ... No matter what, she would always stay positive, and not let me get down on myself, and not let me mope."
Even though Fielder will not be able to play baseball any longer, he is still owed $24million per year through 2020.