Photo courtesy of Florida athletics
Less than a week from the spring training report date for New York Mets’ position players, former Florida Gator quarterback and Mets’ minor league outfielder Tim Tebow has announced his retirement from professional baseball.
Tebow was extended a non-roster invite to spring training 2021. However, on Wednesday night, it was announced that after four years and three seasons in the Mets organization, Tebow would be retiring from baseball.
Tebow graduated the University of Florida in 2009. Over the course of the last 11 years, Tebow has inspired many in his quest to play sports professionally. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner began his quest to play sports professionally in the National Football League.
Tebow spent two seasons in the Denver Broncos’ organization and one season with the New York Jets. During his three seasons in NFL, Tebow played 35 games. Tebow was 8-6 as a starting quarterback for the Broncos and Jets.
He completed 48% of his passes and accumulated 2,422 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also helped the Broncos reach the playoffs in 2011.
In the Wild Card contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow threw the game-winner — an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime. Denver went on to be handled by the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional round, 45-10. Tebow never made another start.
Since 2014, Tebow has worked as a college football analyst for ESPN. He is well-known for his role on SEC Nation with Laura Rutledge and Paul Finebaum on SEC Network.
After a few years of not playing sports, Tebow announced that he would be pursuing a career in baseball. He had not played baseball since high school.
To the Diamond
Tebow was signed by the Mets to a minor league deal on Sept. 8, 2016. He has spent the last four years — a total of three seasons — in the Mets’ organization. The former Heisman Trophy winner has remained in the minor leagues. Most recently, he was with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, the Syracuse Mets, in 2019.
After being signed by the Mets in 2016, Tebow began his baseball career in the Mets’ professional development league in Port Saint Lucie, Fla. In his first at-bat in the professional development league, he surprised many and made a name for himself hitting a massive home run against the Augusta GreenJackets.
After completing a season in the development league, Tebow was then promoted to Single-A Columbia, followed by Advanced-A St. Lucie. Those are the two locations he would spend his first full season with the organization in 2017.
In his first full season between the two locations, Tebow batted .226/.309/.347. That included a .656 OPS with 24 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 52 RBIs, and 43 walks.
Tebow was then promoted to Double-A Binghamton for the 2018 season, where he batted .273/.336/.399, with a .734 OPS. He had 14 doubles, one triple, six home runs, 36 RBIs and 22 walks in Double-A in 2018.
Tebow again began his season at an advanced level with a bang. In his first at bat at the Double-A level with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Tebow again went deep with a home run. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star team and represented the Rumble Ponies as a designated hitter.
End of Another Era
He closed out his professional career in 2019 with Triple-A Syracuse — a level not many thought he would even get to when he was first signed by the Mets.
“By reaching the Triple-A level in 2019, he far exceeded expectations when he first entered the system in 2016 and he should be very proud of his accomplishments,” said Mets’ team President Sandy Alderson.
Tebow hit .163/.240/.255, with a .495 OPS in 2019, accumulating 10 doubles, four home runs, 19 RBIs and 20 walks. His 2019 season was cut short after he sustained an injury and was placed on the Mets’ injured list with a laceration to his left-hand. That injury would end his 2019 season early. That will be how his career ends as well.
Due to COVID-19, there was no minor league baseball season in 2020. Some players were invited to their club’s alternate/taxi site. However, Tebow was not one of the players who received an invite. Therefore, 2019 would be the last season fans would get to see Tebow play professionally.
Tebow hangs up his cleats after three seasons in the Mets’ minor league system. Over the course of his career in the Mets’ system, the 33-year-old Phillippines native batted .223/.299/.338, with a .638 OPS. He accumulated a total of 48 doubles, three triples, 18 home runs, 107 RBIs, and 85 walks.
“It has been a pleasure to have Tim in our organization as he’s been a consummate professional during his four years with the Mets,” Alderson added.
Tebow, a Florida graduate, Heisman winner and inspirational icon for many, received an invite to the Mets’ 2021 spring training camp in Port Saint Lucie. Instead, Tebow said that he feels called in other directions at this time and will be voluntarily retiring from the sport of baseball. He thanked Alderson and the Mets in a tweet on Wednesday night.
I want to thank the @Mets, Mr. Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization. I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions…
— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) February 18, 2021
Tebow may not have been the strongest or the fastest player on the field. He may not have ever made it to the Major League level outside of spring training. However, he made a name for himself in baseball and his time with the organization will be cherished and remembered by many Mets’ and Gators’ fans who have followed his journey or have had the opportunity to watch him play.
“Along the way, there’s going to be a lot of obstacles, a lot of adversity, a lot people who will tell you you’re not good enough, Tebow said in a motivation quote. “I’m here to tell you that you are.”
Tebow has overcome a lot of adversity and obstacles in life. He made it to the Triple-A level — a feat many said he couldn’t do. The former All-American quarterback leaves the sport having inspired many.
With Tebow announcing his retirement from baseball, is this the last we see of Tebow in professional sports outside of broadcasting? Time will tell.