The following is from the Sentinel-Tribune in Bowling Green, Ohio, the home town of Andy Tracy. The date on the article is 10/18/2011.
Andy Tracy has been a professional baseball nomad for the last 16 years.
After getting his start at old Pee Wee Park off Mercer Road in Bowling Green, Tracy was a three-sport standout at Bowling Green High School, and a four-year letterman in two sports at Bowling Green State University. He would go on to play professionally with three different Major League teams and 11 different minor league teams.
Now 38-years-old, Tracy is considering retiring as an active player.
“That’s what I’ve decided unless something really, really weird happens,” Tracy said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Columbus. He is married and has two children, ages 4 and 2.
“I just know I’m getting old. I know I can still play, but you get to the age where you understand how the game works. It’s tough to find jobs every year,” Tracy added. “You ultimately play to play in the big leagues and that didn’t happen the last couple of years.”
Tracy spent parts of five different seasons in the Major Leagues, playing in 149 games.
In 2000, he played in 83 games for the Montreal Expos and hit 11 of his 13 career MLB home runs. He hit .260 that season and drove in 32 runs. Tracy also spent part of 2001 with the Expos, playing in 28 games.
In 2004 he played in 15 games for Colorado.
Then in 2008 and 2009 he was with Philadelphia, playing in a total of 13 games, including nine in 2009. He received a World Series ring during his time with the Phillies.
“It was good. Nobody can ever take that away from me,” Tracy said about his 149 MLB games. “I feel really proud of what I’ve done when I was playing.”
Of his 13 career MLB home runs, he hit two each off Jose Lima and Reid Cornelius. He also went deep off Tom Glavine, Mark Wohlers, John Burkett and Ryan Dempster, among others.
His final MLB homer came on April 27, 2001 at Milwaukee against Allen Levrault. It was a pinch-hit home run for the Montreal Expos and came on a 3 ball, 1 strike count.
Tracy had a 16-year minor league career, including 11 seasons in Class AAA, which is one step below the majors. In his minor league career, Tracy hit 296 home runs and drove in 1,064 runs while batting .268.
This past season he battled some injuries with Reno in the Pacific Coast League. He played in 85 games and hit .288 with 18 homers and 51 RBI.
“I always felt that my numbers would dictate when I need to retire. I had another good year this year with limited at-bats,” Tracy said. “But when you get to the age I am, there are not many 38-year-olds in the minor leagues. And then not getting a chance to make a big-league team; you just kind of make the decision and get on with the next part of your life.”
And even though Tracy plans to retire, that doesn’t mean he’s done with baseball.
He has made contact with several MLB organizations, including Cleveland, the New York Mets, Philadelphia and Arizona about becoming a minor league manager.
“We’re just trying to find the best option on where to go, and just trying to find the fastest way or the best organization to be with, maybe to get back in the big leagues,” Tracy said.
Tracy has used the same agent during his entire pro career, but now Tracy is doing a lot of the legwork trying to find a job.
“It’s better to call people that you know instead of having that middle person involved,” Tracy said.
“I ultimately want to be a manager. That’s what I’ve been interviewing for with different organizations. I know I can be a hitting coach, that would not phase me at all. But managing is a whole different animal,” he continued. “I just know I can pass on the knowledge of getting prepared and establishing yourself as a hard worker, getting ready for a game, and letting the results dictate who you are. All you can do is prepare to be good and then you play the game and see what happens. If you prepare right, good things are going to happen for you.’
Finding a job as a manager can be difficult.
“It’s hard to find a manager job right out of the gate. A lot of guys do it with a lot of big league time. Those guys get the opportunity more than a guy like me,” Tracy said. “They want to start you a lot of times as a hitting coach, then move you into a managerial position. It’s the protocol in baseball, it’s just how it’s been for years. It’s hard to break it.”
And of course, Tracy could still have a few at-bats in him. He has played winter baseball in the past and if opportunity calls, he may give it another shot.
“I don’t know if I’ll go. If somebody calls me out of the blue, maybe I’ll pop down there and play,” Tracy said. “It’s always nice to go down to winter ball, play down there and do some stuff. I haven’t made that decision to go down there yet.”
And if his playing career is over, Tracy has no regrets.
“My dreams were always to play in the big leagues, playing pro ball,” Tracy said. “You never think about that as a kid, you just kind of show up and play and see what happens. That’s what I do every year, show up and play, be competitive and try to be the best player on the field and go from there.
“I’m proud with what I’ve done and nobody can take that away from me; my numbers speak for themselves. I’m very happy and very proud with what I’ve done with my life and my career.”