On Sunday, February 19th, Marc Kroon made it official: he is retiring from professional baseball.
The right-handed pitcher played in 21 seasons after being drafted by the New York Mets in the second round of the 1991 First-Year Player Draft. In addition to the Mets, Kroon pitched in seven other organizations in the United States, including the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Angels, Colorado Rockies, and, of course, the San Francisco Giants.
In 2011, Kroon notched 20 saves for the Grizzlies, which is third best in a single season for a Fresno pitcher in team history. The 20 saves, however, were only a small part of Kroon’s career.
Between 2005 and 2010, the Bronx, New York native played in the Nippon Pro Baseball league in Japan. He spent the first three seasons with the Yokohama BayStars and the final three seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, registering 177 saves in Japan. For his entire career, in the U.S. and in Japan, Kroon had 266 saves.
Kroon missed most of the 2000 season and all of the 2001 and 2002 seasons with a right elbow injury. He pitched in 26 Major League games in his career compared to 396 in the minors. While the ultimate goal of any ballplayer is to play a long career in the Majors, none of this should take away from a great career for Kroon. He played for the one purpose all fans follow baseball for: the passion for the game.
This is why Kroon resonated with so many people. Fans recognized Kroon’s love for baseball and felt a strong connection with him. Teammates were happy to share a clubhouse with Kroon because none of them doubted his desire to win as a team. With the spotlight on him in the waning moments of many victories, the closer proved to those around him he was the right person for the job night after night.
It is no wonder then that Kroon announced his retirement in true 21st century fashion by going to directly to his fans via Twitter.
Many of his followers (fans and teammates) were happy to send Marc well wishes in his new endeavors, which just reinforces the type of teammate and person Marc was throughout his career.
What’s next for Kroon? According to his Twitter account, “I’m just going to chill with the fam and spend quality time at home.”
For as much time he has spent away from his family over the years, traversing not only the United States but the world for his occupation, Kroon will no doubt take advantage of his new time with his loved ones.
The Fresno Grizzlies wish Marc the best of luck in his post-baseball career.