Gwinnett native Brian McCann announced his retirement after 15 major league seasons Monday night, shortly after the Atlanta Braves’ season-ending loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
The 35-year-old began his career with the Braves, who drafted him out of Duluth High School, and finished it with one final season in Atlanta.
“This is it for me,” McCann told reporters after the game. “I’m going to go home and be a dad and play with those kids.”
McCann was an all-star seven times in his first nine MLB seasons with the Braves before signing with the New York Yankees in 2014. He then played for the Astros, winning a World Series title in 2017.
He signed with the Braves again prior to this season, providing a veteran presence for the National League East champions. He hit .249 this season with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs.
“It’s sad, but it’s time,” McCann said. “I knew (I was going to retire) about a month and a half ago.”
McCann hit .262 in his career with 282 home runs and 1,018 RBIs. He won the Silver Slugger Award as the league’s top hitting catcher six times, and was MVP of the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. According to spotrac.com, his career earnings in pro baseball is almost $130 million.
He played his final season for Brian Snitker, his Double-A manager with the Mississippi Braves when the Braves called him up in 2005.
“This is everything that I wanted to do,” McCann said. “I wanted to come back and get a chance at the postseason.”
McCann was a link to the past of the Braves — his rookie season was the last of Atlanta’s 14 straight division titles. He played for Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox. He caught for John Smoltz and was a teammate of past Braves greats like Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones and Tim Hudson. In his rookie season, he hit a playoff home run off legendary pitcher Roger Clemens.
“To one of my best friends and one hell of a catcher, I say congrats on a great career b Mac,” Braves broadcaster and former teammate Jeff Francoeur said in a Tweet. “So much fun to call your last season. You were a joy to play with. Dad time and golf trips here we come. Love ya pal.”
McCann played at both the Braves’ previous home, Turner Field, and their current one, SunTrust Park.
“I went to high school here. I grew up here,” McCann said. “I got to play nine years to start my career here and got to play with some of my heroes growing up. I get to come back and play with the new generation. I’d say that’s a success. I had a long career — 15 years is a long time catching every day — and I got to do it in my hometown.”
McCann, who has maintained a home in Gwinnett throughout his career, plans to be a fixture around SunTrust Park in the future, too. He and his wife, Ashley, and their two children live in Suwanee.
“I’ll be coming back a lot,” McCann said. “I’ve got a 7- and a 6-year-old that love baseball, so I’ll be at the yard.”