McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Having accomplished more in baseball than he ever imagined, New York Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius retired Tuesday, overjoyed to be with his family and already reflecting on his brief but glorious career in pinstripes.
"I'm just ready to be home," Brosius said at Linfield College, his old school. "I can look back with no regrets and know that everything I wanted to do as a baseball player, every dream I had, has been fulfilled, and there's nothing else for me to chase as a ballplayer."
Brosius, 35, became a free agent after the Yankees' loss to Arizona in Game 7 of the World Series, and returned home to Oregon immediately.
"I was surprised about Scott," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in Rosemont, Ill. "But he wanted to retire a Yankee. He's a great warrior. I hate to lose him."
The Yankees did not plan to re-sign the former World Series MVP. Although he could have tried to play elsewhere, he felt the toll on his wife and three children would be too high.
"I still feel like I could play, but I never wanted the game to feel like work," he said. "I never wanted to play the game when my heart was in two different places, and I was getting to that point where a huge side of me just wanted to be home, and I still had a job to do out in New York."
Brosius guessed that he had missed about one-third of his 10-year-old daughter Allyson's life while on the road.
"I just never wanted to get to the point where I looked back 10 years or 20 years from now and my daughter asks me, 'Why weren't you there when I needed you?' And I would say, 'Well, because I wanted to play one more year.' I couldn't answer that question that way."
Brosius, who came to the Yankees from Oakland as a player to be named in a deal for Kenny Rogers, made a name for himself in New York. He reached the World Series in all four seasons he spent in the Bronx, winning three times.
Steady in the field and a clutch hitter in big spots, Brosius was a key contributor in the Yankees' recent run of championships.
He was the MVP of the 1998 World Series, hitting .471 with two home runs and six RBIs in a four-game sweep of San Diego.
Brosius' greatest moment came in Game 5 of this year's Series against the Diamondbacks. In his final at-bat in Yankee Stadium, he hit a tying, two-run homer off closer Byung-Hyun Kim with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Alfonso Soriano's single in the 12th won it.
"That's a pretty good memory to end on," Brosius said of his fist-pumping trip around the bases.
Brosius said he plans to help out with the Linfield baseball team, for which he played from 1985-87. But first he plans to get his degree in business. He was drafted after his junior year by Oakland, and wanted to show his children the value of finishing what he started.
After completing correspondence courses he began in the summer of 2000, he'll attend commencement ceremonies on Dec. 16.
"In about a month I'll be an unemployed college grad," he joked. "It probably should have happened when I was 21, but now that I'm 35 it's come back to get me."
Acquired from Oakland after slumping to .203 in 1997 with Oakland, Brosius was an All-Star in his first season in New York. He batted .300 with 98 RBIs - marks he did not reach in his final three seasons with the Yankees. He hit .247 in 1999, .230 in 2000 and .287 in 2001 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs.
Brosius, who played seven seasons for Oakland, was a .257 career hitter with 141 homers and 531 RBIs. He won a Gold Glove in '99.
"I guess by Hall of Fame standards it wasn't a great career, but I had some great moments in it," he said. "How many people have the opportunity to really live the dream of a 5-year-old out in the backyards playing games?"
Brosius said he was proud to be retiring a Yankee, and he praised the team for letting him go home for a few days during the 1999 season to be with his dying father.
"I don't care what anybody says, people are lying if they're saying it's not a little bit more special playing for the Yankees," he said. "It just doesn't get any better than that as a baseball player."
Brosius is the third member of the Yankees to retire this offseason, joining Paul O'Neill and Luis Sojo.
The Yankees hope that prospect Drew Henson develops into their full-time third baseman in 2003.
In the meantime, backup infielder Enrique Wilson may get a chance to fill Brosius' spot next year. The Yankees also might try to make a trade, possibly for Philadelphia star Scott Rolen.