"Today, I want to share the difficult decision I’ve made to end my career as a professional baseball player," Cervelli posted on Instagram.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Francisco Cervelli is hanging up his cleats.

In a post on his verified Instagram account on Saturday, the former Pirates catcher announced his retirement.

“Today, I want to share the difficult decision I’ve made to end my career as a professional baseball player.

“I feel it’s important to share this with you, the fans, because your support throughout my 18-year long career has meant so much – you helped make my journey possible,” he posted.

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Today, I want to share the difficult decision I’ve made to end my career as a professional baseball player. I feel it’s important to share this with you, the fans, because your support throughout my 18-year long career has meant so much – you helped make my journey possible.   During my career, I encountered injuries and made some bad decisions. But, I also learned so much. This game has brought me endless joy and happiness. I’ve received incredible support by so many, including countless teammates – my brothers in baseball – that I will carry in my heart forever. I also hold great pride in knowing that I strived to constantly make the impossible possible. My advice? Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your dreams. If I did it, you can do it too. Today, I retire happy and fully satisfied, because I gave my heart and soul to this wonderful game. I am retiring because the time has come to put my health before my career. For a long time, I put baseball first, through countless concussions and injuries, because this game was my life; my whole world. But it’s clear to me now that my future holds so much more. For the first time in a long time, I know my health and wellness needs to be the leadoff. It’s time. My journey in this game would be nothing without the exceptional people that have supported me along the way, personally and professionally. I thank God and my family for their unconditional love and support. To the Yankees, Pirates, Braves, Marlins, the MLB teams that gave a young kid from Venezuela a chance at this game, I am eternally grateful. To my coaches and teammates (too many to name) and my agent, thank you for pushing me to be the best ballplayer I could be. Lastly, to the fans… the Cisco Kid is nothing without you. Thank you for everything.   I will never forget all that this game has taught me. I wouldn’t trade the blood, sweat and tears for anything in the world. This game will always be my greatest love, because… well, THAT’S AMORE!

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In his retirement post, Cervelli shared some advice.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your dreams. If I did it, you can do it too. Today, I retire happy and fully satisfied, because I gave my heart and soul to this wonderful game,” he said.

The Pirates and their fans also received a shoutout in the catcher’s retirement message.

“To the Yankees, Pirates, Braves, Marlins, the MLB teams that gave a young kid from Venezuela a chance at this game, I am eternally grateful,” Cervelli said.

“Lastly, to the fans… the Cisco Kid is nothing without you. Thank you for everything,” he added.

He closed the post with one last message: “This game will always be my greatest love, because… well, THAT’S AMORE!”

Cervelli spent four seasons in Pittsburgh. After he was released by the Pirates in August 2019, he shared a heartwarming goodbye to the city.

“A letter to the city of Pittsburgh (my YINZ)… The city that captivated my heart.

“When I think about you and try to express how I feel about you, I can’t help but describe you as my home, my love, and my family. I have never felt so much love and respect as I have felt in this city,” he posted to his Instagram.

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A letter to the city of Pittsburgh (my YINZ)… The city that captivated my heart. When I think about you and try to express how I feel about you, I can't help but describe you as my home, my love, and my family. I have never felt so much love and respect as I have felt in this city. I remember the first time I encountered you in 2015, you made me a bit nervous, and I surely didn't know how to approach you, however, little by little you opened up your doors and taught me to embrace my passion, and connected me with the pure adrenaline and pride of the city of Pittsburgh. You saw me at my highest high and my lowest lows. You were always my safety net, protecting me from any falls… you are my one, the only… a city full of love. Pittsburgh, wearing your shirt made me feel like a super hero and you impacted me in ways you won’t ever understand, but the greatest impact you had on me was shaping me and loving me the way I am. You make me a true PIRATE .For that, I am forever grateful. I love you Pittsburgh. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, please don’t change. Stay passionate and full of love. Thank you to my teammates, you guys are special to me , and warriors no matter what. I love you all. Thank you to my coaches and management for the best time of my life. #412forever

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