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Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2003

LHS grad Stevens retiring

April 30, 2003

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Lawrence High product Lee Stevens has decided to retire from professional baseball.

Stevens, 35, has been playing for the Indianapolis Indians, Triple-A farm club of the Milwaukee Brewers, since being released by Tampa Bay during spring training.

Stevens, a 1986 Lawrence High grad, will retire after the Indians' home game today against Louisville.

"I got to do it the way I wanted to and picked the day," Stevens told the Indianapolis Star-News. "I'm walking away from the game and not getting pushed out. I'm ready to go on with the next phase of my life."

A former first-round draft choice of the Anaheim Angels, Stevens played for the Angels, the Texas Rangers, the Montreal Expos and the Cleveland Indians. He also played two years in Japan with the Kintetsu Buffaloes.

His short stint with Indianapolis was his first in the minors since playing for Oklahoma City in 1996.

"I came back (to the minors) because I wanted to see if I can still do it," he said. "I think I can, and that makes it even sweeter to go out knowing that I can still swing the bat."

Stevens, the first player to hit a home run at Indy's Victory Field when it opened in 1996, will be honored in a brief ceremony before today's game. Stevens played in 1,012 games at the major-league level, hitting .254 with 144 homers and 531 RBI.

"The bottom line is, I can't give this game any more than I have," Stevens told the Indianapolis newspaper. "I want to be with my family more than I want to be at the ballpark."

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