Veteran Chicago White Sox slugger Adam LaRoche is retiring from baseball and walking away from a reported $13 million – because team officials had asked him to stop bringing his 14-year-old son into the clubhouse every day.
LaRoche, 36, officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, writing on Twitter: “Thank u Lord for the game of baseball and for giving me way more than I ever deserved! #FamilyFirst”
White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams insisted to Fox Sports he had only asked LaRoche to “dial it back” when it came to bringing his son Drake to practice and into the clubhouse.
The teen traveled with LaRoche on road games for several years and even had his own locker in the White Sox clubhouse next to his father’s locker.
Drake would often attend batting practice and meet with players, according to the Chicago Tribune. The issue became hot-button for the team, prompting a two-hour meeting with leadership earlier in the week.
Williams told the Tribune that the situation had become excessive – even though Drake is well-liked by players and management – and that he felt that he needed to draw the line.
“Even 50 percent [of the time] is probably too much, but there’s a wide range between 0-50 percent, so I was a little surprised by the stance he took, which is unfortunate,” Williams said. “But talk about a quality life decision, a family decision. He talks about being there for his family, and he put it front and center. I respect and admire that.”
By retiring early, LaRoche – a baseball veteran with more than a dozen years in major league baseball – walks away from the $13 million dollars left on his 2016 contract.
The athlete signed a two-year deal for $25 million with the White Sox just last year. LaRoche’s relationship was Drake was even documented by the Tribune in 2015, with the newspaper calling the boy the team’s “26th man.”
LaRoche also has a daughter named Montana.