Ryan Lavarnway, Team Israel veteran and World Series champ, retires from MLB

AuthorJACOB GURVIS/JTA
Published date23 March 2023
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
"I have played on eight big league teams and worn the uniform of 18 other clubs, mostly in the minors, concluding with a stint on Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic this month," Lavarnway, 35, wrote in an essay announcing the decision in The Athletic. "An outsider might say there were more downs than ups, but I wouldn't give back a single day."

End of an impressive career

Lavarnway was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2008 after an impressive baseball career at Yale University. The California native was a member of the 2013 World Series championship team in Boston, and would go on to play in the big leagues for Baltimore, Atlanta, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Miami and Cleveland.

Lavarnway's last MLB appearance came in September 2021 with the Cleveland Guardians. He ended his career with 165 career games, just over one full season. He hit nine career home runs.

But Lavarnway is perhaps best known for his time as a player and leader on Team Israel.

Lavarnway joined Israel for the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier and would play for the team in the 2017 tournament, where he was named Pool A most valuable player. He also played for the team at the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2023 WBC. He obtained Israeli citizenship in 2019 ahead of the Olympics.

Lavarnway has been vocal about how much it means to him to play for Israel.

"Playing for this team is super meaningful to me," Lavarnway told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after Israel's exhibition game against the Miami Marlins prior to the WBC. "It's been really life-changing. And I hope that this next generation of players that are new to this team takes the baton, and it means as much to them as it's meant to us."

"He [Lavarnway] was...

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