The Sugar Land Skeeters today announced that former Major Leaguer and Fort Bend County native James Loney has retired.
Loney, 35, appeared in 11 games with the Skeeters this season, hitting .278/.357/.333 with a triple and three RBIs. He also pitched an inning of relief on May 1 against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, allowing a run on two hits while picking up his first professional strikeout.
Loney, who attended Elkins High School in Missouri City, was making his first appearance at the professional level since playing with the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2017. Along with serving as a position player and middle reliever for the Skeeters, Loney was also a member of the coaching staff.
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Loney in the first round (19th overall) of the 2002 MLB Draft out of Elkins High School. He spent seven of his 11 Major League seasons with the Dodgers, also appearing with the Boston Red Sox (2012), Tampa Bay Rays (2013-15) and New York Mets (2016).
Over his Major League career, Loney appeared in 1,443 games and owned a slash line of .284/.336/.410 to go with 108 home runs and 669 RBIs.
Loney led the National League with 160 games played at first base in 2010 and led the American League in games played at the position in 2014 with the Rays (152 games). He finished fifth in the National League in 2010 with 41 doubles. He ranked second in the American League in singles in 2014 (138) and finished in the top 10 in the National League in 2008 (118, 8th) and 2009 (122, 9th).
Loney ranks eighth all time in Dodgers history in games played at first base (896).
Loney appeared in five separate MLB postseasons, totaling 23 games, and hit .350/.429/.525 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. While with the Dodgers, he hit a grand slam in Game 1 of the 2008 National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. On September 28, 2006, Loney drove in nine runs against the Colorado Rockies, tying the Dodgers single-game franchise record held by Gil Hodges. He was unanimously selected to the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team in 2007.
A highly touted prospect working through the Dodgers Minor League system, Loney ranked as high as the No. 34 prospect in baseball prior to the 2003 season, per Baseball America. He helped lead Elkins to a 5A Texas State Baseball Championship in 2002, serving as a standout pitcher and position player. He posted a 1.52 ERA while going 12-1 his senior season at Elkins en route to the state title. His only pitching appearance at the professional level prior to this season came in 2016 with Triple-A El Paso (San Diego Padres), throwing a scoreless inning of relief.
Loney last appeared at the professional level in 2017 with the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization and last played at the affiliated level in 2017 with Triple-A Gwinnett (Atlanta Braves).
The Skeeters, winners of the 2018 Atlantic League Championship, begin their eighth season of play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball at Constellation Field. Individual tickets, season tickets and mini plans for the 2019 season are currently available and can be purchased by visiting sugarlandskeeters.com, the TDECU Ticket Office at Constellation Field, or by calling the Skeeters at 281-240-4487
All Skeeters home games can be streamed live on the Skeeters Youtube page or can be listened to live by visiting sugarlandskeeters.com.
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