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Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is retiring from his MLB playing career, the Royals announced on Thursday. He will retire at the end of the season and conclude a very admirable career. 

Gordon, 36, grew up a Royals fan in Lincoln, Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he was a superstar. He won the Big 12 player of the year in both 2004 and 2005 and in the latter season won basically every individual award one can, including the Golden Spikes Award. 

Gordon was then the second overall pick in the loaded 2005 MLB draft after Justin Upton, going in front of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki and Andrew McCutchen. Gordon was immediately considered one of the top prospects in baseball as a third baseman. It took him several tries to stick in the majors and it finally happened when he found his calling in left field. 

Gordon will retire a three-time All-Star with seven Gold Gloves and one Platinum Glove. Heading to Thursday, Gordon is a career .257/.338/.411 (102 OPS+) hitter with 1,641 hits, 357 doubles, 26 triples, 190 home runs, 749 RBI, 866 runs, 113 steals and 34.9 WAR. 

Gordon sits eighth in career WAR for the Royals, behind George Brett, Kevin Appier, Amos Otis, Willie Wilson, Bret Saberhagan, Mark Gubicza and Frank White. 

Most noteworthy in Gordon's career, however, were his team-level accomplishments. Gordon was part of a position-playing core with Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar that led the Royals to the 2014-15 pennants and the 2015 World Series title. Prior to that 2014 run, the Royals hadn't been to the playoffs since 1985. It was the longest playoff drought in the majors. 

Gordon will forever be part of that special group that broke the drought and won the title. 

Not only that, but Gordon signed a contract extension to remain with the Royals after the 2015 title. He stayed home with a four-year deal. He also came back for the 2020 season on a one-year deal. A slogan the Royals employed in their stadium and on social media during their World Series runs was "forever Royal" and Gordon really embodies that. 

Though he's retiring from playing baseball, Alex Gordon is most certainly Forever Royal. Kudos to him for not only a very good MLB career, but for getting to spend the entirety of said career with his childhood favorite team.