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Tom Foley retires after 24 years with the Rays, 43 in baseball

After playing parts of 13 seasons in the majors, Foley joined the Rays in 1996 and spent 16 years as a big-league coach.

ST. PETERSBURG — After playing parts of 13 seasons in the majors and spending 16 as a coach with the Rays during a 43-year overall career in baseball, Tom Foley has decided to retire.

“It’s time,” Foley said Thursday. “It’s just time to slow down and relax.”

Foley, 60, signed on with the new Rays franchise in 1996 in a player development role, took over as third base coach in 2002 and worked under managers Hal McRae, Lou Piniella and Joe Maddon during a 13-year run, then shifted to bench coach when Kevin Cash took over as manager in 2015 before moving to a special assistant job after the 2017 season. His latest contract expired Thursday.

“This decision has nothing to do with the Rays. I loved my job, I really did,” Foley said. "I just wanted to slow down a little bit. There were some other things that transpired last year off the field (with friends and relatives health-wise), and I just started thinking about it. It’s time for me to kick back and watch. ...

“Obviously I’ll spend a lot more time with the family than I have the last 40-plus years, which I’m looking forward to. We’ve got three grandkids around here. We want to do some traveling. I’ll going to do some fishing, and some golfing."

Foley played with the Reds, Phillies, Expos and Pirates mostly as a reserve infielder, compiling a .244 career average. His best season was probably 1987 in Montreal, when he hit .293 with five homers, 28 RBIs and a .754 OPS in 106 games. “I don’t remember myself as a player,” he joked. “Sometimes I don’t want to remember myself as a player"

More significant, he said, was the time he spent with the Rays.

“It’s the right time for me; I know it is,” he said, from his Oldsmar home. “Am I going to miss it? Yeah, of course. Of course you’re going to miss it. If anything, I’m going to miss the people in the organization. It’s been great. To be there from the start of this organization to now be retiring, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen it grow. A lot of good people have come and gone. When I started I had no idea what it was going to grow into. But it’s time for me to be a fan now. A big fan of the Rays."

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays.