You can work well into your 60s in most professions, or even longer in politics (Joe Biden and Donald Trump are both in their late 70s). But the shelf life of professional athletes is more like that of avocados—they get soft before too long. Most are retired by the time they turn 40.
Athletes who announce their retirement before they call it a career, however, do get to take a “farewell tour.” The same goes for coaches, who have the added advantage of being able to indulge in their passion for as long as they can prowl the sidelines. During such farewell tours, these stars are celebrated around the country, cheered even by fans of opposing teams as they make their way through their final season.
Vivid Seats compiled this list of notable farewell tours in sports history based on research from news reports and sports data websites such as Stathead. Athletes and coaches were considered for this ranking if they announced their retirement before or midway through their final season. “Notable” is defined here as a retiring athlete whose accomplishments made them superstars in their respective sports. The list is sorted chronologically by year of retirement.
While farewell tours in sports got their start in basketball during the 1980s, they picked up popularity in baseball during the 2010s—four of the 15 people on this list were MLB players who retired between 2012 and 2016.
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