SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Buster Posey, the face of the San Francisco Giants dynastic run of three World Series titles, announced Thursday he was retiring from the game after 13 seasons, leaving behind countless heartbroken fans who admired his quiet, humble manner and stellar play.

The 34-year-old, seven-time All-Star looked almost out of place as he sat in Oracle Park without his signature catcher garb on.

READ MORE: Five Memorable Highlights Of Buster Posey’s Career

“As you know I’m here today announcing that I am retiring,” Posey said with emotion in his voice. “A lot of you out there know that my first instinct is not to run and get behind a microphone but as I thought about what I want to say today I realized it was an unique opportunity to publicly thank so many people that helped me get here, that helped me stay here, and fulfill a lifelong dream.”

His wife Kristen sat nearby with the couple’s four children.

“Thanks for being there with me to celebrate all the great moments, and I think even more importantly, thanks for being there for some of the low ones,” Posey told her. “You know better than anybody how hard sometimes I would take not performing how I wanted to. But your love and perspective on what was truly important help me through those times.”

He also thanked his parents.

“Thanks number one for being just great parents,” he said. “Thanks for the times spent at the hundreds of practices for me and my siblings. For teaching me the responsibility for caring for other people. Thanks for teaching me how to compete. How to handle victories and how to handle the defeats. And I’m not just talking about sports.”

While his decision to retire came as a surprise to many, Posey said he knew knew early on the 2021 season would probably be his last.

“I went into this last season feeling like it might be my last,” Posey said. “I just gave myself some space in my mind to be okay with deciding otherwise if I wanted to keep playing. I just really never wavered. I think it really allowed me to not that you don’t give it your all, but I really, really emptied the tank this year like I never have before.”

Posey said the years of playing one of the most physically demanding positions on the baseball field wore down his body.

“The reason I’m retiring is I want to be able to do more stuff from February to November with my family,” he said. “Physically it is much harder now and to honest it’s hard to enjoy it with the physical pain you are dealing with.”

During the press conference Thursday, Posey recounted a number of special memories.

“I’m sure there are kids out there today who watched me play my entire career, they might actually be adults now,” he said. “They can still remember exactly where they were when Edgar Renteria hit the game-winning homer in Texas, that lead the 2010 San Francisco Giants to their first World Series title. Or when Sergio Romo stood on the mound, shook me off from throwing a slider, which still scares me to this day, snuck a fastball past Miguel Cabrera to clinch the second title in three years.”

“Or when Madison Bumgarner came out of the bullpen in Game 7 in Kansas City and 45,000 people went deadly silent because they knew at that point the game and the World Series was over. Or maybe you remember where you were when Matt Cain stood on the back of the mound, he gazed up at the crowd, taking it all in before he recorded the final out of the first ever perfect game in Giants franchise history.”

Posey formed the veteran core along with Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt for a Giants club that won a franchise-record 107 games and the National West regular-season crown before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the NL Divisional Series.

READ MORE: Fans Leave Social Media Love Notes To Buster Posey

He was an iron man during the stretch drive catching five of the final six regular-season games and 10 of the last 13 as San Francisco clinched the division on the final day.

After undergoing hip surgery and opting to spend the COVID-shortened 2020 season with his family, Posey enjoyed a resurgent 2021 season, hitting .304/.390/.499 with 18 home runs in 454 plate appearances. It was his best year since his peak years in the early-2010s.

The Giants said last month that they would exercise Posey’s $22 million club option for the 2022 season as long as the veteran catcher wanted to keep playing after a stellar year.

But ultimately, Posey decided to leave the game to spend time with his Kristen, his high school sweetheart, and their children.

Posey helped led the Giants to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2012 NL MVP, while also earning four Silver Slugger Awards, one Gold Glove Award behind the plate, and one NL batting title.

Baseball historian and radio host Marty Lurie said the rings make Posey the best catcher in Giants franchise history, describing him as the coach on the field who caught the trio of Giants pitching greats in Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner.

“His resiliency, and just seeing him behind the plate and seeing his whole career, that to me is what I will always remember about him,” Lurie told KPIX 5.

His decision left Giants fans thankful, but heartbroken. Posey thanked them.

“To the fans, thank you for all your support I’ve received the last 13 seasons,” he said “And I look forward to creating new memories of my own and sharing them with family and friends as I pull for the Giants the rest of my life.”

His fans sent that love right back.

“I’m in tears,” Giants fan Shahbano Khan posted on Twitter. “He is the epitome of not only an exceptional baseball player but a human being too. So grateful for everything he’s given to the Giants, the fan base, the community, & the baseball world as a whole. Happy retirement.”

“The Giants will never be able to replace a guy like Buster Posey,” added Jbles. “One in a million type of high character person, let alone baseball player and teammate. As a Giants fan, I will console myself with the knowledge that he’s going out on top. Atta babe”

And former teammate Derek Law posted — “Congrats LEGEND. It was an privilege to have you as a battery-mate. You made it easy for me.”