Former Cubs sparkplug Dexter Fowler retires

The Cubs won the World Series in 2016.

From start to finish, Dexter Fowler played a critical role.

Unsigned when spring training opened that year, Fowler appeared close to signing a three-year contract with the Orioles.

The deal fell through and Fowler rejoined the Cubs on a one-year deal after declining a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer after the 2015 season.

In a memorable scene, the center fielder walked onto a spring practice field in Mesa, Ariz., during training drills and told his former teammates he was coming back.

"I owed it to the boys to tell them first," Fowler said. "This is where my heart is."

Fowler capped off that year with a leadoff home run in Game 7 of the World Series. The Cubs beat the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings to end a 108-year championship drought.

After the 2016 season, Fowler left the Cubs again and did not return, signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Cardinals.

On Tuesday, he retired at age 36.

"It's here," Fowler wrote on Twitter. "I'm hanging up my cleats."

Fowler played for the Cubs from 2015-16 and hit .261/.367/.427 with 30 home runs, 94 RBI, 186 runs scored and 33 stolen bases.

Over 14 seasons with the Rockies, Astros, Cubs, Cardinals and Angels, Fowler slashed .259/.358/.417 with 127 homers and 517 RBI.

"Soaking wet and freezing on the field with tears in my eyes after winning the World Series in Chicago," Fowler wrote on social media. "Forever grateful. I'm mostly proud to look back at my career knowing that I played the game the right way and did my best to make a positive impact beyond the win."

Minor signings:

Right-handed pitchers Tyler Duffey and Jordan Holloway have signed minor league contracts and are invited to spring training with the Cubs.

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