Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/18/12
The group of active Diamondbacks remaining from the 2001 World Series team shrank to three Tuesday with the announcement that Craig Counsell would retire after 15 seasons and take a front office position with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he played the last five seasons. Counsell, 41, met the Milwaukee media Tuesday alongside Brewers general manager Doug Melvin to make the news official and left no doubt that his playing days were over, though he entered the offseason open to returning as a player. "It's easy (to retire) when you've got more softball teams calling you than baseball teams, and those softball teams want to DH for you," Counsell joked Tuesday. "Although I waited a while in the offseason, this is kind of what I expected to happen, and I'm glad this is the way it happened." Indeed, 2011 was a tough season for Counsell. As the Brewers captured their first division title in 29 years, Counsell hit just .178 with nine RBI and 28 hits, going through an 0-for-45 streak at one point. Despite never overwhelming with numbers or flashy plays, Counsell experienced a kind of popularity in his career few players achieve. A Milwaukee native and World Series champion with the Diamondbacks and Florida Marlins, Counsell could count on loud, appreciative cheers in all three places. Counsell was always a fan favorite in Arizona and was part of the Diamondbacks' ninth-inning rally in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Counsell was hit by Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera to load the bases just before Luis Gonzalez drove in the winning run on a bloop single. Counsell follows in his father's footsteps by moving into the Brewers' front office, where he will serve as a special assistant to Melvin. He declined an offer from former Brewers hitting coach and new Cubs manager Dale Sveum to coach first base in Chicago. His retirement leaves Lyle Overbay, Rod Barajas and Miguel Batista as the last remaining active players from the 2001 World Series champions.
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