Gordon, a three-time All-Star selection, told reporters during a video press conference the coronavirus pandemic strengthened his desire to spend more time with his family and "catch up on things I've missed my whole life."
Gordon, who signed a one-year deal with the Royals earlier this year, will end his MLB career with the franchise that drafted him 15 years ago -- a rare feat in professional sports. The seven-time Gold Glove Award winner has played all 14 of his seasons with the Royals.
"It's hard. I think any baseball player would say that," said Gordon, who turns 37 in February. "You grow up playing this game, it's a game you love, but you come to that day when you know it's over -- it's hard."
Gordon said he considered retirement last year, when the rebuilding Royals hired Mike Matheny to replace longtime manager Ned Yost. But with veteran teammates such as Salvador Perez and Danny Duffy still on the team, he opted to return to the club.
Gordon's plans changed again during the COVID-19 outbreak. With sports across the globe shut down due to the virus, he knew this would be his final season.
"I feel like at the end of the day, I'm missing my kids and their activities more than I'm going to miss this," Gordon said. "It's kind of bittersweet because this is hard for me to do. This is what I've done my whole life. But at the same time, I'm excited to be around my family, be around my kids and just catch up on things I've missed my whole life."
The Royals selected Gordon with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft after his standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his major league debut two years later and spent the remainder of his career at the top level.
Entering a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers this weekend, Gordon ranks third in walks (682), fourth in home runs (190), fifth in doubles (357) and sixth in games played (1,749) in franchise history. He also is the Royals' career leader in getting hit by pitches.
"I remember telling my teachers I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player and sure enough it happened," said Gordon, who won a World Series title with the club in 2015. "This game has been great for me over my career, but at the same time I'm very blessed to do this as long as I have. But it does take away from family time. It's kind of bittersweet.
"I'm going to miss my teammates in there and competing with them, but at the same time I'm excited about the next chapter in my life."