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Former Cardinals 2B Belliard retires

Ronnie Belliard, a member of the Cardinals 2006 World Series winners, has announced his retirement.

A career .273 hitter, Belliard played mostly second base with the Brewers and Indians before coming to St. Louis is exchange for Hector Luna mid-year in 2006. He struggled with the bat, hitting only .231 for the Redbirds after the swap. But he stood out in the post season when he made a ranging play in short right field in the first round of the play-offs to snuff out a Padres rally and move the Birds on to the next round.

The play prompted Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds to award Belliard a game ball similar to the football post-game ritual of rewarding a game's most valuable player. And that gesture became a theme throughout the Redbirds' successful play-off run.

Belliard's career took a second interesting turn during his brief stay in St. Louis when he was involved in an extortion attempt by the family of a woman who claimed the second baseman got her pregnant during a brief fling.

Allowed to leave the Cardinals as a free agent, Belliard found new life for his career as a utility player with the Nationals and Dodgers. He played first, second, third and shortstop from 2007-2010. But he was unable to crack a major league roster in 2011 and apparently called it a career when he couldn't get a promotion from Philadelphia's Lehigh Valley Class AAA club.