St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Lou Brock, holder of the single-season and all-time major league stolen base records, said today he will retire at the end of the current season.
Cardinal President August A. Busch Jr. said at a news conference that Brock's No. 20 uniform would be retired. Only three other Cardinal uniforms have been retired, those of Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial and Bob Gibson.
Busch said, "I will be talking to Lou in the future about the possibility of his continual association will the St. Louis Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch."
Brock set the single-season stolen base record in 1974 with 118, topping Maury Wills' previous high by 14. He broke Ty Cobb's all-time stolen base record of 882 in 1977 when Brock ended the season with 900 stolen bases.
Brock, 39, now has 918 stolen bases.
He also has a 17-season career batting average of .292 and a World Series batting average of .391.
A native of El Dorado, Ark., Brock began his major league career with the Chicago Cubs in 1961. He was traded to the Cardinals in 1964.
"I've had to approach this decision to retire the game," he said, "It was a tough decision.It was not one made overnight.
"I wanted to retire at a time that I can still make a contribution to the team. It's a source of pride to me to have played during the championship years of the '60s, the challenging years of the early '70s and with this young club that is bouncing back now."
Brock played in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 World Series, which he named as his great thrills in baseball.
He said "nothing has been firmed up" about any future association with the Cardinals.
Cardinal Manager Ken Boyer, who also attended the news conference, was asked if Brock's decision to retire at the end of the year would affect his playing time this season.
"I've said all winter long that Lou was in reach of 3,000 hits," Boyer said.
"With the spring he's had and the way he's playing now, I can't imagine him not being able to reach that milestone."
Brock, who now has 2,900 hits, said he did not think the pressure would build during his final season to reach that goal.