One of the greatest backstops in baseball history will officially hang up his mitt after a sterling 21-year major league career.

Pudge is calling it a career. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

The Texas Rangers confirmed the announcement on the team’s Twitter feed.

“Pudge” Rodriguez, as he was nicknamed early in his career, spent his first 12 major league seasons with the Texas Rangers, who open a homestand against the New York Yankees Monday.

Rodriguez, 40, won the 1999 American League MVP award while with the Rangers in a year in which he hit .332 with 35 home runs and 113 RBIs. He joins Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek as the third longtime and accomplished catcher to retire in the last few months.

A career .296 hitter, Rodriguez leaves the game with 2,884 hits, 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs. And he was just as productive behind the plate where he won a record 13 Gold Gloves. The 2,427 games Rodriguez played behind the plate is also a record.

Rodriguez won a World Series as a member of the Florida Marlins in 2003 and played for six teams during a career that spanned three decades. He spent the last two seasons with the Washington Nationals and turned down an offer from the Kansas City Royals before this season.

Follow us: @MattBrooksWP | @CindyBoren


Jason Varitek walks away from Red Sox

Jorge Posada retires after 17 seasons with Yankees