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Ryan Braun announces retirement after 14 seasons with Brewers

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Ryan Braun, the slugging outfielder who spent his entire 14-year career with the Milwaukee Brewers, announced his retirement from baseball on Tuesday. 

Braun announced his retirement in a video the Brewers posted on Twitter, and chose to focus on how grateful he was to the team, the staff, his teammates, but most especially the fans. 

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"I weighed this decision for many months," Braun said in a press release. "While I still love this game very much, the time is right for me to retire from my playing days."

"It's difficult to describe my emotions today, but it starts with overwhelming gratitude to those who have shared this experience with me while offering their unconditional support at every turn."

Braun made his MLB debut in 2008 and last played in 2020, which was the final year of the five-year, $105 million contract extension he signed in 2011. 

Rookie of the Year, MVP and breaking the postseason drought

Braun ends his career as one of the greatest Brewers of all time, retiring with a franchise-record 352 home runs and a .296/.358/.532 batting line. He was always a threat at the plate, and that started from his very first season. He took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 when he hit a staggering .324/.370/.634 with 34 home runs, all in just 113 games. 

That kicked off what would be a six-year run of bonkers production. In that time, he won five Silver Sluggers and was voted to the All-Star Team five times. He also finished in the top 3 of MVP voting twice, and took home the title in 2011 when he hit .332/.397/.597 with 33 home runs and just 93 strikeouts.  

Braun played a key role in ending the Brewers' decades-long postseason drought in 2008. With the playoffs on the line in the final game of the season, Braun — just one year removed from his amazing rookie campaign — hit a go-ahead two-run home run that helped propel the Brewers to victory and punch their ticket to the playoffs. (They were eliminated in the National League Division Series by the eventual World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.) Braun also led the Brewers to their first-ever division title in 2011, the same year he was voted MVP.

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers poses during the Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day on February 19, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Ryan Braun retires as the Brewers' all-time leader in home runs with 352. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

PED scandals

Braun's career path took a sharp turn in December 2011, when a leaked drug test showed that he'd tested positive for high levels of testosterone, indicating that he was taking performance enhancing drugs. Facing a 50-game suspension, Braun challenged the decision in early 2012 and won, becoming the first baseball player to ever win a drug test challenge. 

While Braun avoided a suspension in 2012, he wasn't able to in 2013 when the Biogenesis scandal broke. Braun's name appeared in Biogenesis documents, indicating that he'd used the clinic to obtain banned PEDs. Instead of appealing the decision, Braun accepted a 65-game suspension in 2013 due to the overwhelming evidence MLB had reportedly gathered linking him and others to Biogenesis. 

Following his suspension, Braun played the rest of his career with his head down. He was no longer the brash, mouthy player he once was, but he continued to produce at a decent clip, hitting .276/.338/.492 with 141 home runs from 2014 through 2020. He retires as the Brewers' all-time leader in home runs (352), and is behind only Robin Yount in doubles (408) and RBIs (1,154).

Since Braun played his final MLB games during the 2020 empty stadium season, the Brewers announced that they'll be honoring him at their final regular season home game on Sept. 26.

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