The St. Louis Cardinals will host the Washington Nationals for Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday afternoon. But, prior to the start of the game, one of the more important figures in recent Cardinals postseason history announced their retirement. 

Former third baseman David Freese, who spent at least parts of five seasons with the Cardinals, tweeted a note to "family, friends, teammates, and fans" thanking them for their support and help as he "[moves] forward with the next phase of my life." Here's the statement in whole:

"Family, friends, teammates, coaches and fans that handed out support especially when your lives were already full, you helped more than you know. Padres, Cardinals, Angels, Pirates and Dodgers: You took a 23-year-old kid out of college and pushed him to 36. Can't thank you enough for that. Needed it. Will never stop thinking about the days I got to be around such wonderful people playing this game. As I move forward with the next phase of my life, I am forever grateful to all of you and the game of baseball. 11 in 11."

Freese appeared in 1,184 games for his career, hitting .277/.351/.423 (113 OPS+) with 113 home runs. He accumulated 17.2 Wins Above Replacement while suiting up mostly for the Cardinals, but also with the Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Los Angeles Dodgers. He made one All-Star Game and was named the Most Valuable Player of both the 2011 NLCS and World Series. 

Indeed, Freese crafted a legacy for himself that postseason. He homered three times during the NLCS round, notching 12 hits in 22 at-bats and driving in nine runs over the course of the six-game series. He then hit .348 with a home run and seven runs batted in during the seven-game World Series against the Texas Rangers.

Freese, of course, played a huge role in that World Series going to a decisive seventh game. In Game 6, he delivered a two-run, two-strike, two-out triple in the bottom of the ninth with the Cardinals trailing 7-5. Later, in the 11th, he hit a walk-off home run to give the Cardinals the win:

Freese was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres out of the University of South Alabama. He joined the Cardinals in a December 2007 trade that netted the Padres veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds.