RuudCharlie Ruud left his career as a professional baseball pitcher this week. In September, he’ll become associate pastor of  Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minn.

Ruud, 27, played five years with the independent St. Paul Saints of the American Association. During that time, he also earned a divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

“Charlie Ruud is, and always will be, a true Saint,” said Saints coach George Tsamis.

The Saints’ Web site calls Ruud “the most decorated pitcher in the team’s illustrious 17-year-history.”

Ruud is a 2004 graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield. Excerpts from an interview with Ruud are posted on the college’s Web site.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune also featured Ruud in an article today.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ruud “leaves as the Saints’ all-time leader in wins (36), strikeouts (300), games started (72), innings pitched (458.0) and complete games (9). He is 4-3 with a 4.72 earned-run average this season.”

Note: Photo courtesy St. Olaf College and the St. Paul Saints