Fifteen-year veteran outfielder and first baseman Lance Berkman announced today that he was calling it quits. A nagging knee injury was the reason cited by Berkman to MLB.com for why he is hanging up the spikes.
A native of Waco, Texas, Berkman was a first round draft pick by the Houston Astros in 1997. Berkman broke into the league in 2000 with the Astros where he finished sixth in Rookie of the Year Award voting. He finished with 21 homers, 67 RBI, and a respectable .297 batting average in 114 games. From 2001-2009, Berkman averaged 32 homers, 107 RBI, and a .973 OPS. He finished in the top-5 of the MVP voting four times and made five All-Star teams.
In 2011, at the age of 35, Berkman joined the St. Louis Cardinals where he resurrected his career with 31 homers and 94 RBI and helped the Cards to a World Series title. Berkman proved to be a clutch postseason player. In 52 games, the Big Puma collected nine homers, 41 RBI, and hit .317. In addition to the World Series title with the Cardinals, Berkman led the Astros to their first World Series berth in 2005 where they succumbed to the Chicago White Sox.
In all, Berkman was a 6-time All-Star, mostly while in Houston. Although he never won a World Series with the Killer B’s (Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio), Berkman was able to garner a championship ring in 2011 during his stint with the Cardinals. He was a pivotal part of that World Series team as he was also named the National League Comeback Player of the Year the same season.
Berkman finished with 366 homers, 1234 RBI, and a .294 lifetime batting average. His homer total ranks him fourth all-time among switch-hitters. Berkman accumulated those numbers as a member of the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers.
Staff writer Travis Coverston also contributed to this post.