Six-time All-Star 1B/OF Lance Berkman has officially retired from baseball, according Richard Justice of MLB.com. Presumably not finding a lot of free agent suitors with his recent knee problems, it became apparently to him, that now was the time. Berkman seemed content (via MLB.com):
“It doesn’t make sense to play in the physical condition I’m in,” Berkman said. “I’m not going to keep trying to run out there for the heck of it,. I think I’m actually glad about it, I’m excited about the next chapter in my life. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, and at some point, I’ll definitely coach somewhere.”
Coach, you say? He’s done some volunteer coaching at his alma mater Rice University (in Houston) and there are probably a few MLB teams that would be interested in his coaching services. Perhaps even the Houston Astros, who have a bumper crop of hitting prospects who could benefit from Berkman’s experience.
Berkman’s 366 career home runs are currently fourth all time by a switch hitter, behind Hall of Fame members Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones. He spent 11+ of his 15 year career in Houston, reaching the World Series once in 2005 with an aging Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell as part of the infamous “Killer Bees”. Berkman then won it all for the rival St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 batting .423 in the 7-game series. He also has six MVP Top 10 finishes to his credit.
Those like myself who saw Berkman play a lot know he was always a kid at heart, a great clubhouse guy, and someone who genuinely enjoyed playing. He will be missed, and we hope to see him continue to be involved in baseball.
– David Whitlock