Houston Astros to honor Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt in pregame ceremony

  • David Whitlock
Oswalt and Berkman played together from 2001 to 2010, when they were both traded (Credit: Eric Kayne/Houston Chronicle)

Oswalt and Berkman played together from 2001 to 2010
(Credit: Eric Kayne/Houston Chronicle)

Houston Astros fans have not had much to look forward to on the field the past three dismal seasons (162 – 324), but on April 5th, they will get to pay tribute to two of their heroes from the 2005 National League Championship squad, to date, their only pennant.  Lance Berkman (a Houston native) and Roy Oswalt both announced their retirements this week, and the Houston Astros plan to sign them to one-day contracts, then honor them on April 5 before the game.  According to Paul Casella of MLB.com, Reid Ryan was excited to bring back two Houston sports heroes to be recognized by their fans:

“We are honored to celebrate the careers of Lance and Roy, two of the best players in Astros history,” said president of business operations Reid Ryan. “Both were elite players and among the best of their era, and both played extremely significant roles in the most successful run in Astros history.”

Lance Berkman retires as the fourth highest career home runs all time by a switch hitter (359, amongst elite like Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, and Chipper Jones).  He made five All-Star games while with the Astros finishing in the Top 5 in a number of categories:

  • On-base percentage .410 (1st)
  • Home Runs 326 (2nd)
  • RBI 1,090 (3rd)
  • Doubles 375 (3rd)
  • Runs 1,008 (3rd)
  • Average: .296 (4th)

During two World Series appearances (including the one with the Astros), Berkman hit .410 with 11 RBI in 11 games (and an astronomical 1.084 OPS).

Roy Oswalt was the 2005 pennant winning Astros team leader in wins with 20, and won the key 2005 NLCS Game 6 in St. Louis to send the franchise to their first World Series.  He likewise is among the franchise elite in career stats:

  • Wins 143 (2nd)
  • Winning % .636 (2nd)
  • Strikeouts 1,593 (2nd)
  • Innings 1931.2 (3rd)
  • Starts 291 (3rd)
  • K/BB 3.572 (3rd)

Both will certainly be on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, but neither is likely to get induction.  The Houston Astros have been liberal in their retirement of numbers (nine, not including Jackie Robinson) and it would be hard, given the above stats, that these two wouldn’t join that fraternity.  Both will get their due with fans, and it will certainly be a hot ticket, even for an Astros team that has not yet been competitive in the new era.

– David Whitlock

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David Whitlock

David Whitlock - manager

David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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