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Lance Berkman is looking at going back to school

Sep 6, 2012, 5:53 PM EDT

Lance Berkman Getty Images

Lance Berkman said late last month that he’s leaning towards retirement because of his knee problems. In an interview with FOX 26 on Thursday, he elaborated on that possibility, saying that if he does retire, he plans to return to Rice University to get his degree and serve as a student assistant for the baseball team.

Berkman has already reached out to Owls baseball coach Wayne Graham about the possibility:

“We make our home in Houston,” Berkman said. “I went to Rice. The program did a lot of for me. I would love to do something for the program.

All of those things make it sort of a no-brainer on my end. I’m just happy Coach Graham feels like that I would be enough of an asset to come in and try to help that team win.¬†And really in a lot of ways it’s more exciting that trying to continue my own baseball career.”

Berkman is just 36 and he was one of the National League’s best players a year ago, so it’d be a shame to see him go so soon. However, he doesn’t appear interested in serving as a DH in the American League and he’s not sure he wants to put his body through another year as an NL regular. He’s played in just 30 games this season and hit .263 with two homers in 80 at-bats.

  1. natslady - Sep 6, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Baseball reference estimates his career earnings at $102,005,000. That’ll take care of his grandchildren, one hopes. So good for him, finishing his degree and giving back to young players.

  2. sfm073 - Sep 6, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    I’m sure the rice coached is thrilled with the idea of a borderline hof player and former rice legend wanting to help coach his team.

  3. raysfan1 - Sep 6, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Our loss would definitely be Rice’s gain.

  4. Kevin Gillman - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    I still say he is returning. No player ever wants to end their career on an injury, unless they have to. So I guess we will see.

    • rooney24 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      Well, he is back and playing at the moment. So, if he lasts out the year, his career wouldn’t have technically been ended by injury, just that his last season was lessened by injury. It is ironic that there were questions if he could serve as a full time outfielder last year, but he has missed more time this year while playing first than he did playing OF.

    • umrguy42 - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      True, but also for Lance, he now has a WS ring, so he might consider his career to be as fulfilled as it’s gonna get at this point.

  5. stex52 - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    As a long term Berkman fan, and fellow Rice grad, I say “Welcome back, Lance.” One of the classier and more talented players of the last ten years. I am glad he went to StL. and got his ring. He will be a credit to any community he chooses to live in.

    But if his presence pushes the the Rice baseball program up a step, even better. I’ll bet the Astros will be interested in a personal services contract also.

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