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Lance Berkman is retiring

Jan 29, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT

Lance Berkman AP

Lance Berkman was said to be leaning toward retirement all offseason and now Richard Justice of MLB.com reports that the 37-year-old switch-hitter has decided to call it a career after 15 seasons in the majors.

Berkman often gets lost in the shuffle when talking about the best hitters of this era, but he was a consistently excellent hitter for a dozen years and finished among the top five in MVP voting four times.

Berkman hit .293 with 366 homers in 1,879 games and also walked nearly as many times (1,201) as he struck (1,300), posting a .406 on-base percentage that ranks fifth among all active players. He made six All-Star teams and his .943 OPS is the second-highest in baseball history among switch-hitters, behind only Mickey Mantle (.977) and right in front of Chipper Jones (.930).

He seems unlikely to get a ton of Hall of Fame support from voters, but Berkman was a Hall of Fame-caliber player who combined big batting averages with huge on-base percentages and monster power. Helluva career. So long, Big Puma.

  1. hk62 - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    I’ve been an Astros fan since I remember liking baseball (about 43 years now) and a Lance Berkman fan since he came up to the bigs. So I am not unbiased and I’m not making a case for the HOF because I no longer believe in that process (at all – nice job voters). But in 2006, Houston pushed STL to the limit before fading on the last 2 days of the season in, granted, a down year for the NLC record wise. Go study that season – there was one offensive player that was the reason – the Big Puma. (Yes, the pitching played a huge role as well) .386 BA with RISP for a FULL SEASON. If he came up with a runner in scoring position, he did something positive (as opposed to making an out that doesn’t drive in the run or K, I’m not counting moving runners up at all here) over 75% of the time. Yes, it was only one season at that level – but that level has been seen only about 5 or 6 times, and except for the guy still playing for the Angels (that used to be in STL), and the gentleman that played in SF that had a head girth issue – all the other guys that did it – have plaques,

    He was bad for NYY, except for winning a DS game in MIN (you forgot that one right?) He was incredible for STL the next season though and got his ring – that by the way was the only season I cheered for the Cardinals (after, the Astros of course).

    From me – Thanks Puma!

  2. jkaflagg - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Was somewhat shocked to see how many bitter trolls were insulted by Puma playing his last few years; seems to be people that think he forced himself on the Cardinals and Rangers at gunpoint, as opposed to those teams wanting to sign him to improve their teams. Don’t see any complaints from Cardinal fans; being a key player in delivering a World Series championship seems to be more important to them than his age or physical condition…..Good guy, good player, enjoy your retirement.

  3. 13datsyuk13 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    I’m glad the picture is of him in an Astros uniform.

  4. cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:50 AM

    See ya, Phat Elvis. Happy Trails and all that.

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