Lance Berkman Decides to RetireSports Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Lance Berkman officially announced his retirement Wednesday after a 15-year career.
The 37-year-old slugger indicated that he’s just not healthy enough to play anymore after two knee surgeries in 2012 and various other injuries that limited his effectiveness the past two seasons.
“It doesn’t make sense to play in the physical condition I’m in,” Berkman told MLB.com.
He played in just 73 games last season with the Texas Rangers after dealing with several injuries. He tweaked his right knee taking a wrong step getting off a plane and also dealt with hip and back pain. Berkman ended up hitting .242 in 294 plate appearances in 2013, one season after he played in just 32 games with the St. Louis Cardinals and had two surgeries on his knee and dealt with a calf strain.
The Rangers talked him out of retirement with a one-year, $11 million deal, but he wasn’t able to stay healthy enough to help the club down the stretch.
During Berkman’s 15-year career, most of it spent with the Houston Astros, he made six National League All-Star teams and played in five postseasons.
“Lance was one of the greatest players in Astros history, and we are absolutely open to honoring him this season now that he has announced his retirement,” read a statement from the Astros.”We will communicate with Lance in the upcoming days to get his thoughts on this, and hope to schedule something that will give the fans the chance to recognize his outstanding career.”
Berkman won one championship, helping the Cardinals beat the Rangers in the 2011 World Series. With two outs and facing a 2-2 count with his team behind in the 10th inning of Game 6, Berkman hit a Scott Feldman fastball to right-center to tie the score. The Cardinals eventually won on David Freese‘s home run in the 11th. Berkman was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, 3 RBIs and 4 runs scored in the memorable win, calling it the greatest game he ever played in. He ended up hitting .423 in that World Series.
Berkman quickly established himself as a consistent hitter, batting .297 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 114 games in 2000. That was his second season after playing just 34 games in 1999.
From 2000 to 2009 (10 seasons), Berkman averaged 31 homers and 103 RBIs and hit .300. He appeared in the 2005 World Series with the Astros, who lost to the Chicago White Sox.
Berkman was a .317 postseason hitter with nine homers and 41 RBIs in 52 games.
“I’ve had a great career,” Berkman told MLB.com. “I did everything anyone could have set out to do. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.”
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