October 3, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Lance Berkman (12) salutes the fans after receiving a standing ovation as he came up to bat during the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won 1-0. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Berkman announces retirement


MLB.com’s Richard Justice reported this afternoon that former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman/right fielder Lance Berkman has announced his retirement.


The switch-hitter retires with a .293 batting average, 1905 hits, 422 doubles, 366 home runs, 1146 runs scored, 1234 runs batted in, and six All-Star selections.

Berkman’s right knee–the same that has bothered him for some time now–is the reason why the 37-year-old will not be playing a 16th season. It’s unlikely that he will turn to broadcasting in retirement but coaching certainly is going to be an option–most likely at Rice University, where he went to college.

His legacy will be that he was one of the best offensive players in the game for a long stretch of his career. During his first 12 seasons, including 10-plus with the Astros, he averaged 30 home runs, 34 doubles, 95 walks and had a .410 on-base percentage and a .958 on-base-plus-slugging.

His .9429 OPS is the 26th-highest in history among players with at least 500 games. It’s higher even than Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

After finishing the 2010 season with the New York Yankees, the longtime Houston Astros veteran signed with the Cardinals as a free agent. It proved to be beneficial for the Cardinals as Berkman played a key role in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Berkman was one of two players that scored on David Freese‘s game-saving triple to right field. In the tenth inning and down to the last strike, Berkman lined the fifth pitch of the at-bat to center field for RBI double, scoring Jon Jay, to tie the game.

Unfortunately, Berkman’s 2012 season saw a handful of injuries. During the first season without Albert Pujols, the plan was for Lance Berkman to play at first base and Carlos Beltran in right field.

The 2012 breakdown at first base:
Matt Adams: 23 games started
Berkman: 22 games started
Matt Carpenter: 30 games started
Allen Craig: 86 games started
Bryan Anderson: 1 game started
Daniel Descalso: 5 games, 0 started
Yadier Molina: 3 games, 0 started

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