Lance Berkman announced on Wednesday that he will retire because of his problematic knee rather than try to make it through another baseball season. He also says he plans to coach in the future.
Berkman shared word of his decision with MLB.com’s Richard Justice, telling him that it doesn’t make sense for him to continue playing given the physical condition of his knee. Berkman was limited to 73 games with the Texas Rangers last season because of his knee.
“It doesn’t make sense to play in the physical condition I’m in,” Berkman told MLB.com. “I’m not going to keep trying to run out there for the heck of it.”
Berkman told Justice he is looking forward to the next chapter of his career and that he plans to coach.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, and at some point, I’ll definitely coach somewhere,” Berkman told Justice.
Berkman, 37, was a six-time All-Star during his 15-season career. He led the league in doubles twice and RBIs once. He finished third in NL MVP voting twice and fifth twice. A versatile player who played first base and all three outfield positions, Berkman’s strength was his power and ability to get on base. His career batting average is .293, but his career on-base percentage is over .400 at .406. Berkman’s .9429 career OPS is 26th in history and higher than sluggers like Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Albert Belle.
Though Berkman’s OPS is one of the best in history, I feel like he falls just short of the Hall of Fame. He’s definitely a borderline candidate and guy I wouldn’t mind seeing in there, but I just feel like he was slightly below greatness. Maybe that’s because there wasn’t one singular stat or season that Berkman posted that stood out to me and says, “yeah, that guy was one of the greats,” (though his 2006 season was pretty awesome).