An era in baseball history has come to a close. The Killer B’s are forever gone. The last remaining member of the Houston Astros’ Killer B’s, Lance Berkman, has retired. A new era of baseball has begun for the Astros. While their minor leagues are full of soon to be excellent Major League players, the Killer B’s will always hold a special play in the hearts of Houston.
Lance Berkman was a dynamic switch hitting outfielder and first baseman, who unfortunately was robbed of massive amounts of playing time in his last few years due to injuries. He was the sort of player that every team hopes their first round pick becomes. The Astros took Berkman from Rice University with the 16th overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft. He rewarded the Astros with 1,592 games played, 1,648 hits, 1,008 runs scored, 375 doubles, 326 home runs, 1,090 RBI, a .296 batting average, a .410 on-base percentage, .549 slugging percentage, with 1,040 walks against 1,121 strikeouts. There are becoming fewer players today who are even close to having an equal walk to strikeout ratio.
Houston loved Berkman and he loved the city back. Berkman helped to solidify the Astros as perennial contenders in the National League Central throughout his career. He is also easily one of the best switch hitters of all time. He was unfortunately overshadowed for much of his career by the other Killer B’s; Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Derek Bell or by the other high profile players he played with while a member of the Yankees, Cardinals, and Rangers. Lance Berkman was a true baseball player. He did whatever the team needed him to do so that they could win. Whether it was playing in the outfield, first base, or as the DH. Baseball will miss Lance Berkman, and Houston will soon be adding another member to their hall of fame. Cooperstown should also take a good long look at Berkman too in five years as well.