Lance Berkman retires

Bob Levey

After 15 years of tormenting pitchers from both sides of the plate, Big Puma is calling it a career.

Lance Berkman has announced his decision to retire from the game of baseball, as MLB.com's Richard Justice reports.

Berkman, who will turn 38 next month, spent the first 12 years of his 15-season career with the Houston Astros. He's the all-time franchise leader in career on-base percentage (.410), and is second in career slugging percentage (.549), OPS (.959), and home runs (326). Only 76 other players in MLB history have finished a career with a weighted on-base average of .400 or better.

After five All-Star appearances with Astros, Berkman was traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline in 2010. He helped the club make a push to the ALCS, and added to his career .317/.417/.532 postseason batting line. The St. Louis Cardinals scooped him up in free agency. He rewarded them with the same kind of production the Cards watched him crank out against them for years, culminating in a World Series win over the Texas Rangers in 2011. Injuries kept him from contributing significantly in 2012 and 2013 (for the Rangers).

Berkman will be remembered by many names -- one of the Killer B's, Big Puma, Fat Elvis, Lake Dad -- but more importantly, he'll be remembered as a highly-esteemed teammate and one of the best switch-hitters of all time.

He'll finish his career with an outstanding 1.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 366 home runs, 1234 runs batted in, and a career batting line of .293/.406/.537.

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