Lance Berkman

William Lance Berkman (born February 10, 1976), nicknamed "Big Puma", is an American former professional baseball outfielder and first baseman. He played 15 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. Berkman is a six-time MLB All-Star and won a World Series championship and the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award with the Cardinals in 2011. He stands 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m), and weighs 220 pounds (100 kg). Berkman spent various seasons of his career as a regular at all three outfield positions.

A standout baseball player at Canyon High School, Berkman attended Rice University, where he played college baseball for the Owls. Named the 1997 National College Player of the Year, the Astros selected Berkman in the first round of that year's amateur draft, and he debuted in the major leagues in 1999. He joined the Astros' vaunted "Killer B's" lineup that included Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio as all three players were instrumental in the club's playoff success. The Astros traded Berkman to the Yankees at the 2010 trade deadline. He signed with the Cardinals as a free agent for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Berkman played a key part in the Cardinals winning the 2011 World Series, hitting a game-tying single in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6, with the Cardinals just one strike away from elimination. He played the 2013 season with the Rangers before signing a one-day contract with Houston to officially retire as an Astro.

Active in charity work, Forbes recognized him on their list of "30 most generous celebrities" in 2012.[1] He has led a group called "Berkman's Bunch," an outreach for 50 underprivileged kids to meet Berkman before each Saturday home game for autographs and other gifts. In 2013, he purchased a fire truck and donated it to the City of West, Texas, after the West Fertilizer Company explosion.

Lance Berkman
Astros Opening Day-24 Lance Berkman
Berkman with the Houston Astros in 2009
Outfielder / First baseman
Born: February 10, 1976 (age 43)
Waco, Texas
Batted: Switch Threw: Left
MLB debut
July 16, 1999, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 17, 2013, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
Batting average.293
Home runs366
Runs batted in1,234
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early life and college career

Berkman was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Cynthia Ann (née Thomas) and Larry Gene Berkman.[2][3][4] His paternal grandfather, whose family's surname was originally "Bjorkman", was of Swedish descent.[4] Berkman graduated from Canyon High School in New Braunfels, Texas, in 1994.

Berkman then attended Rice University playing on the Owls baseball team, where he was named the 1997 National College Player of the Year, playing for the legendary Wayne Graham, as well as named a first team All-America by Collegiate Baseball Magazine, Baseball America and The Sporting News.[5] He was invited to visit the White House and dined with President Clinton along with the rest of the Baseball America honorees.

Throughout college, he batted a collective .385 with 67 home runs and 272 RBI. His 41 home runs in 1997 ranked third-most in NCAA history. That year he also made the all-time record book in RBIs (2nd-134), slugging percentage (6th-1.031) and total bases (4th-263) while leading the Rice Owls to their first College World Series appearance.[6]

Berkman returned to Rice in 2014 to finish his degree.[7]

Minor league career

The Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB) selected Berkman in the first round, with the 16th overall selection, of the 1997 MLB draft.[8] The team assigned him to play with the Kissimmee Cobras, their Class A-Advanced affiliate, of the Florida State League. In 53 games, he hit .293 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI.

In 1998, his second minor league season, the Astros promoted Berkman to the Jackson Generals of the Class AA Southern League. His potential was beginning to show, as he hit .306 with 24 home runs and 89 RBI over 122 games. The Astros granted him a mid-season promotion to the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. He played 17 games in New Orleans, and 1998 would prove to be his last full season in the minor leagues. In 1999, Berkman was midway through a great season in New Orleans when he was called up to the parent club, the Houston Astros. Prior to the promotion, he had been hitting .323 with 8 home runs and 49 RBI through 64 games.

Major League career

Houston Astros

1999–2004: Early Astros career

Throughout his entire high school, college, and minor league career, Berkman had almost exclusively played first base. The Astros, who called him up to the major leagues for the first time in 1999 and already had Jeff Bagwell entrenched at first, shifted Berkman to the outfield so he could regularly hit in the starting lineup. Because of his last name and reputation as a strong hitter, Berkman gained distinction as one of the Astros' "Killer B's" early in his career, which included Bagwell and Craig Biggio, two formidable veteran players who helped established the club as perennial playoff contenders in the 1990s and 2000s. In fact, journalist Dayn Perry jocosely noted in 1999 that the Astros, "in pursuit of arcane history, used eight players whose last names began with 'B.'"[9] The eight included Bagwell, Paul Bako, Glen Barker, Derek Bell, Sean Berry, Berkman, Biggio, and Tim Bogar.[10] After appearing in 34 games in 1999, Houston demoted Berkman to the minor leagues for more seasoning.

The demotion proved brief, however; 31 games into the 2000 season, Houston again promoted Berkman. Moving from left field to right field, he dramatically increased his offensive production by hitting .297 with 21 HR and 67 RBI, resulting in him becoming a starter for the rest of his career in Houston. In 2001, Berkman hit .331, fourth in the National League (NL), posted a .430 on-base percentage (OBP) (5th in the NL), and drove in 126 runs (7th in the league). He also scored 110 runs and hit 34 home runs, while his 55 doubles led the league. 2001 also marked his first All-Star appearance (he would repeat in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008) and he was 5th in Most Valuable Player voting.[11]

2002 saw his batting average drop to .292, although he kept his OBP high at .405. His power output increased also, resulting in 42 home runs. Berkman scored 106 runs and drove in 128, good enough to lead the league. He made his second All-Star appearance and was third in the NL in the Most Valuable Player voting.[11]

In 2003, Berkman's batting average dipped to .288, but his OBP remained high at .412. He hit 25 home runs, and drove in 93 runs, scoring 110. In the field, he played every game in left field, moving to center field once.[11] Berkman also continued his reputation for being colorful and outspoken, advocating for the use of instant replay in games.[12]

In May 2004, Berkman produced a .785 slugging percentage with 24 RBI winning the National League Player of the Month honors for the first time in his career.[13] Berkman made the All-Star team, his third All-Star appearance,[11] and placed second in the 2004 Home Run Derby behind Miguel Tejada.[14] He hit the longest home run of the tournament at 497 feet (151 m).[15] Berkman's average for the season increased to .316 from the year before, and his OBP was .450, having walked 127 times. He hit 30 home runs, drove in 106, and scored 104 runs. He also hit 40 doubles and appeared in 160 games, the most in his career for a single season. Defensively, Berkman split 2004 between left and right field.

2005–10

Berkman signed a six-year, $85-million deal in March 2005.[16] He moved to first base early in the 2005 season while Bagwell spent a significant portion of the season injured. Berkman ended the season with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs.

05.10.2008 Lance Berkman
Berkman in 2008

In Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, Berkman hit a grand slam in the 8th inning. That brought the score to 6–5 in favor of the Braves, but the game was tied in the next inning on a two-out solo home run by Brad Ausmus. The teams then battled for 9 more innings in what became the longest game in Major League Baseball playoff history, with the Astros eventually winning the game (and the series) in the bottom of the 18th inning on a Chris Burke home run. Burke had replaced Berkman as a pinch runner in the 10th. In the 2005 World Series, Berkman's first, the Astros were swept by the Chicago White Sox in four games, though Berkman compiled a .385 average with two doubles. His six RBIs during that series were the most of any of the Astros' hitters.

On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Berkman was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.[17] On September 13, 2006, Berkman became only the second switch hitter in Major League history to hit 40 or more homers in multiple seasons, with Mickey Mantle being the first.[18]

During the 2006 season, Berkman hit 45 home runs and had 136 RBI. He broke the Astros' single season record for RBI, previously set by Bagwell in 1997 with 135.[19] He also had a .315 batting average, an on-base percentage of .420, as well as a slugging percentage of .621.[11] He also hit a career high 5 home runs from the right side of the plate.[20] He finished third in the MVP voting behind Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols.[21]

Berkman started the 2007 season in a bit of a slump,[22] batting .261, well below his career average, but rebounded for a strong second half of the season. Berkman finished the 2007 season with a .278 batting average, 34 home runs and 102 RBIs, along with 7 stolen bases.

Berkman started the 2008 season batting well above .385 through April, won the NL Player of the Month in May and two separate Player of the Week awards, one which he went 29–32 (batted .906) with 6 home runs, including a McCovey Cove splash landing.[23] At the All-Star break, he was in the NL's top four in batting average, with 22 home runs, and was on pace for 130+ RBIs. However, despite the rest of the team picking up steam behind the likes of Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodríguez, Hunter Pence, and Ty Wigginton's rebound second half, Berkman's individual performance dipped significantly, and by season's end, he batted .312, with 29 home runs (7 of which were right-handed, setting a new career high), and 106 RBI. Berkman was fifth in the voting for the 2008 NL MVP award, behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun, and Manny Ramirez.[24]

Berkman hit his 300th home run against Arizona Diamondbacks starter Jon Garland on June 13, 2009.[25]

New York Yankees (2010)

P1100257 Lance Berkman
Berkman during his tenure with the New York Yankees in 2010

On July 31, 2010, Berkman was traded to the New York Yankees for minor leaguers Jimmy Paredes and Mark Melancon.[26][27] He served as both a designated hitter and back-up first baseman during his tenure with New York. During the 2010 ALCS, Berkman served first base for the rest of the post-season when Mark Teixeira went on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury. The Yankees eventually lost the ALCS to the Texas Rangers in 6 games.

The Yankees announced on October 27 that the club declined to exercise their option for Berkman for 2011.[28]

St. Louis Cardinals (2011–2012)

2011 season: Comeback and World Series championship

Berkman was under contract with the Cardinals for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

On July 5, 2011, Berkman hit his 350th career home run, and his long-ball was the second farthest home run ever hit in the new Busch Stadium.

2011 became a comeback year for Berkman, as he was one of the team leaders in batting average, home runs and RBI. He was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Lance Berkman on June 29, 2011
Berkman playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011

Berkman made key contributions in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series vs the Texas Rangers. He hit his first home run in a World Series game in the first inning and in the ninth, with St. Louis down to their final strike before elimination, Berkman was driven home followed by Albert Pujols after a game-tying 2-run triple by David Freese.[29] After Texas scored two runs in the top of the tenth and Ryan Theriot hit a run-scoring groundout, Berkman hit a two-out two-strike RBI single scoring Jon Jay to tie the game. Berkman won his first World Series championship as the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in the series in 7 games.

2012 season

On April 22, 2012, Berkman was placed on the disabled list due to a calf injury. On May 21, 2012, Berkman was again placed on the disabled list due to right knee injury. An MRI revealed that there was significant cartilage damage to both sides of the knee and a torn meniscus, requiring arthroscopic surgery. Berkman returned on July 14, 2012. He was then placed on the 15-day disabled list on August 3, 2012 due to knee inflammation. It was the third time Berkman went on the DL in the 2012 season. On September 10, 2012, he was again put on the disabled list after having to go for a secondary meniscus surgery in the same knee. On October, 3rd, 2012, Berkman had his last at bat as a Cardinal. He spent the 2012 postseason on the physically unable to perform list as the Cardinals won the 2012 NLDS against the Washington Nationals but lost the 2012 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.

Texas Rangers

Lance Berkman 2013 (1)
Berkman with the Texas Rangers in 2013 spring training

On January 5, 2013, Berkman agreed to a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers for approximately $10 million.[30] On October 31, the Rangers declined his option, which made him a free agent.[31] On January 29, 2014, he decided to retire.[32] Berkman, along with former teammate Roy Oswalt signed a one-day contract with Houston to officially retire as Astros on April 5, 2014.[33]

Coaching

In 2009, Berkman stated that after his major league career he would like to coach baseball at the University of Texas at Austin even though he attended Rice University. Since he didn't finish his degree at Rice, he would need to return to school and complete three more semesters to earn a business degree with a minor in sports management. He hypothesized then that "I know [Texas Coach Augie] Garrido's going to coach four or five more years. I figured that might dovetail nicely with the end of my career." [34] With Berkman's retirement in 2014, however, it is at his alma mater, Rice, that the former Owl has spent time assisting young hitters. Rice Coach Wayne Graham has made clear that Rice would be interested, stating that "[i]t sounds like he wants to coach. Hopefully at one time or another it will be here. We’ll manage to always find a place for him."[35]

As of 2015, Berkman is serving as the head baseball coach at Second Baptist School in Houston, Texas, along with his former Astros teammate Andy Pettitte serving as assistant coach.[36] Berkman and Pettitte led Second Baptist to a Tapps State Title in 2016.

Berkman was eligible to be elected into the Hall of Fame in 2019, but received less than 5% of the vote and became ineligible for the 2020 ballot.

Career achievements

Championships earned or shared
Title Times Dates Ref
National League champion 2 2005, 2011
World Series champion 1 2011
Honors received
Title Date Ref
Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee 2009
Awards
Statistical achievements

Notes: Per Baseball-Reference.com.

National League statistical leader
Category Times Dates
Doubles leader 2 2001, 2008
Runs batted in leader 1 2002
National League top-ten ranking
Category Times Seasons Category Times Seasons
Adjusted on-base plus slugging 6 2001, 2004−06, 2008, 2011 Home runs 4 2002, 2006, 2007, 2011
Bases on balls 10 2001−09, 2011 On-base percentage 9 2001−06, 2008, 2009, 2011
Batting average 4 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008 On-base plus slugging percentage 7 2006–08, 2010–13
Runs batted in 5 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008
Doubles 2 2001, 2008 Runs scored 3 2002, 2003, 2008
Extra base hits 4 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008 Slugging percentage 5 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2011
Games played 3 2002, 2004, 2008
Hits 1 2001 Times on base 7 2001−04, 2006, 2008, 2011
Total bases 4 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008
  • Hit better than .300 five times, with a career high batting average of .331 in 2001.
  • 43rd all-time in on-base percentage (.406).
  • 40th all-time in slugging percentage (.537).
  • 28th all-time in OPS (.943).
  • National League record holder for most single season RBIs (136) as a switch hitter.
  • National League record holder for most single season Home Runs (45) as a switch hitter (tied with Chipper Jones).
  • Record holder for most home runs in day games at Minute Maid Park in Houston (147).[37]
  • Record holder for most career home runs at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati for an opposing player (23).[38]

Personal life

Berkman and his wife, Cara, live in Houston with their four daughters. Berkman has been very outspoken about his Christian beliefs throughout his career.[39][40] Berkman uses his position as a professional athlete to discuss his religious beliefs with others. He told The 700 Club in May 2007: "What you’re running after, what you’re trying to find will not provide you with any lasting fulfillment. The only place you can find that is Jesus Christ. It's in the service of God you’ll find that lasting fulfillment."[41]

In 2001, Berkman began leading a charity called "Berkman's Bunch" where 50 underprivileged kids could meet Berkman before each Saturday home game for autographs and other gifts.[42] In April 2012, Forbes named Berkman one of the 30 most generous celebrities as he and his wife had donated $2,412,245 to a foundation they established called To The Lord's Fund.[43]

In July 2013, Berkman purchased a fire truck and had it overhauled by the City of Arlington. He then donated it to the City of West, Texas, in the wake of the West Fertilizer Company explosion that took place earlier in the year. The fire truck is white with a red Maltese cross on the doors and the name Berkman over the cross with his number "17" encircled within the cross.[44]

Lance accepted an invitation to film an advertisement against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which was aimed at protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination, and would have allowed men claiming to be transgender into girl's restrooms. The ordinance sought to ban discrimination on a variety of levels, including sex, race, color, ethnicity and other classifications. Berkman took to the airwaves to repeat a popular stance of HERO’s critics, arguing that the law would allow male predators dressed in drag to enter women’s bathrooms, stating that he had a wife and daughters that he wanted to protect from such exposure. Berkman’s appearance garnered criticism from some. One source of criticism came from former football player Chris Kluwe. The controversy flared when then Houston Mayor Annise Parker stated of Berkman, "That someone who made his name in our city would inject himself into this debate by taking to the airwaves to discredit an effort to ban discrimination in all forms did upset me. This ordinance protects all Houstonians and his remarks diminished it to something trivial." The ordinance was rejected by Houston voters in a ballot initiative in November 2015.[45][46][47]

Nicknames

He is most popularly known as "Fat Elvis" and "The Big Puma." Before the 2006 season started, in an interview with a local Houston sports radio station, Lance joked "I'm more like a puma so I'm not sure why people call me Fat Elvis."[48] The show's hosts, John Granato and Lance Zierlein, ran with the moniker and Houston fans and media latched onto "The Big Puma." When questioned further, Berkman explained the nickname is simply logical. "Agile, athletic, sleek ... all the things that describe my game", he said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.[49] With his outstanding start in 2008, this nickname also became known on a national level.[50] That same year, a Lance Berkman fan club calling themselves "The Little Pumas" emerged. During Berkman's long tenure with the Astros, they could be seen wearing puma costumes and foam puma paws at most Astros home games near the Conoco Pump in left-center field. The group became relatively well-known among Astros fans, as they were shown often during Astros broadcasts on Fox Sports Houston.[51]

Berkman was also one of the Astros' "Killer B's" in the mid-2000s, along with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Derek Bell.[52]

See also

References

  1. ^ Antunes, Anderson. "The 30 Most Generous Celebrities". Forbes. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  2. ^ "San Antonio Express-News, Archives | mySA.com". Nl.newsbank.com. June 15, 1996. Retrieved April 3, 2013. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "NewsBank for Statesman | www.prod.statesman.com". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "William Lance BERKMAN: SweAme". Swedesintexas.com. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  5. ^ Wild, Danny (October 16, 2009). "Path of the Pros: Lance Berkman". MLB.com. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "Rice University Records" (PDF). Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Duarte, Joseph. "Berkman's back in the game as a student at Rice". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  8. ^ "Astros Legend Lance Berkman Inducted into College HOF". Climbing Tal's Hill. March 4, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  9. ^ Perry, Dayn (December 23, 2012). "Remembering the 'Killer B's'". CBSSports.com. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "1999 Houston Astros: Batting, pitching, & fielding statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Lance Berkman statistics & history". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  12. ^ Lance Berkman wants instant replay. "We have the technology," Archived June 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine The Faster Times
  13. ^ Footer, Alyson (June 2, 2004). "Berkman NL Player of the Month". MLB.com. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  14. ^ "Home Run Derby (2000–2008)". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
  15. ^ Antonen, Mel (July 12, 2004). "Tejada blasts way to victory in Derby". USA Today. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Footer, Alyson (March 19, 2005). "Astros, Berkman reach six-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  17. ^ Lance Berkman Pink Louisville Slugger Bat for Breast Cancer Awareness Big Time Bats
  18. ^ "BASEBALL: NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP; Peavy Is Dominant As Padres Rout Reds". The New York Times. September 14, 2006. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  19. ^ "Houston Astros Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
  20. ^ Lance Berkman Player Profiles
  21. ^ Molony, Jim (November 20, 2006). "Berkman finishes third in MVP voting". Major League Baseball. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  22. ^ Lance Berkman's long slump. Letterman books a real star. SportsJustice, by Richard Justice
  23. ^ Splash Hits List MLB.com
  24. ^ Leach, Matthew (November 17, 2008). "Crowning achievement: Pujols NL MVP | MLB.com: News". MLB.com. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  25. ^ Ortiz, Jose de Jesus (June 14, 2009). "Berkman, Tejada put milestones to good use". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  26. ^ "Yankees make Berkman Deal Official". Yankees.lhblogs.com. July 31, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  27. ^ McTaggart, Brian (July 30, 2010). "Astros finalize Berkman deal with Yankees". Pressbox.mlb.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  28. ^ Yankees decline options on Berkman, Wood, Johnson The LoHud Yankees Blog
  29. ^ Thriving Berkman marvels at Series' drama MLB.com
  30. ^ "Rangers Reach Deal With Lance Berkman". CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. January 5, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  31. ^ "Texas Rangers decline $12 million contract option for Lance Berkman". Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. October 31, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  32. ^ Durrent, Richard (January 29, 2014). "Lance Berkman decides to retire". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  33. ^ "Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt retire". ESPN.com. April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  34. ^ "Berkman has dreams of coaching at UT". MLB.com. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  35. ^ "Wayne Graham on Lance Berkman: 'A great legacy'". Ultimate Astros. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  36. ^ "Former Astros great Lance Berkman hired as Second Baptist baseball coach". Sports Update. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  37. ^ Lance Berkman Athletic Celebrity Marketing
  38. ^ Berkman plays despite sore hand MLB.com
  39. ^ "Berkman's Just Fine As Is". chron.com. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  40. ^ "Faith and America's Favorite Pastime". chron.com. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  41. ^ "Lance Berkman: True Satisfaction – The 700 Club". Cbn.com. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  42. ^ Baldwin, Tony. "Berkman is clutch both on and off the field". EveryJoe. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  43. ^ Pollock, Bill. "Berkman makes Forbes' list of 30 Most Generous Celebrities". MissouriNet. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  44. ^ "Lance Berkman to donate fire truck to West". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  45. ^ "Lance Berkman appears in controversial ad over Houston's equal rights bill – For The Win". For The Win. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  46. ^ "Annise Parker hits back at Lance Berkman for anti-HERO advertisement". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  47. ^ "In Houston, Voters Reject A Closely Watched Equal Rights Ordinance". NPR. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  48. ^ "The Z Report: I am partly responsible for the nickname "Big Puma"...well, kind of". chron.com. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  49. ^ "Mailbag: Berkman the 'Big Puma?'". MLB.com. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  50. ^ "Berkman enjoying fruits of labor". MLB.com. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  51. ^ "Little Puma Roster". Thelittlepumas.com. May 23, 2008. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  52. ^ "MLB Pro Blog: NLCS: Astros v Cardinals". Birth of the B's. Major League Baseball. Retrieved April 21, 2011.

External links

Preceded by
Barry Bonds
Chase Utley
National League Player of the Month
May 2004
May 2008
Succeeded by
Jim Thome
Hanley Ramírez
1997 College Baseball All-America Team

An All-American team is an honorary sports team composed of the best amateur players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply "All-Americans". Although the honorees generally do not compete together as a unit, the term is used in U.S. team sports to refer to players who are selected by members of the national media. Walter Camp selected the first All-America team in the early days of American football in 1889.The NCAA recognizes three different All-America selectors for the 1997 college baseball season: the American Baseball Coaches Association (since 1947), Baseball America (since 1981), and Collegiate Baseball (since 1991).

2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 75th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, the home of the Houston Astros of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 9–4, thus awarding an AL team (which would eventually be the Boston Red Sox) home-field advantage in the 2004 World Series.

2004 National League Championship Series

The 2004 National League Championship Series (NLCS) was a Major League Baseball playoff series played from October 13 to 21 to determine the champion of the National League, between the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals and the wild-card qualifying Houston Astros. This marked the first time in either Major League that two teams from the Central Division met in a Championship Series.

In a series in which all seven games were won by the home team, the Cardinals won 4–3 to advance to the World Series against the American League champion Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox reached their first World Series since 1986, with the Cardinals playing in their first since 1987. While the NLCS was an exciting back-and-forth series, it was overshadowed in media attention by Boston's comeback in the ALCS.

The Cardinals would go on to lose in a sweep to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series in four games.

2004 National League Division Series

The 2004 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2004 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 5, and ended on Monday, October 11, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:

(1) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 105–57) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (Western Division champion, 93–69): Cardinals win series, 3–1.

(2) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 96–66) vs. (4) Houston Astros (Wild Card, 92–70): Astros win series, 3–2.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage. Although the team with the best record was normally intended to play the wild card team, the Cardinals played the Dodgers, rather than the wild card Astros, because the Cardinals and Astros are in the same division.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Cardinals became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series.

2005 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2005 season was a season in which the Houston Astros qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Astros overcame a sluggish 15–30 start to claim the wild card playoff spot, and would go on to win the National League pennant to advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. It was longtime Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell's final season and first World Series appearance.

2005 National League Division Series

The 2005 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2005 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 4, and ended on Sunday, October 9, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:

(1) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champions, 100–62) vs. (3) San Diego Padres (Western Division champions, 82–80): Cardinals win series, 3–0.

(2) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champions, 90–72) vs. (4) Houston Astros (Wild Card, 89–73): Astros win series, 3–1.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was determined by playing record. Although the team with the best record was normally intended to play the wild card team, the Cardinals played the Padres, rather than the wild card Astros, because the Cardinals and Astros are in the same division.

The Cardinals and Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Astros became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.

2006 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby

The 2006 Century 21 Home Run Derby was a 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game event held at PNC Park, the home field of the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 10, 2006. The competition had eight competitors as usual and seven were eliminated in over three rounds. Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies defeated David Wright of the New York Mets to be crowned derby champion. A total of 87 home runs were hit in the derby.

2008 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby

The 2008 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby (known through sponsorship as the State Farm Home Run Derby) was a home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball (MLB) between four batters each from the American League and National League. The derby was held on July 14, 2008, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York City, the host location of the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. ESPN televised the event live at 8:00 PM EDT, with ESPN Radio and XM Satellite Radio handling radio broadcasting duties.Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins defeated Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, 5–3, in the final. In the first round, Hamilton set an MLB record for most home runs in one round of a Derby with 28, hitting 13 of them with eight outs.

The eight participants were Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros, Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins, Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins.

Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was originally going to participate to defend his 2007 title, but he ultimately declined the invitation in order to spend time with his family. Morneau became the first Canadian player to win the derby since its introduction in the 1985 MLB season.

2011 World Series

The 2011 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2011 season. The 107th edition of World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Texas Rangers and the National League (NL) champion St. Louis Cardinals; the Cardinals defeated the Rangers in seven games to win their 11th World Series championship and their first since 2006.

The Series was noted for its back-and-forth Game 6, in which the Cardinals erased a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning, then did it again in the 10th. In both innings, the Rangers were one strike away from their first World Series championship. The Cardinals won the game in the 11th inning on a walk-off home run by David Freese. The Series was also known for the blowout Game 3, in which Cardinals player Albert Pujols hit three home runs, a World Series feat previously accomplished only by Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth, and subsequently by Pablo Sandoval (in 2012).

The Series began on October 19, earlier than the previous season so that no games would be played in November. The Cardinals enjoyed home-field advantage for the series because the NL won the 2011 All-Star Game 5–1 on July 12. The 2011 World Series was the first World Series to go all seven games since 2002.

Berkman

Berkman is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alexander Berkman (1870-1936), Russian-American anarchist

Brenda Berkman (born 1951), First woman being hired by the New York City Fire Department

Lance Berkman (born 1976), American major league baseball player

Ted Berkman (1914-2006), American screenwriter

Chris Seelbach (baseball)

Christopher Don Seelbach (born December 18, 1972) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Atlanta Braves from 2000-2001. He also played for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball in 2002. He was hit on the head by Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman. He was immediately taken off the field and sent to the hospital. He did recover.

Chris now owns and operates Hit Run Steal a baseball and softball equipment company.

Houston Astros award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Houston Astros professional baseball team.

Jeff Motuzas

Jeffrey R. Motuzas (born October 1, 1971 in Nashua, New Hampshire) is a baseball bullpen catcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks but now throws batting practice for the Washington Nationals after being out of the game for years.

Motuzas attended Nashua High School where he was a Rawlings First Team All American his senior year. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 13th round (343rd overall) of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft. Motuzas played for the Yankees minor league system until he retired from playing in 1996 at AAA.

Motuzas has served as the bullpen catcher for the Diamondbacks since 1998 and retired in 2012. Also of note has been Motuzas participating in the Home Run Derby as a Derby pitcher for Luis Gonzalez, Barry Bonds, Todd Helton, Lance Berkman and Sammy Sosa, a role that is almost always filled by players other than actual pitchers.

Jeff also coached travel ball during the time he wasn't working for an MLB Team. He was a catching coach for AZ T-Rex Baseball. He always brought peanuts instead of seeds. Jeff was the best BP thrower in the organization even better than Rex Gonzalez the team owner. Tuzes would end up leaving because his favorite/best catcher (Donovan McMullen) was too advanced for him.

John Mozeliak

John Mozeliak (born January 18, 1969) is the current President of Baseball Operations of the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Cardinals hired Mozeliak as the twelfth General Manager in franchise history after the 2007 season after serving and training as Walt Jocketty's assistant, despite lacking a professional baseball playing background.

The winner of three Executive of the Year awards, Mozeliak has overseen the Cardinals make six playoff appearances, win one World Series title, and two National League pennants. Each season from 2008–16, they have finished with a winning record. The Cardinals' minor league farm system has received numerous accolades following the volume of prospects that have succeeded at the major league level, including Baseball America bestowing the franchise with the Organization of the Year Award in 2011 and 2013. Mozeliak is signed through the 2020 season.

Killer B's (Houston Astros)

The Killer B's were players on the Houston Astros whose names started with the letter B.

List of Houston Astros team records

This is a list of individual single-season records for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball.

Lone Star Series

The Lone Star Series (also known as the Silver Boot Series) is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry featuring Texas's two major league franchises, the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. It is an outgrowth of the "natural rivalry" established by MLB as part of interleague play as the Rangers are a member of the American League (AL) and the Astros were a member of the National League (NL) until 2012. During interleague play, the winner of the six game series was awarded the Silver Boot, a 30-inch (760 mm) tall display of a size 15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete with a custom, handmade spur. If the series was split (3 to 3), the winner was the club which scored the most runs over the course of the series. In 2013, the Astros joined the American League West with the Rangers and changed their rivalry from an interleague to an intra-division rivalry.

Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award

The Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award is presented by Major League Baseball (MLB) to the player who is judged to have "re-emerged on the baseball field during a given season." The award was developed in 2005, as part of a sponsorship agreement between MLB and Viagra. In 2005 and 2006 representatives from MLB and MLB.com selected six candidates each from the American (AL) and National Leagues (NL) and one winner for each league was selected via an online poll on MLB.com. Since then, the winners have been selected by a panel of MLB beat reporters. Under the current voting structure, first place votes are worth five points, second place votes worth three, and third place votes worth one with the award going to the player with the most points overall. Past winners have often overcome injury or personal problems en route to their award-winning season.

A Comeback Player of the Year Award has been given by The Sporting News since 1965 but its results are not officially recognized by Major League Baseball. Since the beginning of the MLB award in 2005, the recipients have been identical with the following exceptions: 2008 NL (MLB honored Brad Lidge, TSN honored Fernando Tatís), 2010 AL (MLB honored Francisco Liriano, TSN honored Vladimir Guerrero) and 2016 (TSN honored Jose Fernandez and Mark Trumbo, MLB honored Anthony Rendon and Rick Porcello. Francisco Liriano is the only person to win the MLB award multiple times (2010 AL, 2013 NL), and the first to win it in each league.

Twelve players were named to the Major League Baseball All-Star team in their Comeback Award-winning season: Jim Thome, Nomar Garciaparra, Dmitri Young, Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge, Aaron Hill, Tim Hudson, Lance Berkman, Jacoby Ellsbury, Buster Posey, Fernando Rodney, and Mariano Rivera. Two players who were not named to the All-Star team in their winning year—Jason Giambi and Ken Griffey, Jr.—were named to the All-Star team in their previous season. Several winners have won other awards in their winning season. Carlos Peña, Posey, Ellsbury, Griffey and Hill won the Silver Slugger Award along with the Comeback Award. Posey won the NL MVP in his comeback season. Lee won the Cy Young Award in his winning season and Lidge won both the Rolaids Relief Man and DHL Delivery Man Awards the same year. Rodney was also named Delivery Man in his comeback 2012 season. The most recent winners, announced in November 2018, are Jonny Venters from the NL and David Price from the AL.

Venom Energy

Venom Energy is an energy drink brand produced and distributed by Keurig Dr Pepper of Plano, Texas. It is one of the few energy drinks that uses a thick aluminum bottle. Venom Energy was released in 2002 in a more typical beverage container and was relaunched in the new aluminum bottle and with a new taste in early 2008.Originally known as Elements Energy, but later rebranded after sales began to wane.

Some of the original Elements flavors did survive the rebranding:

Black Mamba (Venom), Mango (Infusion), Citrus (Voltage), Strawberry Apple (Atomic), Black Cherry Kiwi (Subzero).

In 2008, Venom Energy entered into a partnership with the Arena Football League to promote the product during the 2008 playoffs on ESPN and ABC. In addition, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens is now a spokesman for the brand. The company also sponsors the Andretti Autosport IndyCar Series team with driver Marco Andretti, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Max Talbot of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins, all from the NHL as well as Jordan Farmar of the New Jersey Nets (NBA) and Lance Berkman of the St. Louis Cardinals (MLB).

Players
Coaches
Veteran players
(pre-1947 era)

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