5th All-Time Astros Hitter
#5: Lance Berkman by Colin Gay
An integral part of the Killer B’s in the early to mid 2000’s, Lance Berkman, known as either Big Puma or Fat Elvis, was a mainstay in the outfield and at first base for the Houston Astros since he was drafted in the first round of the 1997 draft, his debut in 1999, and until he was traded to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline of 2010.
In his eleven seasons as an Astro, Berkman, a Texas boy from Waco and a graduate of Rice, hit .296 with 326 home runs, which is second only to Jeff Bagwell in Astros history. He also brought in 1,090 RBI’s, which is third all-time by an Astro behind Bagwell and Craig Biggio. A five-time All-Star in a Houston Astros uniform, Berkman finished in the top fifteen in MVP voting six times including a third place finish in 2006 in which he hit .315 with 45 home runs and 136 RBI’s, the highest total in his career.
As an Astro, Berkman averaged four Wins Above Replacement each season. Berkman also had a .959 on-base plus slugging percentage in his time in Houston.
Part of the reason Berkman was so well loved wasn’t only his regular season success, but his postseason success in Houston. In his five postseason series with Houston in 2001, 2004, and 2005, Berkman hit .320 with six home runs including three of them in the 2004 NLCS in which the Astros lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Berkman was an important part of the success of these Astros teams not only because of his performance on the field but also because of his positive presence in the locker room. Because of this, Berkman is one of the most popular players among Houston Astros fans still to this day.
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