Lance Berkman thinks the ’05 Astros bullpen was the best all-time

This past week, Lance Berkman joined former major-leaguer Sean Casey’s podcast, The Mayor’s Office. The former Houston Astros outfielder and first baseman talked about his journey to the show, as well as debating baseball philosophies with Casey.

Berkman resides in Houston since officially retiring in 2014, while he is now the head skipper at Houston Baptist University. For Casey, his podcast is named after his nickname “The Mayor,” while it is produced on a wide range of platforms.

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Lance Berkman praises the 2005 Astros pitching staff for their World Series push.

The Astros recently eliminated the Chicago White Sox from the ’21 postseason on Tuesday, while the case was different for Houston in 2005. As many remember, the White Sox swept the Astros in four games to clinch their third World Series title.

“The ’05 Astros, in my opinion, easily had the worst offense that’s ever been to a World Series. We were scraping to get one or two runs and hoping that Clemens, Pettitte or Oswalt would be pitching,” Berkman said, half-jokingly. “We had the greatest bullpen in the history of the game,” he also noted.

The 2005 Astros slashed to a .730 OPS (90 OPS+). While it was a different time for baseball, there wasn’t much consistent slug from Houston bats. The ball club had only four hitters slashing above the league average.

In the bullpen, closer Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls were some of the best relievers in the game. All three right-handers posted ERAs south of 3.30, while Lidge, who was an All-Star, and Wheeler both had ERAs in the 2.20 range.

Berkman also touched on things that are more than baseball for himself. Regarding his faith, the 45-year-old reminisced on his game-tying single in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, while the Cardinals were just one strike away from elimination.

“You hear people talk about butterflies? I had pterodactyls,” he said. “But as soon as I took the donut off my bat and headed toward the plate, it was like this calm just descended. It was crazy…. All I was thinking about was ‘Get a good look at the ball.’ I don’t believe that God made me hit a single, but I dang sure believe that he allowed me to be focused, concentrated and calm in what was the biggest moment of my entire life,” Berkman said.

Berkman finished his 15-year career by signing a one-day contract to retire as an Astro. The six-time All-Star was inducted into the Astros’ Hall of Fame in 2021, after the ceremony was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.