All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Berkman Retires: Should the Astros retire his #17?

Lance Berkman announced his retirement from major league baseball after a stellar career. He played on some of the best — and worst — Astros’ teams in history.

He ranks among the Top 5 in almost every offensive category for the Astros.  At .410, he has the best OBP of any player while they were in an Astros’ uniform. He’s second in slugging percentage and OPS behind Moises Alou.

Only Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Jose Cruz have played more games as an Astro and only Bagwell has more HRs.

Berkman’s position in the stat books is almost incomparable. We’ll save the Hall of Fame question for another day.

Today, the question is simple: Should the Astros retire his #17 and hang it from the rafters at Minute Maid Park?

The Astros have retired 10 numbers through the years. Some — like Bagwell’s #5 and Biggio’s #7 — were no brainers. Others, well, let’s just say it’s possible the Astros got carried away.

That, however, shouldn’t sway your thinking as Berkman is clearly one of the top 3-4 position players in Astros’ history.


About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

6 comments on “Berkman Retires: Should the Astros retire his #17?

  1. Flash
    January 29, 2014

    I’m going with no. They’ve gone a little over board with the numbers. They have to have at least 25 free numbers to field a team.


  2. Billy Castillo
    January 30, 2014

    Surprised Oswalt hasn’t retired yet himself. His body’s broken down and he’s turned into a bit of a prima donna as well, and I’d be very surprised if he gets any interest.


  3. Becky
    January 30, 2014

    Yes indeed. Every time I saw him in another uniform, I wanted to throw
    up! Lance was the guy we depended on for a loooooong time. He deserves his number to go up in the park.


  4. Dan P
    January 30, 2014

    It is not Lance’s fault or problem that the Astros retired X amount of numbers. I would argue that only Biggio and Bagwell were clearly better players as Astros. Jackie Robninson’s number is retired with all teams. Wilson and Umbricht are honored because they died during their playing careers. Cruz and Wynn were very good players but not in Berkman’s class as a hitter – even with the difference in era. Scott was a great pitcher for a short spell.Nolan Ryan had a greater career, but as an Astro I can’t say he did more than Lance. I would give Dierker a slight nod for contributions as player, manager and broadcaster.
    If you compare Lance against those already honored – he is a short second step down from the top in Astros history.


  5. BrianT
    January 30, 2014

    If you’re comparing him to what is already retired by the Astros, yes. But here’s a guy who had a reasonable opportunity to finish his career in Houston and signed elsewhere. I’d say no. We’ve retired too many.

    If they Astros ever have a little Hall of Fame of their own, he’s in it. But a retired jersey is another matter.


  6. rj1953
    January 30, 2014

    maybe a sign to remember him, with one of the best nicknames in all of baseball, ‘fat elvis’. i know he preferred big puma, but fat elvis is classic.


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This entry was posted on January 29, 2014 by in Astros.

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