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Lance Berkman, Michael Young to Retire

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Both players had long, successful major league careers and are stepping down at the right time.

Lance Berkman, Michael Young to Retire

Veterans Lance Berkman and Michael Young both decided to retire from baseball today. Both men happen to be 37 (Berkman played one more season but nearly 100 fewer games) and leave behind legacies as two of the most consistent players of the 2000s. 

According to MLB.com's Richard Justice, Berkman just wasn't committed to playing with the physical condition he was in. Berkman spent the majority of his career with the Houston Astros, was traded to the New York Yankees and then had a renaissance with the St. Louis Cardinals en route to a World Series in 2011. Injuries derailed his career after that as he played in just 105 games over the next two seasons with St. Louis and Texas. In his 15 years, Berkman batted .293 with 1,905 hits, 366 home runs, 1,234 RBI, an OBP of .406 and a slugging percentage of .537. 

Berkman finished in the top-seven of MVP voting six times and finished third twice. He was a six-time All-Star and despite the great seasons he put up, he was seemingly overshadowed or even a little underrated Injuries. It wasn't until Berkman teamed up with Albert Pujols that he finally attained a World Series title, and the Big Puma was one of the key reasons St. Louis beat the Texas Rangers that year. Berkman batted .423 with 11 hits over the seven games. 

Michael Young was even more under-appreciated it seemed even though he was one of the most durable and reliable players over the last decade-plus. Ken Rosenthal broke Young's retirement news on Twitter Young had spent his entire career with the Texas Rangers up until last year when he split time with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodges. Over that time all Young did was hit and hit well. During his 14-year career, Young batted exactly .300 with 2,375 hits, 185 home runs, 1,030 RBI, an OBP of .346 and a slugging percentage of .441.

Young made seven All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008. He never finished higher than eighth in MVP voting (which he did twice) but was a model of consistency. Young had nine straight season with an average of above .284 (with many of those above .300) and eclipsed 200 hits in six of those seasons. Young led the MLB in hits twice and led the AL in batting average in 2002. Young also rarely missed time amassing 11 seasons of at least 150 games played.

As for which career I'd rather have, I'd have to go with Lance Berkman. While both players were models of consistency that may have been taken for granted, Young is almost serially recognized as being underrated at this point, and while he was good, Berkman won a title and had some truly great seasons. Check out some of these lines: 

.331/.430/.620 with 33 home runs, 126 RBI (and led MLB in doubles with 55)
.292/.405/.578 with 42 home runs, 128 RBI
.316/.450/.566 with 30 home runs, 106 RBI
.315/.420/.621 with 45 home runs and 136 RBI
.312/.420/.567 with 29 home runs, 106 RBI (led NL in doubles with 46 and threw in 18 stolen bases)

Berkman was such a sneaky great player but got lost in the shuffle of steroid Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and other players that came and went. Berkman was the better player, but that doesn't take anything away from Young's career. Both players will be missed, and we wish them nothing but the best in retirement.

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