William Lance Berkman (born February 10, 1976) is an American professional baseball first baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball. He stands 6' 1", and weighs 220 pounds (100 kg). Berkman has spent various seasons of his career as a regular at all three outfield positions.
In 2005, Lance Berkman signed a six year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Making a move to first base while Jeff Bagwell was injured, Lance ended the season with 24 home runs and 82 RBI’s. Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series against the Huston Astros, Lance hit a grand slam in the 8th inning, as the team’s battled for 9 more innings in what became the longest game in MLB playoff history, with the Astros winning. The 2006 season, he hit 45 home runs and had 136 RBI’s, which broke the Astros single season record.
In 2000, he showed a strong affinity for hitting cleanup for the Astros, hitting .339 when in that number four slot, with a .696 slugging percentage. He takes in stride being the cleanup hitter on a contending team.
The St. Louis Cardinals finally got the good news they'd been waiting for in the never-ending Lance Berkman injury saga: surgeons going in to repair his torn meniscus Friday discovered he hadn't torn his ACL, an injury that would have definitely ended his season and possibly ended his career. His meniscus repaired, Berkman is now likely to miss two months, give or take a couple of weeks, before the Cardinals can count on his return. But it looks like he will return—and in a season so snakebitten as this one, that qualifies as good news.
An MRI Monday disclosed tearing of the meniscus and cartilage responsible for cushioning the knee. Berkman, a veteran of four knee operations, estimated he will be sidelined minimum of six weeks following the arthroscopic procedure while admitting that he might require a significantly more extensive procedure.
In 2010, Lance Berkman was traded to the New York Yankees where he was a designated hitter and back-up first baseman. The 2011 season brought some change, as Lance became a St. Louis Cardinal. On July 5, 2011, he hit his 350th homerun and was a team leader in batting, home runs and RBI’s. He was awarded the NL Comeback Player of the Year and a member of the 2011 World Series Champions.
Berkman broke out from a two-season slump in 2011, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 94 runs en route to a seventh-place finish in the NL MVP voting. That season led to a one-year, $12 million contact with the Cardinals, but he's been able to play in just 13 games this season because of his injuries. Berkman is one of the best switch-hitters of all time. If he were to retire, he'd finish with a career line of .296/.409/.546 with 359 home runs over 14 seasons in the major leagues
June 1997: The Astros chose him in the first round, out of Rice University. Lance got a $1 million signing bonus from the Astros when he signed. He lives less than two hours from Houston in New Braunfels, Texas.
After starring at nationally-ranked Rice University, becoming the Astros' #1 pick in the draft (16th overall), and then being voted playoff MVP for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, Berkman became used to the spotlight. The young left fielder hit for both power and average, and complemented that plate prowess with competent outfield play and an above-average arm.
William Lance Berkman, also known as “The Big Puma”, is a professional baseball player from the United States of America and plays as a first baseman. Berkman played at the Canyon High School before graduating in 1994 to attend Rice University. At Rice, Berkman played for the Owls and in 1997, his junior year, was named as the National College Player of the Year. He was also named to the Collegiate Baseball Magazine, Baseball America and The Sporting News All American First Teams.
In 1997, Berkman hit 41 home runs, the third highest in the history of the NCAA. His 134 RBI were second in the all time list while his 1.031 slugging percentage was ranked sixth and his total bases for the season was fourth at 263. Berkman led his team to their first ever College World Series appearance.