HOUSTON, TX - The Astros announced today that they will celebrate the outstanding careers of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt with a special pregame ceremony prior to the Saturday, April 5 game vs. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The ceremony will include retirement gifts and several of Berkman and Oswalt's former teammates and family members. Prior to the ceremony, the Astros will hold a press conference during which each player will be signed to a one-day contract so that they can officially retire as Astros. All fans attending will receive a special commemorative item.
"We are honored to celebrate the careers of Lance and Roy, two of the best players in Astros history," said President of Business Operations Reid Ryan. "Both were elite players and among the best of their era, and both played extremely significant roles in the most successful run in Astros history.
"Lance and Roy were also very popular with our fans and were outstanding representatives of the Astros organization. On April 5, our fans will have the opportunity to celebrate their great careers with us."
Berkman, 38, spent 12 of his 15 Major League seasons in an Astros uniform after being the club's first pick in the 1997 June Draft out of Rice University. For his career, he hit .293 in 1,879 games with 366 home runs and 1,234 RBI with a .406 on-base pct and a .537 slugging pct.
On the Astros all-time lists, Berkman currently ranks in the top five in several offensive categories, including games (1,592-4th); home runs (326-2nd); RBI (1,090-3rd) walks (1,040-3rd), runs (1,008-3rd) and slugging (.549-1st). Berkman was also one of the best switch-hitters in ML history, ranking near the top in several offensive categories, ranking second in slugging percentage (.537) and OPS (.943), behind only Mickey Mantle, third in on-base percentage (.406) and fourth in home runs (366).
"I'm really looking forward to the this," Berkman said. "It's great to come back to Houston full circle. I've always considered myself an Astro and a Houstonian. I'm very proud to have played on some great Astros teams and proud to have played in what was probably the best era in franchise history. It is very appropriate to retire as an Astro."
In 13 Major League seasons (2001-13), Oswalt compiled a 163-102 record in 365 appearances (341 starts) with a 3.36 ERA. During his 10 seasons in an Astros uniform (2001-10), Oswalt was one of the top pitchers in all of baseball. A three-time All-Star, Oswalt reached 20 wins in back-to-back seasons (2004-05) and was a 19-game winner in 2002. After being selected in the 23rd round of the 1996 June Draft, he arrived in the Major Leagues in 2001, posting an outstanding 14-3 record in 28 appearances (20 starts) that season with a 2.73 ERA.
Oswalt earned MVP honors in the 2005 NLCS, posting a 2-0 mark with a 1.29 ERA in the Astros six-game series win vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. In that series, he was the starter and winner of the Astros Game Six-clinching win at Busch Stadium. In 13 career postseason appearances, he was 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA.
In the Astros all-time rankings, Oswalt is second in both wins (143) and strikeouts (1,593), and has the best winning pct. (143-82, .636) in franchise history.
"To come back and retire as an Astro means a lot to me," Oswalt said. "I came up with the Astros organization and played on some great teams. Playing in the World Series in 2005 was the highlight of my big league career. I have a lot great memories from my years with the Astros."
TICKET INFO.: Fans can purchase discounted tickets to this special April 5th game by calling 1-800-ASTROS2 (or visiting www.astros.com/tickets) and asking about the 14-Game Flex Plan or Group Ticket options.