Earlier this week, Kerry Wood finally succumbed to tiresome injury troubles that derailed one of the most promising young pitching careers the world had ever seen, and decided to call it a career. A few hours ago, Mark Ellis, were it not for emergency surgery, would have lost his left leg and obviously his career. He may return next year.
Lance Berkman, if he has re-torn his ACL once again, may finally call it a career. For someone who grew up watching the Killer B’s and Mark Prior and Kerry Wood the fact that the Big Puma and K Wood could both be gone from the game in the same week makes me feel old and sad. Berkman was my favorite player for a long time, and Wood was one of them as well. If it’s time for LB to go, it’ll have been a hell of a ride, but one that, like Wood’s to an extent, will leave you thinking “What if he had stayed healthy?” For Wood, that was the story of his whole career. For Berkman, it has been his late prime/twilight years. Although he still produced like an all-star, Berkman has averaged just over 100 games per year the last four years, and if he retires now, his Hall of Fame case is certainly up for debate. If he had four healthy years there, is Puma in?
I don’t know, but I do know that if he retires, we’ll have lost two of the most dominant forces of the halcyon days of the early/mid-2000’s game, and for someone finally seeing the careers of the stars of his youth end, that can only be described as weird.