Burnitz with the Rockies in 2004
April 15, 1969 |
|June 21, 1993, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 2006, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs batted in||981|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jeromy Neal Burnitz (born April 15, 1969) is a former baseball player. Burnitz was a right fielder in Major League Baseball who played with the New York Mets (1993–94, 2002–03), Cleveland Indians (1995–96), Milwaukee Brewers (1996–2001), Los Angeles Dodgers (2003), Colorado Rockies (2004), Chicago Cubs (2005), and Pittsburgh Pirates (2006).
Burnitz played his collegiate ball at Oklahoma State University and played minor league ball with the Welsh Waves, the Pittsfield Mets and the Buffalo Bisons. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He first came up with the New York Mets and exhibited both power and speed, but was traded by them to the Cleveland Indians, Burnitz never really cracked the Cleveland lineup and it was only after his trade to Milwaukee in 1996 that he emerged as an everyday player.
In his 14-year career, Burnitz was a .253 hitter with 315 home runs and 981 RBI in 1694 games. He hit at least 31 home runs from 1998 to 2004 with a career high 38 in 1998, a year in which he also had 125 RBI, another career mark. He played in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 1999. In 1999 he started the game, replacing the injured Tony Gwynn and became the first Brewer since Paul Molitor to start in the All Star Game. Burnitz was a constant crowd favorite in Milwaukee, providing many of the only thrills during an otherwise low point in Brewers' history in the first years of their National League history. After signing a contract extension with the Brewers in 2000, he was briefly the franchise's highest paid player of all time. In 2002, he returned to the Mets, but did not perform as well with his original team as both he and Mets fans hoped. He was traded to Los Angeles in the Mets' 2003 purge of high-salaried players, and signed the following year with the Colorado Rockies.
In 2004, Burnitz signed with the Colorado Rockies, and became part of some rare home run displays. On April 27, he, rookie Matt Holliday, and Charles Johnson combined to slug back-to-back-to-back home runs against the Florida Marlins, the sixth such occasion in franchise history. In a May 18 game against the Cincinnati in which he hit two home runs, both were part of back-to-back HR sets with Holliday, making them the first teammates in franchise history to hit back-to-back HR twice in the same game, and the first teammate duo to do so since Mike Cameron and Bret Boone of Seattle Mariners in 2002. In 150 games, he led the Rockies with 37 home runs, hit a career high .283, and was second on the team with 110 RBI. On February 2, 2005, the Cubs signed Burnitz to a one-year contract, the same day Sammy Sosa's trade to the Baltimore Orioles was finalized. He continued to hit well at Wrigley Field with a .258 average, 24 homers and 87 RBI in 160 games with the Cubs.
Burnitz was known as a good clubhouse man and a friendly, laid-back guy. During a slump in May 2006, he held an interview in order to apologize for failing to run out a grounder, then joked about the challenges that his team would face during the rest of the season, saying, "I'm your Highest-Paid Free Agent. That, in and of itself, should tell you the big picture that the team's in." 
The Pirates opted not to renew his contract on November 1, 2006. On March 11, 2007, Burnitz announced his retirement after 14 seasons.
- "Matt Holliday stats, video highlights, photos, bio (2004 highlights)". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia – Gary Gillette, Peter Gammons, Pete Palmer. Publisher: Sterling Publishing, 2005. Format: Paperback, 1824pp. Language: English. ISBN 1-4027-4771-3
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
|National League Player of the Month