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|First baseman/Designated hitter|
January 29, 1972 |
St. Louis, Missouri
|June 27, 2000, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 2, 2003, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||23|
Morgan Burkhart (born January 29, 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former first baseman/designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for the Boston Red Sox (2000–2001) and Kansas City Royals (2003). He was a switch hitter and threw left-handed. He is currently the manager of the Windy City ThunderBolts in the Frontier League.
Listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 225 pounds, Burkhart was never able to fulfill the potential that he showed in the minor leagues. He started his professional career in 1995 as a pitcher/1B with the Richmond Roosters of the independent Frontier League. His numbers were significant, considering that during his time the league only had an 80-game schedule. In four seasons of Frontier ball, Burkhart hit .353 (393-for-1113), averaging 21.5 home runs and 76.5 RBI in each season. He won three league MVP awards, was selected to the All-Star Game four times, and won the Triple Crown in 1998, hitting .404 with 36 home runs and 98 RBIs in 80 games, being honored by Baseball America as the 1998 Independent Player of the Year. He was dubbed by Peter Gammons as the "Babe Ruth of the Frontier League."
Burkhart was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1998, playing for three different minor league levels before joining the Red Sox in June 2000. In his rookie season, he hit .288 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 25 appearances, playing mostly as a backup for Brian Daubach. After the season, he made history in the Mexican Pacific League while playing for the Navojoa Mayos, when he homered from both sides of the plate in one game against Mazatlán. In 102 games, he hit .340 with 18 home runs and a .591 slugging percentage, including a 19-game hitting streak to start the season, and led the league with 55 RBIs and a .461 on-base percentage. Baseball America named him the Winter Player of the Year. From 1999 to 2000, he also was named the league MVP and a two-time All-Star.
Burkhart started 2001 with Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting .269 with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs in 120 games before rejoining the Red Sox late in the season. He spent 2002 with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Japan's Pacific League, and played for the Kansas City Royals in 2003 for his last major league season.
In a 42-game Major League career, Burkhart posted a .248 batting average (30-for-121) with five home runs and 23 RBI, including a solid .366 on-base percentage.
After a brief stint in Triple-A with the 2004 Charlotte Knights, Burkhart went to the Mexican League with the Saraperos team based in Saltillo. He led the league in runs (100), walks (95) and OBP (.517), while hitting .365 (7th in the league) with 24 home runs (2nd), 91 RBIs (2nd), and a .658 slugging percentage. In 2005 he finished with a .304 average, 26 home runs, 72 RBI, 91 runs, 84 walks, a .466 OBP and a .583 SPC. The following season, he was sent by Saltillo to the Piratas (Campeche) in exchange for Tom Evans.
Burkhart hit over 250 career home runs in total as a professional baseball player.