Tom Burgess (baseball)

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Tom Burgess
First baseman
Born: (1927-09-01)September 1, 1927
London, Ontario
Died: November 24, 2008(2008-11-24) (aged 81)
Lambeth, London, Ontario
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 17, 1954, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1962, for the Los Angeles Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average .177
Home runs 2
Runs batted in 14
Teams

Thomas Roland Burgess (September 1, 1927 – November 24, 2008) was a Canadian baseball player, coach and manager. An outfielder and first baseman, Burgess had two trials in Major League Baseball—a 17-game stint with the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals and a full season with the 1962 Los Angeles Angels. He then forged a long career as a minor league manager and served as a Major League coach with the New York Mets (1977) and Atlanta Braves (1978). In his playing days, he threw and batted left-handed and stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg).

A native of London, Ontario, Burgess attended the University of Western Ontario. He first signed with the Cardinals in 1946, making his debut with the Hamilton Red Wings of the Class D PONY League. Despite compiling a robust .350 batting average in 1947 in the Class C Interstate League, by 1949 Burgess was voluntarily retired and spent three seasons with the London Majors of the Canadian Intercounty Baseball League. He resumed his pro playing career in 1952 in the Class A South Atlantic League and batted .328, then continued his hot hitting in 1953, batting .346 with 22 home runs and 93 runs batted in with the Cards' top farm team, the Rochester Red Wings of the Triple-A International League. That earned him a promotion to St. Louis for the start of the 1954 campaign, but Burgess collected only one hit—a double off Paul LaPalme of the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 13—in 21 at bats, an .048 batting average, before being sent back to Rochester.

Burgess spent the next seven seasons in the International League, with Rochester and the Columbus Jets, and then was acquired by the expansion Angels in their maiden season, 1961. He spent that year with the Triple-A Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers of the American Association, then made the 25-man roster of the 1962 Angels. He appeared in 87 games and batted 143 times over the course of a full season, but could muster only a .196 batting average. By 1963, he was back in the International League for his final pro season. All told, Burgess batted .177 with 29 hits, two home runs and 14 RBI in 104 Major League games.

He returned to the game as a manager in the farm systems of the Cardinals, Braves, Mets, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers in the 1970s and 1980s. He managed in Triple-A with the Tidewater Tides, Richmond Braves, Oklahoma City 89ers and Charleston Charlies, and among his achievements won championships in the Appalachian League, Texas League and the California League. During his 1977 campaign with the Mets, he was the third-base coach on the staff of Joe Frazier and Joe Torre and, the following year, served under Bobby Cox in Atlanta. He was named to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the London (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame, and the Rochester Red Wings Hall of Fame.

Burgess died from complications due to cancer on November 24, 2008, in Lambeth, London, Ontario.

References[edit]

  • Marcin, Joe, and Byers, Dick, eds., The Baseball Register, 1977 edition. St. Louis: The Sporting News.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eddie Yost
New York Mets third-base coach
1977
Succeeded by
Dal Maxvill
Preceded by
Vern Benson
Atlanta Braves third-base coach
1978
Succeeded by
Alex Grammas