Monday, July 8, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #44 JOHN BURKETT


MADE THE MOST OF A SO-SO ARM.




LED THE '01 BRAVES OF MADDUX AND GLAVINE WITH A 3.04 ERA.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Soft-tosser John Burkett was part of a nice 1-2 punch at the top of the Giants' rotation for a 103-win second-place team in 1993. Burkett's 15-year career mark was 166-136, and he led baseball in victories in '93 and posted double-digit wins 10 times. Not bad for a pitcher whose fastball hardly topped 85 mph.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Burkett became a 20-game winner for the first and only time in his career on Sept. 23, 1993, after three-hitting the Astros over eight innings. The 7-0 victory was the Giants' 95th of the season and kept them within 2 1/2 games of the Braves in the NL West with 10 left. The Giants' frantic chase would finish a game short. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • The '93 season, of course. He was 22-7 with a 3.65 ERA, was named to his first and only All-Star team and finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting. In addition to Burkett, that staff was led by Bill Swift (21-8). 

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in '90 after going 14-7 with a 3.79 ERA.
  2. In '96 with the Rangers, Burkett went the distance and got the win in Game 1 of the Division Series against the Yankees. He scattered 10 hits in the 6-2 victory, the first for the Rangers in the postseason.
  3. After his ERA hovered in the mid-4's and 5's from '97-'99, Burkett signed with the Devil Rays in the winter of '00 but was released in spring training.
  4. The Braves took him off the scrap heap, and pitching coach Leo Mazzone worked his magic; in the next two years, Burkett went 22-18 with a 3.74 ERA.
  5. Burkett is a part-time professional bowler, having rolled 12 perfect games.

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