Wednesday, January 7, 2015

#351 Ellis Burks

About the Front: This is not the most favorable photo of Ellis Burks. He looks like the love child of Derek Bell and Willie McGee.

About the Back: Burks was taken in the now-defunct January phase of the amateur draft, 20th overall. It was a good move by Boston, considering that the only other player chosen in that round who accumulated more than 0.6 WAR as a major leaguer was pitcher Bob Milacki, who decided not to sign with the Padres and was taken by the Orioles in the second round of June's draft.

Triple Play:

1. On August 27, 1990, he hit two home runs in the fourth inning against Cleveland, victimizing Tom Candiotti with a leadoff shot and Colby Ward with a two-out, three-run blast.

2. In a career plagued by shoulder, back, and knee injuries, he peaked with a 156-game effort for the Rockies in 1996. That year, Burks led the National League with 142 runs scored and a .639 slugging percentage, and batted .344 with a .408 on-base percentage. He also totaled 45 doubles, 40 homers, 128 RBI, and 32 steals in 38 tries.

3. After returning to the Red Sox for a career-ending 11-game stint in 2004, Ellis joined the Indians front office as a special assistant to the GM.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I have a random memory of White Sox fans chanting "EL-LIS, EL-LIS!" during the 1993 ALCS. Can anyone corroborate? He was one of the better Chicago hitters in that series, with a line of .304/.407/.478 that included a two-run single to provide Game Three's margin of victory.

Bill James Said: "Healthy for the first time since 1990, he settled into the right field slot, batting fifth and sixth, and produced at a respectable level, short of the MVP season that we once looked for from him." His aforementioned 1996 season landed him a third-place MVP finish, actually.

On This Date in 1993: January 7. Bert Blyleven signs a free-agent deal with the Twins, but will end up retiring just shy of his 42nd birthday after failing to make the 25-man roster.


  1. Next to Jim Rice, my favorite player of all time.
    He was also the only black player on the Red Sox roster for the 1990 and part of the 1991 seasons, which I did not realize until pointed out to me many years later.

  2. My first ever autograph I got in person. It was Rangers/Rockies interleague game and he didn't play. He was signing up a storm that security had get him before national anthem played. I wish cherish that moment.