Monday, March 26, 2012

Jimmy Burke, player-manager

Jimmy Burke, third-baseman and manager

Kansas City Blues: 1906-07
Louisville Colonels: 1908
Indianapolis Indians: 1909; 1911-12
Toledo Mud Hens: 1924-25

October 12, 1875 @ St. Louis, Missouri
March 26, 1942 @ St. Louis, Missouri

James Timothy Burke died 70 years ago today. He was known as “Sunset Jimmy.”

Burke’s extensive career as a professional on the diamond began in the Western Association as a member of the Peoria Blackbirds (B) at the age of 22 in 1897. He debuted in the majors the following season.

Burke joined the American Association as a player-manager with the Kansas City Blues beginning in 1906 in the days when the club played at Association Park. The third-baseman batted .284 that year, playing in 152 games. The following season Burke continued to manage the Blues, helping them improve to a fourth-place finish while covering the hot-corner in 154 games and batting .267.

In 1908 he was piloting the Louisville Colonels, bringing the club to a second-place finish just four games in back of the Indianapolis Indians who captured the pennant that year. Burke played 128 games at third base, batting .251, the third-best batting mark on the club.

Indianapolis picked up Burke for the 1909 season to play third base under manager Charlie Carr who brought the Indians to a fourth-place finish. Burke batted .246 while appearing in 139 games. It was his final season as a position player in the American Association, but he went on to manage the Indianapolis club in 1911-12 and the Toledo Mud Hens from 1924-25.

Burke’s entire career in pro ball extended from 1897-1925 with ten seasons spent at the minor league level and seven seasons in the majors. He managed in 12 seasons, including four in the majors.

Burke was paralyzed by a stroke in 1929 and died of pneumonia at the age of 67. He buried at the prestigious Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

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