Leo Burke

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Leo Burke.jpg

Leo Patrick Burke

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Biographical Information[edit]

Before the 1957 season, Leo Burke signed with the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent. They placed him with the Class A Knoxville Smokies where he appeared in 97 games, hitting .192. This prompted a trip to the AA San Antonio Missions where played 22 games and hit .183. Evidently, the tutoring helped as 1958 saw Leo hit .307 with 17 homers for Knoxville and earned a late season look from Baltimore, where he appeared in seven games. He was 5-for-11 (.455), including a home run off Zach Monroe of the New York Yankees. Burke was with the AAA Miami Marlins in 1959 where he dropped back to .219 but belted 21 homers and got another late season trip to Baltimore, playing 5 games and hitting 2-for-10 (.200). It was back to Miami for the entire season in 1960, where he slugged 15 homers and hit .255.

On December 14, 1960 the Washington Senators plucked Leo in the expansion draft and, in turn, sold him to the Los Angeles Angels, their brothers in expansion. Leo played six games with the Angels in 1961, did not make an impression and was sent to the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers where he hit .252 in 42 games. He spent the balance of the year with the Salt Lake City Bees; in 90 games, he hit 16 homers and batted .280. 1962 saw Burke get into 19 games for the Angels, hit .266 and spend the rest of the season back with Dallas-Fort Worth, where he hit .278 and led the American Association with 27 homers. This performance led to the St. Louis Cardinals purchasing his contract on March 25, 1963. He appeared in 30 games with the Cardinals and, on June 24th, was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Barney Schultz. Burke spent his first and only full season in the major leagues with the Cubs in 1964, hitting .262 in 59 games. Leo spent 12 games with the Cubs in 1965; he went 2-for-10 and they sent him to the Salt Lake City Bees, where he appeared in 60 games and hit .214, finishing his career.

Burke spent nine seasons in pro baseball from 1957 through 1965. He was in and out of the majors seven different seasons, playing 165 games, with 301 at bats and 72 hits, including 9 home runs, for a .239 average. His minor league stats show a bit more action, appearing in 844 games, with 2,875 at bats and 732 hits, including 127 home runs, for a .254 average.

He was a graduate in business administration from Virginia Tech, where he played baseball, basketball and football. As of December 2008, he was retired in his hometown of Hagerstown.


Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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