Nelson Burbrink

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Nelson Burbrink.jpg

Nelson Edward Burbrink

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 195 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Before the 1941 season, Nelson Burbrink was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent. The 19-year-old catcher spent his first year with the Ashland Colonels, where he played 123 games and hit .315. Nelson spent 1942 with the same club, appearing in 114 games and hitting .307. The U.S. Military called and he spent the next three years (1943-1945) serving in the Navy during World War II. He was back in 1946, with the Class B Davenport Cubs, where he played 81 games and hit .260. The next season, he turned up in the Ohio State League with the Marion Cardinals as player-manager. He led his squad to a 79-60 season, good enough for a second-place finish, and Nelson personally was the league's leading hitter with a .378 average. In 1948, he tried the same thing again, this time not quite so successfully, as he managed and played for the Class C Clinton Cubs. He was replaced by Lee Eilbracht midway through the season and sent to the Class B Decatur Commodores, taking over for Red Lucas. Nelson wound up hitting a combined .304 for the year, but Decatur went 50-75 and finished 30 1/2 games back in 7th place. These two years made Nelson forget the managerial end of baseball.

Burbrink spent almost a dozen years in the minors before he got a chance, at 35, to play in the majors. He responded well as a backup catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1955, hitting .276 in 58 games. He was back with the Omaha Cardinals in 1956 and finished his playing career in 1957 with Omaha and with the Houston Buffaloes, playing 126 games and hitting .305. Nelson spent 14 active seasons in baseball between 1941 to 1957. In the majors, Nelson often said the highlight of his career was putting a tag on Jackie Robinson, who was attempting to steal home. In the minors, he appeared in 1,453 games, went to bat 4,637 times, and rapped 1,350 hits for a career .291 average.

Nelson retired a couple of years later to become a west coast scout for the Cardinals. He later joined the New York Mets, where he signed Tom Seaver. He became the Mets' scouting director in 1968, then from 1973 to 1977 was the Mets' director of player development. From the late 1970s until his retirement to his home in Seminole, FL in 1992, Nelson was the Midwest scouting director for the Milwaukee Brewers. He died April 12, 2001, at age 79 in Largo, FL

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1947 Marion Cubs Ohio State League 79-60 2nd Chicago Cubs Lost League Finals
1948 Clinton Cubs Central Association -- Chicago Cubs -- replaced by Lee Eilbracht on July 4
Decatur Commodores Three-I League 34-30 7th Chicago Cubs replaced Red Lucas (16-45) on July 4

Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

Related Sites[edit]