Tom Burke (minors02)

From BR Bullpen

Thomas F. Burke

  • Bats unknown, Throws unknown

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Tom Burke played one season in the minor leagues and died as the result of an on-field accident. Described as being from East Boston and an alumnus of Boston University, Burke spent the 1906 season with the Lynn Shoemakers of the New England League. He was the team's regular left fielder, batting .278 in 77 games.

On August 9th of that year, he was hit in the temple by a pitch thrown by Joe Jerger of the Fall River Indians, fracturing his skull. He was caught by the umpire as he fell down. He died in the hospital two days later, never having regained consciousness. There was a police inquiry, but Jerger was cleared of any wrong-doing after a court hearing ten days later. This was not done because anyone thought Jerger had intentionally thrown at Burke, but in order to clear the pitcher's reputation through a formal process. At the time of the accident, the name of the pitcher was wrongly reported as "Joseph Yeager", possibly due to confusion with contemporary major leaguer Joe Yeager. Burke may also have been confused with another athlete of the same name, Thomas Edmund Burke, an Olympic medalist sprinter at the 1896 Olympics who was a law student at Boston University.

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