Saturday, March 3, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #50 Rick Burleson

Rick Burleson, SS, #7 (1974-1980)

1346 Games, 656 Runs, 50 HR, 449 RBI, .328 OBP AL All Star 1977-79, 1981

One of my personal favorites, Rick Burleson was a scrappy Red Sox shortstop of the 1970's. Rick "Rooster" Burleson was a Red Sox first round draft pick in 1970. He made his major league debut with the Red Sox on May 4, 1974. Eventually he would end up being considered one of the best defensive shortshops in the history of the Boston Red Sox, playing in 1031 games (24th best), scoring 514 runs and amassing 1114 (19th best).

Rooster was an intense hard working player who won the hearts of Red Sox Nation. He was the starting shortstop during the magical 1975 season. Burleson hit over .290 in both 1976 and 1977, and was 2nd to Jim Rice among team hit leaders in 1977 with 194 base hits. In 1979 Burleson won a Gold Glove. From 1975 to 1980 Rooster played in at least 145 games and got at least 140 hits each season. Burleson help turn a record setting 147 double plays in 1980.

In one of the most unpopular moves in Red Sox history, Burleson was traded in December 1980 to the California Angels along with Butch Hobson for Carney Lansford, Rick Miller, and Mark Clear. Burleson then played with the Angels from 1980-1984 before finishing up his major league career with the Baltimore Orioles.

Burleson's last few years were tough, as he missed the entire 1985 season with a torn rotator cuff. Burleson came back in 1986 and earned Comeback Player of the Year honors.

However, the trade from Boston to California was a trade Burleson was not happy with. If he had it his way, he would have loved to play his whole career with the Red Sox. "I was disappointed to be traded from Boston after being there for seven years and basically in my prime," said Burleson. "I turned 30 that year and they traded (Fred) Lynn, myself and let Fisk go. That was a front office move through Haywood Sullivan where he got back at us for holding out in early 1976 when that was the first year of free agency.

After just one year removed from baseball, Burleson realized he enjoyed too many things about baseball and wanted to get back into it. The Oakland A's hired Burleson as a roving instructor, and he eventually became their major league hitting coach. Burleson returned as a coach with the Red Sox for the 1992 and 1993 seasons and also managed in both the Dodgers and Mariners organizations before joining the Reds.Today Burleson is still involved in baseball, managing at the Triple A level including several seasons with the Louisville Bats (Cinncinati Reds). He hopes to become a major league manager.

This 100 Greatest Red Sox biography was written by SoxFan of http://soxfanzone.blogspot.com/.

39 comments:

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actually, burleson is a minor league instructor with the reds. he was in louisville in 2004.

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no actually, the "Rooster" is a minor league instructor with the Diamondbacks. Where he should be is in the big leagues managing.

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