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Smoky Burgess...HOFer?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by CD Boogie, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    I visit Baseball-Reference.com daily and love clicking on the gallery of random pages they put in the top left, as I often follow it down a rabbit hole -- to look at All-Star Game rosters, MVP races, whatever.

    Among today's pages is that of Smoky Burgess, a guy you never hear mentioned among the all-time great catchers. I think he's vastly underrated. He was a 9-time All-Star over 18 years, all as a catcher. He hit .295 for his career, with a .362 OBP and a .446 slugging percentage, for an .807 career OPS. He won a ring with the Pirates in 1960, hitting .333 in the World Series with six hits (and also two walks).

    I don't know if he was injury-prone or what, but he never caught more than 123 games. He also seems to have been something of a shitty fielder, finishing in the top 4 in errors four times and living in the top tier of catchers to be run on.

    Still, that's some slash line in comparison to the all-time greats behind the plate.


    He appeared on two HOF ballots, garnering 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent in 1973 and 1974.
  2. Della9250

    Della9250 Well-Known Member

    To be fair, three of those All-Star appearances are when they had double All-Star games in a season, so he's more like a six-time All-Star.

    He's about 2500 plate appearances short. Probably a borderline Hall of Very Good, maybe a top 50 catcher of all-time. As far as old catchers go, he'd be behind, in no order, Simmons, Munson, Freehan, Tenace and Schang before even being considered. I might even give Charlie Bennett a look before Burgess
  3. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    Simmons seems like a good bet to eventually make it and he should. I've never understood how Munson didn't just glide into Cooperstown when he was first eligible. I know his numbers don't look as great in the post-saber revolution, but he had quite a resume for that time: MVP, ROY, captain of the Yankees, two-time World Series champion, 7-time All-Star in 10 full seasons, 3 Gold Gloves. And yet he peaked in his first year of eligibility with only 15.5 percent. I know he had a reputation for being something of a dick, but did the media really dislike him?

    You're right about the double All-Star games, of course; another enjoyable anomaly from a bygone era.

    I'd be interested to learn why Burgess played so few games. If he was a crappy catcher, wouldn't you want that bat in the lineup somewhere?
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Smokey (it's with an "e" like Smokey Robinson) was listed as a catcher always, but spent much of the latter part of his career as a pinch hitter who'd then maybe catch the rest of the game, which kept his games played totals down. He was a terrific hitter until the end, but he got too fat to be an everyday player.
  5. Della9250

    Della9250 Well-Known Member

    Simmons should be inducted this fall on the Modern Era Committee vote. He was one vote shy of when Trammell and Morris were elected. No other play got more than 7 votes and Marvin Miller got 7.
  6. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    No "e."
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Sir, are you making a liar of the long-dead headline writers of the long dead Wilmington, Del. Journal-Every Evening? Because that's where I got it.
  8. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    What kind of Google voodoo are you using? I type "smokey" and it still brings up the right results
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    You misunderstand me. That's the paper I read as a kid, and that's where Burgess was Smokey. Just stuck with me as odd factlets do when you get older.
    CD Boogie likes this.
  10. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

  11. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of a paper I worked at early in my career. According to the SE, it was the paper's style that the name Charlie was always spelled "Charley" in its pages. No matter how the person involved spelled it. If he was Charles, OK, he could be Charles in the paper. But all Charlies got turned into "Charleys." But of course.
  12. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    Sonny Burgess, the immortal Wild Man of Memphis, should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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