At Pride Night, Dodgers Embrace Glenn Burke, Who They Once Shunned
“He could jump out of a stadium,” mentioned Rick Monday, Burke’s former Dodgers teammate and now the membership’s radio analyst. “With his vertical leap, he could have been one of Santa’s reindeer.”
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“Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls, it’s more democratic.”
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But Burke was additionally a person to date forward of his time that the instances didn’t — wouldn’t — acknowledge him. He was traded by the Dodgers, shunned by the Oakland Athletics and, finally, ostracized from baseball. He wound up lost, alone and alienated. He was briefly homeless and turned to cocaine and crack. He did a brief stint in jail for drug possession. He contracted AIDS and died from its problems at 42 in May 1995.
That’s the place the story may have ended. But immediately, the credit proceed to roll.
“The most unique human being, the most dynamic person, that I’ve ever met,” mentioned Larry Corrigan, a minor league teammate of Burke’s (1973 to 1976) earlier than working greater than three a long time as a scout and government, largely for Minnesota. “He was built like a god. He was funny, witty and semi-loud if he knew you. But he could be quiet, too.”
Burke made his debut with the Dodgers in 1976 and largely backed up their nice outfield of that period — Baker, Reggie Smith and Monday. In the 1977 World Series, between the Dodgers and the Yankees, he began Game 1 in middle area whereas Monday nursed a sore again.
Only seven months later, the Dodgers shipped him to Oakland in a commerce for Bill North. It was a baffling, mid-May deal that didn’t add up except you knew about Burke’s personal life. The Dodgers’ gamers did, however most say they didn’t care. As the shock of the commerce plowed by means of the clubhouse, a number of say they shed tears.
“I tell you, he was the life of the party,” Baker, now managing Houston, mentioned from Seattle over the weekend. “He’d get out and dance; he could dance his butt off. He’d crack on anybody, and we loved having Glenn around. Glenn was a big part of our team, man. And he was a hell of a ballplayer who was learning how to hit.”