Jesse Burkett was an amazing control hitter who mastered the art of fouling off the ball until he got the pitch he wanted. Debuting with the New York Giants in 1890, he originally split playing responsibilities between the pitching mound and the outfield. His move to the Cleveland Spiders the following year ended his pitching career, but he would have a breakout season in 1893 batting .348. It was the first of ten straight .300 seasons, including two seasons, 1895 & 1896, when he would hit over .400. He would lead the League in batting three times in his career and would have 6 seasons of 200+ hits. He played his final season in 1905 for the Boston Americans, near the adopted hometown he loved, Worcester, MA.
Burkett is one of two Hall of Famers whose unpleasant disposition resulted in the nickname “The Crab.” The other is Johnny Evers.
July 17, 2011