Smokey Burgess-Last Hurrah-Part II

Philadelphia Phillies 1952 to 1954

Smokey was a plantooned catcher and pinchhitter with Philadelphia.  Stan Lopata started against left handers, and Smokey against  right handers. 1954 was an outbreak year  for Smokey with an amazing  .368 batting average.  Burgess played in 108 games, 20 as a catcher and eight as a pinch hitter.   He obviously did not have a sufficient number of plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.  Even so, it was the highest BA in the league.

1952-HR 6, RBI 56, BA .296

1953-HR 4, RBI 31, BA .292

1954-HR 4, RBI 46 BA .368 (127 hits in 345  At Bats) (All Star)

Cincinnati Reds 1955 to 1957

In one of their worst deals ever, the Phillies traded Smokey Burgess to the Cinncinnati Reds just before the 1955 season.  They obtained somebody named Jim Greengrass in the deal.  This is after a .368 season. In 1955, Burgess had his most productive year.  In one game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, his future team, Smokey hit three home runs and drove in nine runs.  The next two season the Redlegs had Ed Bailey as the first string catcher with Smokey strictly as a reserve.  1956 and 1957 were good but he dropped off the following year.

1955-HR 20 RBI 77 BA .306 (All Star)

1956-HR 12 RBI 39, BA .275

1957-HR 14 RBI 39, BA .283

1958-HR 6 RBI 31, BA .283

Pittsburgh Pirates

In three of the next four years, Smokey Burgess was finally a first string catcher.  1955 was the only first string year before this. In 1960, Pittsburgh rotated Burgess with Hal Smith.  The year had his best batting average, 1962, was only year as a Pirate that he did not make the All Star team. Smokey lead the Pirates in team batting average in 1959 and 1962.  In 1963, time was beginning to run out on him and he had only one big game in 1964.    

1959-HR 11 RBI 59, BA .297

1960-HR 7 RBI 39, BA .294

1961-HR 12 RBI 52, BA. 303

1962-HR 13 RBI 61, BA .328

1963-HR 6 RBI 37, BA .280

1964-HR 2 RBI 17, BA .246


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