Jim Burton

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Jim Scott Burton

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jim Burton is most famous for being the losing pitcher in Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, pitching for the Boston Red Sox against the Cincinnati Reds. Burton had made his major league debut for the Sox in mid-season in 1975, pitching 29 times with a record of 1-2, 2.89 and 1 save. He and fellow youngster Dick Pole were considered the last men on the Red Sox pitching staff during the postseason, but the grinding World Series took a toll on pitchers, and Darrell Johnson decided to use him to start the top of the 9th inning in the fateful game, with the score tied 3-3. Jim had only pitched a third of an inning in the Series, but he was already the Sox's fourth pitcher of the night, following starter Bill Lee and relievers Roger Moret and Jim Willoughby, who had been lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 8th. Burton started by walking Ken Griffey, then Cesar Geronimo moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. He managed to get pinch-hitter Dan Driessen on a ground ball for the second out, but Griffey moved to third. He walked Pete Rose and then Joe Morgan followed with a single to center, driving in Griffey with what would prove to be the Fall Classic's winning run. Reggie Cleveland then replaced Burton and got the last out, but Boston went down in order against Will McEnaney in the bottom of the 9th to end the game and saddle him with the loss.

Burton only pitched one more major league game after that momentous outing, pitching in mop-up relief on September 17, 1977 in an 11-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. He ended his brief major league career with an excellent 2.75 ERA - in the regular season. The following year, he was traded to the New York Mets in return for utility infielder Leo Foster at the end of spring training, but he never got back to "The Show".

Further Reading[edit]

  • Les Masterson: "Jim Burton", in Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan, ed.: '75:The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 104-109. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7

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