01 Apr

happy anniversary

Making the cut for the Hall of Fame is tough, as it should be. Some have suggested – in jest – that there should be a Hall of Very Good. There is an abundance of players who would fit very well in such a shrine. One of them is Vicksburg native Ellis Burks, who will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his big league debut this month. Burks registered over 2,000 career hits, 350 homers and 1,200 RBIs. He was a two-time All-Star, and in 1996, as one of Colorado’s Blake Street Bombers, batted .344 with 40 homers and 128 RBIs, earning third place in the National League MVP voting. Burks broke in in ’87 with Boston, which had made him a first-round pick in 1983 out of a Texas junior college. He played 18 years in the big leagues. He was Very Good. … Other debut anniversaries of note this year include the 100th for Batesville’s Sammy Vick, the 90th for Tupelo’s Andy Reese, the 80th for Ellisville’s Harry Craft, the 60th for Longwood’s Frank Barnes, the 20th for McComb’s Adrian Brown and Vicksburg’s John Thomson and the 10th for Jackson’s Seth Smith. Vick, a Millsaps alum, is the answer to a great trivia question: Who was the New York Yankees’ right fielder before they acquired Babe Ruth? Craft, a Mississippi College alum who earned two distinctive nicknames during his career (Popeye and Wildfire), played and managed in the majors and was the first skipper of the Houston Colt .45s. Brown was a 48th-round draft pick by Pittsburgh out of McComb High in 1992. He defied the odds to become the Pirates’ regular center fielder eight years later, batting .315 in 104 games that year (2000). His son, also named Adrian Brown, now plays for William Carey University. Smith, an Ole Miss product, debuted 10 years ago with Colorado as a September call-up and then made the team’s postseason roster. He made the final out of the ’07 World Series, fanning against Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon, the ex-Mississippi State star.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: