Sunday, April 26, 2009

1976 Topps #51 - Ray Burris

Ray Burris had a 15-year career with seven different teams, compiling a lifetime record of 108-134 with a 4.17 ERA. Although he played for a lot of teams, I always think of him as a Cub.
Ray had his best year in 1976. He went 15-13 with a 3.11 ERA in 36 starts and 249 innings with the Cubs. He had 15 wins in '75 and '76 and 14 wins in '77 but then he tapered off to a 7-13 record in 1978. Ray pitched for three different teams in 1979, mostly out of the bullpen. The Mets put him back in the starting rotation in 1980 and he had a 7-13 record.
Ray went to Montreal in 1980 and had a good season. He went 9-7 with a 3.05 ERA. Ray lost a game in the NLDS but he shut the Dodgers out in game 2 of the NLCS. He pitched eight innings in game 5 of that series and left with the game tied 1-1. Unfortunately, Rick Monday homered off of Steve Rogers in the 9th inning to propel Los Angeles to the World Series. I remember watching that game in English class and most of the students were pulling for the Dodgers :(
Burris stayed with the Expos as a swingman through the 1983 season then moved on the the Oakland A's. He had his last good year in 1984 (13-10, 3.15), then he moved around some more before finishing up with the Brewers in 1987. He had actually retired after the 1986 season but was serving as a pitching coach with Milwaukee and was pressed into service for a few games.
After his retirement Burris served in several capacities in the Brewers and Tigers organizations. He is now the pitching coach for the AA Erie Seawolves. I've seen several references to a "Ray Burris School of Baseball" in Fort Worth, Texas, but I haven't been able to find out any more about it. I don't know if it has to do with this Ray Burris or if it is even operating anymore.

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