Pat Burrell

VIDEO: Pat Burrell homers in batting practice … wearing khakis

The Giants were taking batting practice prior to their 2-0 victory over the Diamondbacks when a familiar face stepped up to the plate. Pat Burrell, who retired in 2011 after 12 seasons in the major leagues, was visiting his former teammates and decided to take a hack ... while wearing an outfit comprised entirely of street clothes -- khakis, a polo, Vans sneakers and a watch.

Despite the wishes of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who can be seen waving his arms behind the cage, Burrell took his stance. The result was a familiar one for the two-time World Series champ, who pounded a home run on his only swing to the delight of the Giants broadcasting team.

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Jon Heyman and Pat Burrell almost came to blows in a bar?

I was so sick the past few days that I was surprisingly OK with having to cut my World Series trip short. Really, as Games 3 and 4 went down, there was no point — thanks to hacking, aching and stuff — where I thought “damn, I wish I was in Detroit right now.”

Well, there was one point. It was when I read on Deadpsin yesterday that, on Saturday night, Jon Heyman and Pat Burrell allegedly almost came to blows out and about in Detroit someplace. The person making the allegation: Jon Heyman:


Had to be a bit unsettling for Heyman. In person his chosen mode of defense from those who challenge him — pretending they don’t exist — may not work as well as it does on the Internet.

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Pat Burrell lauded for info on Tigers

One Giant who had a terrible 2010 World Series made a much bigger contribution this time, though he wears no uniform, carries no bat or glove, and does not set foot on the diamond.

Team officials say rookie scout Pat Burrell made a significant contribution reporting on the Tigers. Burrell, along with former Giants catcher and Detroit resident Brian Johnson, attended the American League Championship Series between the Tigers and Yankees and provided insights that helped the front office and field staff create a game plan for the World Series.

That includes how to pitch Tigers hitters, the tendencies of Detroit's pitchers and where to station the Giants on defense.

Burrell is part of a large team involved in the process, but several Giants officials say they have leaned heavily on information provided by Burrell, who has a unique perspective, having played so recently.

"Pat has done a really remarkable job all year helping out with advancing, but also here as we're playing a team we haven't seen," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bochy acknowledged that rookie scouts rarely get an assignment as important as advancing the World Series, "but he's a huge baseball fan. He loves the game. Even as a player, he was always one of the first guys at the ballpark. When he wasn't playing, he studied the game. He's done a great job."

Burrell helped the Giants reach the 2010 postseason but batted .143 once they got there. He was hitless in the World Series and struck out 11 times in 13 at-bats.

Toward the end of the regular season, Burrell said he was not sure what he would do for the Giants in 2013 but said he loved scouting this season. A foot injury forced him to retire last year at 35.

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Pat Burrell playing different postseason role

ST. LOUIS -- Pat Burrell helped the San Francisco Giants win the World Series in 2010 as a part-time outfielder. He is trying help the Giants win another title this October in a much different role.

Burrell is now working as a special assistant to Giants general manager Brian Sabean. Burrell has been doing a lot of scouting and his coverage includes the Washington Nationals-St. Louis Cardinals National League Division Series that opens today at Busch Stadium.

The Giants are playing the Cincinnati Reds in the other NLDS.

"I'm really enjoying scouting, especially the advance-type scouting that I'm doing in this series," Burrell said. "I'm not far removed from playing, so I'm familiar with most of the players and that helps."

Burrell played in 92 games last season and hit just .230 with seven home runs before retiring because of chronic foot problems.

"I really don't miss playing nearly as much as I thought," said Burrell, who hit 292 homers in a 12-year career with Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and the Giants. "It became really tough to play through the pain. I like what I'm doing now and I'm glad I'm still able to be in the game."

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Pat Burrell emotional as he officially retires a Phillie

PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Burrell always prided himself on being prepared. He thought he was ready this time, too, all set to take one last curtain call at Citizens Bank Park. Then the Phillies threw him with a changeup.

The tribute video had been shown and the accolades had been said Saturday night. He'd thrown out the ceremonial first pitch to close friend and former teammate Chase Utley. There had been the standing ovation and the signs:

Thank You, Pat. We Love You Always

Pat Burrell Is My Favorite Phillie

Earlier, Burrell had signed a one-day contract so that he could formally retire with the team that made him the first overall Draft pick in June 1998.
And just when he thought he was home free, three little girls walked onto the field. Anna, Lena and Stella, the granddaughters of late Phillies coach John Vukovich. And, with that, Burrell lost it.

"Other than crying in front of 45,000 people, I'm fine," he said ruefully a few minutes later. "When the granddaughters came out, I wasn't ready for that."

Vukovich passed away in March 2007 at the age of 59. The Phillies wore commemorative patches on their uniforms that year. Burrell, now a scout for the Giants, carries one in his binder as a constant reminder of a man who had such a profound influence on so many players.

"I was lucky. Guys that I keep in touch with that came through the system when I was. All the guys who had a chance to be around him," Burrell said. "He affected a lot of people in a very positive way. And it wasn't always hugs and pats on the back, either. It was both ways. We had a couple rumbles here and there. But in the end, all he wanted was for you to be the best you can be. It takes effort and it takes preparation, and those are the things he taught all of us."

This is the sort of open emotion that Burrell rarely displayed as a player. At work, he was the strong silent type. Whether he was booed or cheered, he remained stoic. He didn't complain, didn't make excuses. Off the field, he developed a reputation for enjoying a good time. Neither of those one-dimensional images, however, fully depicts the player his teammates saw behind closed clubhouse doors.

"One thing people don't really talk about is the fact that he rubbed off on guys in a positive way. He had an unbelievable work ethic, which helped me adopt my routine here at the park," Utley said. "He came to the park every day to win and to try to improve. And not many guys can say they've done that for 10 years.

"Everybody knows how important a role he played on our winning teams. Or I hope people realize how much of a role he played. In the clubhouse he was a guy who guys fed off his energy. He kept it loose. But he would also speak his mind when he felt it was needed."

Added manager Charlie Manuel: "Pat Burrell has a tremendous personality. He was always early at the ballpark and he wanted to win. And it was probably 2007 when he got more involved in our team. When we changed our team [by trading Bobby Abreu], he got into it more. He was one of our guys as far as the team coming together. He was definitely a leader.

"He was a player who was determined that we were going to win and he was going to help us."

The lasting snapshot will be of Burrell hitting the leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. He was replaced by a pinch-runner, Eric Bruntlett, who came around to score what proved to be the winning run. It turned out to be Burrell's last official appearance in a Phillies uniform.

Two days later, he led the victory parade down Broad Street. That remains his fondest Phillies memory. The following January, he signed as a free agent with the Rays. He won another World Series with the Giants in 2010 but, by then, was beginning to experience the foot problems that would end his playing career at age 34. Now he's moved on to the next phase.

"Chapter Two. I work for the Giants. I'm going to stay involved in the game and see where it takes me," he said. "It's different. Seeing things from a different perspective. When you're a player, you look at the game, for example, as a hitter. From an evaluator's standpoint, it's different. I'm learning. I enjoy it. I'm not sure where I'm going to end up with this whole thing, but as long as they still think I can help, I'll be there."

Baseball is a game of numbers, and Burrell's are easy enough to see. He hit 251 home runs for the Phillies; only Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard and Del Ennis have more. He's in the franchise's Top 10 in walks and RBIs. You could look it up.

More than statistics, though, he was a transformative figure for a franchise that has now won five straight division titles. He learned from Vukovich. He put that knowledge into practice and passed it on to Utley. This is how it works. This, in the end, is what makes Burrell a significant figure in franchise history.

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Pat Burrell: Boom or bust?

It’s a debate that rages across all of the major league sports and there is never a right (or wrong answer). In fact, it’s one of the few sports arguments that rarely gets old and the passage of time only adds more interesting elements.

So who is the biggest bust of a No. 1 draft pick ever? What about the biggest success story?

Strangely, the Philadelphia teams have not had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft very often. What makes this odd is the decades of mediocrity a lot of the franchises have suffered through over the years. For instance, the Eagles have had the No. 1 overall pick just three times and not once since 1949 when they grabbed Chuck Bednarik out of Penn.

That one turned out pretty well for the Eagles.

In the NBA, the Sixers had the No. 1 overall pick just twice, taking Olympic hero Doug Collins out of Illinois State in 1973, and undersized guard Allen Iverson from Georgetown in 1996. Again, both of those picks worked out pretty well for the Sixers. 

Meanwhile, the Flyers and the Phillies had the No. 1 overall draft pick just once. In 1975 the Flyers took Mel Bridgeman, who went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL including parts of six seasons in Philly. Bridgeman’s teams made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three times, including twice with the Flyers. He also led the league in games played twice and finished second in shorthanded goals once.

Again, Bridgeman worked out well for a top pick. Not a Hall of Famer, but a solid career.

Where the debate gets interesting is with the Phillies’ lone top pick… just how good was Pat Burrell?

By all accounts, Pat Burrell had a solid 12 years in the big leagues. He won the World Series twice, finished in the top 10 in the MVP voting once and cracked the 100-RBI plateau twice. In seven postseason series, Burrell’s teams are 6-1 and take away his rookie year and the 2002 season, Burrell never played for a losing team.

Not bad.

However, Burrell always seemed like an underachiever. He was never an All-Star and never could leave that slider away alone. Meanwhile, by age 35, the 1999 top draft pick was washed up and is now working in the scouting department for the Giants.

So how good (or bad) was Burrell as a No. 1 pick? The good folks over at The Good Phight rated all of the top picks using the advanced metric WAR and based on those numbers Burrell is 18th out of 46 No. 1 picks. Of course players like Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Bryce Harper and Gerrit Cole are just beginning their careers while others like Ben McDonald, Tim Belcher, Mike Moore and Darin Erstad have seemingly been helped by a handful of strong seasons and longevity.

Burrell … was he a boom or a bust or somewhere in the middle?

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Pat Burrell throws out first pitch before game with former Phillies, Giants teams

SAN FRANCISCO — Retired outfielder Pat Burrell got one more moment in the spotlight at AT&T Park after he became a key member of San Francisco’s improbable World Series run two years ago.

The former Giants and Philadelphia Phillies star threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate and pal Aubrey Huff to a warm ovation before the middle game of the teams’ series Tuesday night.

Now doing some scouting work for San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean, the 35-year-old Burrell retired after last season because of a troublesome right foot that never fully healed, and he is also currently rehabilitating his left shoulder in Arizona after undergoing offseason surgery.
“Now working for the team, everything has kind of come together the right way,” Burrell said. “It’s been fun.”

Burrell appreciated the gesture from Giants president and CEO Larry Baer to pay tribute to the former left fielder, who became a key part of the team’s 2010 band of “castoffs and misfits” that brought the franchise its first championship since moving West in 1958.

Next month, Burrell will sign a one-day minor league contract and retire with the Phillies, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. He will sign during an interleague series with the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park and will be honored May 19 and throw out the first pitch. Burrell also won a ring with Philly in 2008.

The Phillies reached out to him last fall.

“Of course, I said ‘I’d love to’” Burrell said, sitting in the San Francisco dugout Tuesday afternoon and wearing his Giants’ World Series ring. “I watched (Mike) Lieberthal, Doug Glanville. It’s a special deal. The more fortunate thing is they even asked me to do it.”

Burrell joined the Giants on a minor league deal on May 29, 2010, after being cut by the Tampa Bay Rays and spent a short stint with Triple-A Fresno before being called up on June 4.

“We all think a lot of Pat, he’s very popular with his teammates,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s good to have him here to throw out the first pitch. He works for us, too. He’s a guy I talk to to get a different perspective from somebody who’s behind home plate watching our hitters. He has been some help already.”

He batted .266 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs in 96 games for San Francisco, becoming the everyday left fielder.

The Giants went on to clinch the NL West title on the final day of the regular season, ending a six-year postseason drought before making their World Series run.

“I have some great memories, obviously, firstly with the situation I was coming from being released and getting a second chance,” Burrell said. “Having the kind of year we had as a team to go out and win the World Series, it’s something I’ll never forget.”

He is a career .253 hitter with 292 home runs and 976 RBIs in 1,640 games over 12 seasons with Philadelphia, the Rays and San Francisco. He grew up in the Bay Area in San Jose.

Burrell — who re-signed for $1 million to stay with the Giants in 2011 — was placed on the disabled list last July 15 with a mid-right foot strain and didn’t play again until Aug. 31, though he was still in pain after missing 43 games.

“When I couldn’t play in interleague, I kind of knew then I probably wouldn’t get to play after that season,” Burrell said. “So I had three months or so to kind of prepare for it. The part about spring training, I was there for all the games. I just knew I couldn’t do it. “

He played nine seasons with the Phillies and is fourth in team history in home runs (251), eighth in RBIs (827), and ninth in extra-base hits (518).

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Pat Burrell: Not just a pretty face

TONIGHT, Pat Burrell will throw out the first pitch in San Francisco.

On May 19, he will sign a 1-day minor league contract so he can retire a Phillie

For years, Burrell's influence on the organization will be felt.

Around Burrell, the Phillies constructed a ballclub that won the last five National League East titles; a club that won the World Series in 2008 and went to another Series in 2009, after Burrell left for Tampa Bay.

He was not the best player on any of his Phillies teams. Just once was he the most valuable player on a Phillies team, in 2002, when he teased the baseball world with a breakout season.

Still, Burrell's influence rests less with his 251 home runs, fourth in team history; his 827 RBI, eighth all-time; or his 1,273 strikeouts, an ignominious second-place stat.

Burrell always was the biggest star. For better or worse, Burrell taught a generation of Phillies the way to act as a big-league player . . . and how to best survive in a demanding, sometimes vicious city.

He was born to the role.

After a princely high school career in California and a Ruthian stint in college at Miami, Burrell landed in Philadelphia in 1998 the No. 1 overall pick - and the antidote to a poisonous courtship with J.D. Drew, who spurned the Phillies after they took him second overall in 1997.

The Phillies were fortunate, because Burrell was a better fit. Drew, strait-laced and sensitive, would have drowned in the acidic waters of the Phillies franchise. Standing 6-4, movie-star gorgeous and often without scruple, "Pat the Bat" thrived.

He rocketed through the minors. After two seasons in the majors, by 2002 it didn't matter who else was in the clubhouse: Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard.

The corner locker belonged to Burrell. He radiated charisma, with his Ray Liotta eyes and his Rat Pack exploits.

"He handled his business," says Howard, grinning. "If you're going to go out and party or whatever, you have to come in the next day to handle your business . . . I know it's hard to believe, but he was very professional.

"He was a big-leaguer."

"He was the guy," says Shane Victorino. "He was a cornerstone piece on this team, But, when you think about Pat Burrell, and what he was in this city, not just from a baseball standpoint, he was an iconic person.

"He was everybody's dream. Every girl's dream," Victorino says.

Every player watched how Pat dressed, what Pat drove, where Pat lived, how Pat tipped clubhouse attendants and barkeeps, says Victorino: "He was similar to a godfather."

Blessed with heavenly looks, Burrell proved mortal most of his 11-year career. A foot injury has ended his run. Incredibly, Burrell is only 35.

Only twice did he reach his production potential. In 2002 and '05, he drove in more than 100 runs and hit at least .280, the only times he hit those marks. As his career waned, the 6-year, $50 million contract extension he signed after the 2002 season seemed less wise, especially since he proceeded to hit .209 in 2003.

"We made that contract a success," insists Charlie Manuel, who took over as manager in 2005. "He was more of a producer than people realize. He was a better player than what he got credit for."

Indeed, even as Burrell fought routine slumps, even as Rollins and Utley and Howard took over the team, Burrell never was a bad investment. He averaged 31 homers and 93 RBI over the last three seasons of the deal, which cost the Phillies just over $37 million.

In the same span, Alex Rodriguez averaged 41 homers and 127 RBI . . . but then, Burrell made about half as much money. And, despite shining in the Steroid Era, Burrell never was tainted by a scandal involving performance enhancers.

"He was one of the hardest-working guys I've ever been around," says Jim Thome, the centerpiece of the Phillies' thrust that began in 2003. "Showed up at noon, 12:30, which a lot of people don't see."

The work ethic trickled down. When Manuel took the reins, Burrell began in earnest his mentorship of Utley. Thome witnessed that.

"Once you get one guy on board, you get other guys. Like Chase Utley," Thome says.

Still, as Burrell stood in leftfield night after night, abuse rained on him. Fans were maddened by his tendency to watch third strikes as he raised his arms and locked his left knee; incensed at his compulsion to swing at tight sliders from righthanders; and fed up with his legendary evening jaunts into Center City, which could turn boorish.

Still, weren't these Burrell's people? Where was the love?

"I've been everywhere: New York, Boston, you name it," Manuel says. "As far as [self-]abuse, Philadelphia is No. 1."

Burrell never reacted. But it affected him.

Eroded by years of derision, dealing with Burrell meant a snarl one day; thoughtful perspective the next; an up-yours walkoff with the third. He created a culture of dismissiveness that often resurfaces in the Phillies' clubhouse, like a foul odor.

When new general manager Pat Gillick deconstructed the Phillies in 2006, Burrell and Rollins were the only tenured stars left untouched. Aaron Rowand was part of that team, a mercenary trade product of the Thome deal. Howard, Utley and Cole Hamels were the new cornerstones, untouchable. Burrell was, by contrast, untradable, with a no-trade clause and that burdensome contract.

His time was nearly past, but Burrell remained.

"He was very dedicated to the game . . . more than people think. Always the first guy to the ballpark," Manuel says.

Manuel never minded that Burrell sometimes was the last guy to return to the team hotel.

"There are people who can stay out until 2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning and still do their job," Manuel says. "With Pat, that might not be all that bad. The less he could think about his performance, the better he hit."

Burrell wasn't just showing up early to drink coffee and soak in the hot tub. Placido Polanco arrived in 2002, part of the Rolen trade, and immediately was struck with Burrell's professionalism.

"I remember him doing exercises in the training room to keep him strong all year," says Polanco, who has played with star-studded clubs in St. Louis and Detroit. "He was a great teammate. He treated everybody the same: American, white, black. Didn't matter."

Burrell could have been a clubhouse bully, but he wasn't.

Burrell could have been a clubhouse cancer, as he became more and more marginalized with the ascension of Rollins, Howard and Utley. But he wasn't.

"He bought in with the fact that we were changing the face of our team. He let those guys do their thing," Manuel says, appreciatively. "There was never a bitch."

Burrell could have benched himself, too. Instead, he played though chronic pain for 8 years.

Burrell developed a degenerative condition in his right foot in 2004. Surgery after the 2005 season did not fix the problem. By 2007, he hobbled to leftfield every night. He usually was replaced for a better runner or a better defender in the game's latter stages; speedy Michael Bourn was a late-game replacement 90 times in 2007, mainly for Burrell.

Fittingly, Burrell's biggest moment as a Phillie - and his last - played out that way. Tied at 3 in Game 5 of the World Series against Tampa, Burrell led off the seventh with a double and immediately was replaced by Eric Bruntlett. Burrell watched from the dugout as Bruntlett scored the run that won the Series.

It was his only hit in 14 at-bats in the Series.

It was his last at-bat as a Phillie.

During the victory parade and the culminating series of speeches at Citizens Bank Park, Burrell was treated as a dignitary headed for an amicable exile.

He somehow convinced Tampa Bay, of all teams, to give him $16 million for the next two seasons.

After a season-and-a-half of dismal DHing, the Rays traded him to San Francisco. There, he rejoined Rowand, by then also a bit player, on a Giants team that beat the Phillies en route to a title . . . and a second ring for Burrell. The Giants then re-signed him for $1 million last season.

It has been 3 years of pain and of failure. Since he doubled off J.P. Howell in his last at-bat as a Phillie, Burrell has averaged 111 games, 14 homers, 50 RBI and hit .235.

Really, his career ended that night against the Rays.

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Pat Burrell grateful for chance to retire with Phillies

Even on the last day of his playing career, wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Pat Burrell found himself thinking about the Phillies.

He had already decided this would be it. Bone spurs in his aching right foot had limited his role all season. Burrell had spent time on the disabled list. Surgery wasn't an option. Even though he was still just 34 years old, the end would come on Sept. 28, 2011 at AT&T Park.

So Burrell went to manager Bruce Bochy and asked for a favor. The defending World Series champions had been eliminated. He couldn't damage the foot any more. Burrell asked to start one last time. The manager wrote his name into the lineup card, playing left field and batting cleanup.

Burrell was already pretty emotional when Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery walked up before the game and handed him something. It was the circular patch with "VUK" stitched in white letters against a black background that the Phils wore during the 2007 season in memory of beloved coach John Vukovich.

"Put it in your pocket and play with Vuk today," Flannery told him.

Said Burrell: "I think I started crying right there."

Burrell slipped the patch into the back pocket of his uniform pants and lined a single to left his first time up.

How appropriate. Burrell's professional career started when the Phillies drafted him No. 1 overall in 1998. He ranks fourth in club history in home runs (251), fifth in walks (785), eight in RBIs (827) and ninth in extra-base hits (518).

It ended in the top of the seventh, when Bochy had Burrell take his position then called him off the field. He got a standing ovation as he trotted back to the dugout and came out for a curtain call as well.

Now Burrell will complete the circle during the Red Sox series at Citizens Bank Park May 18-20, when he'll sign a one-day contract and officially retire with the Phils. He'll throw out the first pitch on May 19 and will also sign autographs in the Hall of Fame Club and appear on the telecast.
Burrell remembered Doug Glanville and Mike Lieberthal coming back to retire with the team, but initially wasn't sure he wanted to make that much of a fuss about it.

"'Hesitant' isn't the right word -- I just don't like to make a big deal about things," Burell explained. "But the more I thought about it, it's the right thing to do. I was with that organization for so long. I have such good memories. You realize it's an honor and I'm very appreciative of the fact they wanted to do this for me. I'm looking forward to it. I really am."

The final indelible image of Burrell at the end of his Phillies career was riding the Budweiser wagon at the head of the championship parade with his dog, Elvis, sitting next to him.

"That was the top," Burrell said. "[Club president David Montgomery] asked me to ride with the Clydesdales, and of course I said yes. But I didn't understand that I was going to be the first guy to turn onto Broad Street. And that was incredible -- to look up and see all the people hanging out of the buildings. I just couldn't imagine.

"It's funny, because Mike Schmidt and some of those guys from the 1980 [World Series championship] team always said the best part of it was the parade. And I was thinking, 'How could that be better than the actual moment of winning the whole thing?' But it is."

Burrell was the team's longest-tenured player at the time. And his seventh-inning double in Game 5 (Part II) turned into the winning run, as the Phils clinched the second World Series championship in franchise history.

There's more, of course, much more.

"I remember getting there as a young player and the teams not being very good. We were short in a lot of areas," Burrell said. "And then to watch it grow to what it us now and where we finished up when I was there, we went through everything -- the good, the bad. And fortunately for me, we ended on a really good note. All the players and the fans and the organization and all the people I got to know throughout the years, playing at the Vet -- the whole experience was just so much fun."

Burrell spent the final three years of his career with the Rays and Giants, winning another World Series with San Francisco in 2010.
He's been rehabbing since February 16 surgery. Not on his foot -- on his left shoulder.

"There's nothing I can do for my foot. That's why I had to stop playing," Burrell said. "I was playing a lot of golf and my shoulder kept bothering me. Finally I decided I might as well just go get an MRI. And the doctor goes, 'What did you do to your [left] shoulder?' I said, 'I didn't do anything.'

"And he said, 'Your labrum is completely torn and your rotator cuff is a mess.' He was convinced I separated my shoulder at one point. I told him I played every day and never had a problem. I told him I'd had some problems with my neck over the years and he said, 'This is probably why.'"

Burrell is staying in baseball. He now works as an assistant to Giants general manager Brian Sabean and as a special assignment scout.

"Just kind of getting a different perspective on the game, evaluating," Burrell said. "Kind of transitioning and learning the other side, which I've enjoyed. It's been great."

One of the players Burrell talked to about what to expect in his new role was former Phillies third baseman Dave Hollins, who is now a scout for Philadelphia.

"I'm not sure where it will lead," Burrell said. "I'm open-minded about it. At some point, I'd imagine being back on the field in some capacity. I just don't know what that's going to be. We're going to play it by ear."

When Burrell goes to a game, he carries a binder to keep his notes. And when he opens it up, tucked inside a transparent protective cover, is the VUK patch that Flannery gave him, a constant reminder of his time with the Phils.

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Pat Burrell to retire as a Phillie

Philadelphia, PA –  The Philadelphia Phillies announced on Thursday that outfielder Pat Burrell will retire as a member of the organization.

The 35-year-old will sign a one-day minor league contract with the Phillies and will be honored in May. Burrell will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Philadelphia's game against the Red Sox on May 19.

Burrell was the first overall draft pick by the Phillies in 1998. He played in Philly for nine seasons and ranks fourth in club history in home runs (251), eighth in RBI (827) and ninth in extra-base hits (518).

To cap off his Phillies career, Burrell helped the team win a World Series championship in 2008.

Burrell spent the last three seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants, winning another World Series with the Giants in 2010.

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Pat Burrell signs on as a scout

Pat the Bat is now Bat the Bird Dog.

Burrell, who is retiring after 12 big-league seasons because of a chronic foot condition, just told me has formally agreed to scout for the Giants this season. The Northern California native has been working with scouts this spring to see if he would be interested in tackling the job. Apparently he is.

I asked him why scouting rather than a position on the field. After all, Burrell was a very smart hitter throughout his career with the Phillies, Rays and Giants. He had good power and knew how to work a count, a talent he could impart to younger hitters in the system.

Burrell said it was general manager Brian Sabean’s idea.

“They felt that since I’m so close to playing I should step away from it for a while,” he said. “Brian’s been around for a long time. He knows what’s best.”

Burrell said he would revisit the a coaching or instructional position later.

He does not know what his assignment will be in 2012. For now, Burrell is scouting the Giants’ system, watching the exhibitions from behind home plate. Every team has scouts watch their own players in the majors and minors to help general managers decide which players to keep, trade and promote.

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Pat Burrell soon could be back in an SF Giants uniform as an instructor

Pat Burrell, one of the heroes from the Giants’ 2010 championship run, might join a luminous list of former players who visit spring training for a week or two of special coaching.

Manager Bruce Bochy just told me that he and general manager Brian Sabean talked to Burrell this winter about a post-retirement role in the organization, and that could include a stint here in Scottsdale doing the kind of work that Will Clark (currently here), Robb Nen and Shawon Dunston do.

“Brian and I will get together and see what makes sense for both sides,” Bochy said. “We think a lot of Pat.”

The timing of any potential visit could depend on Burrell’s recovery from a shoulder operation, which came as a surprise to Bochy. The Santa Cruz-area native is retiring at 35 because of a chronic foot problem, and Bochy said Burrell did not complain about any shoulder pain during his final season last year.

How could Burrell help here?

“He’s a guy who can talk to players about the right way to play,” Bochy said. “I think his strength would be his approach to the plate on the hitting side.”

Indeed, Burrell had one of the majors’ best eyes at the plate and worked counts better than any Giant in 2010. He retired with a career on-base percentage of .361.

Quiet day so far at camp. Within the hour Brian Wilson is scheduled to throw a bullpen session. I’ll let you know how he looked.

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Playing with Pat Burrell

I played some part of 15 seasons professionally, so I have had a lot of teammates. Most of whom were major league players, a few of whom were the best in the world. But no teammate could reduce major leaguers into jealous green globs of envy like Pat Burrell.

From the time he walked into a major league clubhouse, he had an uphill climb. Maybe it was his Golden Spikes award, maybe it was having the nickname "Pat the Bat" before he took one major league swing, maybe it was because few players look like they could be both on the cover of GQ and on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

He also walked in chest high, with a swagger, something that old-school players grumbled about. But just like Jimmy Rollins, he was part of Rookie 2.0. Once I embraced the dynamic duo, I would call them "PB & J." Can't beat 'em, join 'em. They came with the confidence that the big leagues was where they belonged from day one; they played with a certain kind of freedom. Burrell was drafted, signed a big league deal right out of the gate and was taking batting practice with the big club from the jump. That wasn't his fault, that was the time. Signing a major league deal and taking batting practice with a major league team came in the negotiations. Certainly, when I was signed by the Cubs as a first-rounder in 1991, I didn't even get a ticket to Wrigley for a press conference.

I remember watching Burrell's first batting practice and hearing the whispers around the field. His swing: "He hits with a lot of top spin." His image: "He kind of reminds me of any good-hitting first baseman with no glove." He was already eroding locker room goodwill, just for taking BP. All eyes were on him.

Then the real game began and he became more than the first-round draft pick on a joy ride; he became a teammate, my left fielder. He came off a spring training, where he truly looked like he was on his way. Dominating the game, hitting to all fields, hitting for power and average. It was the first moment when we all finally said, "OK, I see why they thought this guy was good."

But such is the path of the No. 1 pick in the country. Pat was one of the pioneers of draft picks who had a very public following before the ink dried on his pro contract, and I knew with the power came a huge burden. It made it more difficult for big league teammates to think of him outside of the privileges he had without paying for them with long-term minor league blood, sweat, and tears. So it became easier to simplify Pat and decide that everything was hype and flashes of brilliance. So Pat had to keep swinging.

Once he arrived in Philadelphia, one of the toughest cities to play for on earth, he came with a mountain of expectation. On the surface, he looked like he could shrug it off, that he belonged here, that this was his destiny. But when I had a chance to really talk to him, he saw it as something he had to seize and enjoy, and not take it for granted. In fact, he was very sensitive to the criticism, knowing that he had to overcome plenty of personal challenges to handle this opportunity.

I watched him become one of the hardest-working outfielders I ever played with. When you are a center fielder, you know the body language of your corner outfielders. Slumping corner outfielders work on their swing or stare into space after a foul ball. Pat stayed locked in on every pitch, and this was coming from a player who was getting knocked for having no real position when he broke in.

The conversation about Pat slowly started to shift on the team. Coaches now had to slow him down because he would throw so much in practice that they were worried he would hurt his arm. He was relentless at working on that ball down the left-field line when he was trying to cut off and throw the runner out at second base. He got so good at it that I looked forward to seeing which baserunner would test him. He was so accurate that he hardly ever missed.

I played with faster outfielders than Pat, but few worked as well with me. He always paid attention to where I had to position him for the hitter, always knew the situation, and if he had something to add, he respectfully suggested something else. Hustle was never an issue. If he didn't get to a ball, it was simply because he couldn't.

Even when the money rolled in, he was still working out there. The Phillies offered him a contract right after the first breakout year. All the armchair GMs (composed of both players and fans) came alive talking about how the organization couldn't wait to throw money at him. They decided he hadn't done it for long enough. Even if that was true, that wasn't his fault. He kept working on that ball down the left-field line.

He also had to endure the jealousy and voyeurism around his social life, often more of a topic than his game. Certainly, he loved to get after the nightlife and seemed to be in a vicious circle between self and being in character (I called him "Ray Liotta" on a few occasions). Just as most players with his kind of access. But his name was daily tabloid fodder and everyone knew the fame level of his date before they did his batting average. Nothing was more interesting than when his Hollywood ex-girlfriend sang the national anthem when we were playing the Dodgers. He took a lot of heat about that one. From me, in particular.

Even then, there were reasons given for his "success" off the field. His hair, his height, the money, the big league uniform. There was nothing he actually earned, even when he earned it, and at times, I knew that bothered him.

When I was living in Chicago, I was watching a Cubs game with a friend when Pat was playing against them. My friend said, "What has he done? Nothing. He just keeps getting paid." So, I corrected him. "Actually, he has done a lot more than you think." So I pulled up his stats and my friend said, "That is a lot better than I thought." Sure, he had the one horrible year, he struck out a lot, but he drove in his runs, he got on base and he played hard.

"He could be doing more, but he is doing more than you thought." That was how Pat came into the game and how the peak of his earning years ended up. But he closed it out in fine fashion, even with releases and demotions. He still brought home three rings, two from championships and one from his wedding. Sure he struggled mightily at times and some took joy in seeing him get knocked down a few pegs, but from my vantage point, Pat very much understood that he had to work at what everyone thought he was given.

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Pat Burrell and the Class of 1998

Pat Burrell, the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, is expected to announce his retirement in the coming days. J.D. Drew, another top player from the same class, may do the same. So, here’s a look at the top players from the 1998 draft, as judged by Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR (the list only includes 1998 picks who signed):

49.8: CC Sabathia - Cle - 20th overall
46.3: Mark Buehrle - CWS – 1139th

45.9: J.D. Drew – StL – 5th
30.9: Matt Holliday – Col – 210th
24.0: Adam Dunn – Cin – 50th
20.2: Aaron Rowand - CWS – 35th
18.7: Pat Burrell – Phi – 1st
17.9: Brandon Inge – Det – 57th
16.3: Mark Mulder – Oak – 2nd
15.8: Austin Kearns – Cin – 7th
15.5: Jack Wilson – StL – 258th
15.2: Carlos Pena – Tex – 10th
14.2: Aubrey Huff – TB – 162nd
13.6: Juan Pierre – Col - 390th
13.3: Jeff Weaver – Det – 14th
13.3: Eric Byrnes – Oak – 225th
12.2: Morgan Ensberg - Hou – 272nd
12.2: B.J. Ryan – Cin – 500th
10.3: Eric Hinske - ChC – 496th
10.3: Brad Wilkerson – Mon – 33rd
9.4: Matt Thornton – Sea – 22nd
9.0: Ryan Madson – Phi – 254th
8.3: Brad Lidge - Hou – 17th
8.0: Nick Punto – Phi – 614th
7.9: Adam Everett – Bos – 12th
7.8: David Ross – LAD – 216th
7.4: Gerald Laird – Oak – 45th
7.4: Jason Michaels – Phi – 104th
7.1: Felipe Lopez – Tor – 8th
7.0: John Buck – Hou - 212th
6.5: Bill Hall – Mil – 176th
6.4: Brian Lawrence – SD – 502nd
6.2: Corey Patterson – ChC – 3rd
6.2: Kip Wells – CWS – 16th
6.1: Joe  Kennedy – TB – 252nd

Burrell comes in seventh, which seems about right given his lack of defensive value. Of the players below him, only Inge and Pena would seem to have much chance of passing him on the list, and it’s entirely possible Inge will produce negative WAR over the remainder of his career.

The Phillies, incidentally, also landed Madson, Punto and Michaels. They and the Reds were the only teams to land draft four semi-useful players in 1998, as I judge it anyway. The Reds selected Todd Coffey along with Dunn, Kearns and Ryan.

Here’s that list:
4 – Phillies, Reds
3 – Astros, Athletics, Cubs, Rockies, Tigers, White Sox
2 - Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Rays, Red Sox
1 – Brewers, D’Backs, Dodgers, Expos, Giants, Indians, Mariners, Mets, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rangers
0 – Angels, Marlins, Orioles, Royals, Twins, Yankees

The Orioles drafted Cliff Lee and the Yankees picked Mark Prior, but neither player signed. I’d say the Royals had the worst draft of all: they had the 4th (Jeff Austin), 30th (Chris George) and 31st (Matt Burch) overall picks and got nothing from them.

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Pat Burrell Lists Scottsdale Pad Shortly Before Retirement



Recently retired slugger Pat Burrell won’t be heading to desert for Spring Training any longer after hanging up his cleats on Monday, which may be one of the many reasons why the outfielder recently put his Scottsdale, Arizona on the market. Burrell, who played twelve seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants, is asking $3.695 million for the contemporary home found within Estancia Club, an affluent gated community that features the Troon North golf course.

Set on a lot those measures just under an acre-and-a-half, Burrell’s two-story pad is one big league property. The stone and stucco estate measures in at slightly under 7,000-square-feet and offers four bedrooms and five baths. It boasts total home automation via a smart home system by Control 4, which allows for the control of the alarm, door locks, drapes, lights, thermostat and other installed functions using a wireless touchpad. Other amenities include an upstairs office and game room, which can be accessed using either an elevator or stairway, along with first-floor features such as a living room, formal dining room, media room, wet bar and gourmet kitchen.

Following a standout career at the University of Miami, Burrell was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1998 MLB Draft by the Phillies. He would develop into one of baseball’s premier power bats during his nine-year tenure in Philadelphia, hitting a total of 251 home runs (292 HRs for his career), while helping the Phillies capture a World Series in 2008. After a short stint with Tampa Bay, Burrell (aka “The Machine&rdquoWinking signed with San Francisco midway through the 2010 season and was instrumental in a Giants playoff run that ended with a World Series championship.




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Retiring Pat Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Pat Burrell had a better career than you think. In fact, "Pat the Bat" had a better career than the vast majority of the other No. 1 overall draft picks, maybe 75 percent of the overall No. 1s, or maybe even more than that.

Of the first 34 overall No. 1s, from Rick Monday in 1965 by the A's to Burrell in 1998 by the Phillies, only five clearly had a better career than Burrell. That would be Ken Griffey Jr. (1987, Mariners), Alex Rodriguez (1993, Mariners), Chipper Jones (1990, Braves), Harold Baines (1977, White Sox) and Darryl Strawberry (1980, Mets). That's three out of 34 with Hall of Fame resumes, one with an extremely long and productive career and a fifth who probably should have been going to Cooperstown. Burrell falls into the next group of nine who had very nice careers but far short of great. But he's probably at or near the top of that group, so while he never became a superstar or even made an All-Star team, he was a solid first selection, certainly a lot more solid than most top picks.

The other eight No. 1 overalls I'd put into that good-but-not-great category would be Jeff Burroughs (1969, Senators), Bob Horner (1978, Braves), B.J. Surhoff (1985, Brewers), Andy Benes (1988, Padres), Phil Nevin (1992, Astros), Tim Belcher (1983, Twins), Shawon Dunston (1982, Cubs) and Mike Moore (1981, Mariners). I'd rank Burrell seventh overall, just behind Monday at No. 6 but ahead of the others in this group -- though, if someone wants to reorder the players within that group I wouldn't necessarily quibble. Burrell could be eighth, ninth or 10th, but he's clearly in the top third, at the very worst.

Shawon Dunston has a pretty good case to be at or near the top of this second group, too, with 150 home runs and an all-time shortstop arm in a 20-year career, but I'd put him just below Burrell. Benes has really solid stats, with a 155-139 record and 3.97 ERA, but he didn't have as much impact as Burrell. Burroughs and Horner has similar careers to each other, with some high highs (an MVP in Burroughs' case) but either not quite as much length or consistency. Surhoff was versatile and a high average hitter (.282) but he's more famous for having been picked ahead of Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin and Will Clark in that stellar '85 draft.

Burrell, who has confirmed will retire (Tim Dierkes of @mlbtraderumors first reported the news), hit 292 home runs, twice finished in the top 14 in MVP voting and was a key contributor on two World Series winning teams, the 2008 Phillies and 2010 Giants (although the '10 World Series wasn't his finest hour). Burrell was a prodigious and consistent power hitter for the Phillies, and he had a very respectable .834 OPS for his career.

It's amazing how many of the overall No. 1 picks, especially the early ones, simply did not deliver. Danny Goodwin, a marginal major leaguer, was twice a No. 1 pick overall pick. David Clyde was the biggest-hyped high school pitcher maybe ever. Mike Ivie never became the big slugger some figured he might be. Tim Foli was a notable scrapper, but at some point , big-league scouts figured it wasn't worth taking a scrapper No. 1 overall.

Only two of the 34 No. 1s overall never played in the big leagues, Steve Chilcott (1966, Mets) and Brien Taylor (1991, Yankees). Chilcott was an incredible miscalculation, and was a mistake that is illuminated by the man picked right behind him, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. Taylor never regained his 99-mph fastball or any of his early promise after injuring his left shoulder defending his brother in a bar fight after he signed a record $1.55-million contract after a negotiation depicted by "60 Minutes'' and a couple impressive minor-league seasons. Shawn Abner, Matt Anderson and Al Chambers were busts in their own right.

Counting the ignominious New York picks Chilcott and Taylor, 19 No. 1 overall picks from '65 to '98 clearly had inferior careers to Burrell's (at least in my mind). And while that may say something about the crapshoot aspect of the amateur draft, some bad early picks before scouting improved or something else entirely, Burrell can't be considered any sort of disappointment, no matter how you measure it.

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Pat Burrell retires with two World Series rings, 292 homers

Pat Burrell returned home with a battered reputation when he joined the San Francisco Giants in early June 2010.

Once a feared slugger and one of the top run producers in the National League, Burrell had been summarily dumped by the Tampa Bay Rays, who got a tiny return (a .218 batting average) on their $16 million investment in him and didn't care for his sour attitude.

A change of scenery clearly did wonders for Burrell, who attended high school in San Jose and was reunited on the Giants with old buddies Aubrey Huff and Aaron Rowand.

Burrell, who announced Monday he was retiring at 35 because of a chronic foot injury, teamed up with then-rookie Buster Posey to energize the Giants' sluggish offense, helping them clinch the NL West title and win their first World Series since moving to the West Coast in 1958.

"Pat the Bat'' delivered 20 homers and 64 RBI in two-thirds of a season for the power-starved Giants, repeatedly coming through in the clutch. Just as significantly, he became a clubhouse leader and a unifying presence, a prime example of the "castoffs and misfits'' manager Bruce Bochy said formed his tightly knit club.

Burrell also gained cult status of sorts as the suspected man behind the mask worn by the character Brian Wilson identified as "the Machine,'' a big fellow clad in a bondage outfit who appeared on the background as the Giants closer was doing a national TV interview. Burrell has never publicly acknowledged playing the role.

He certainly played a bigger role in the Giants reaching the World Series than winning it, as he went 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts against the Texas Rangers, making him 1-for-27 in his two trips to the Fall Classic.

But his one hit was a seventh-inning double that turned into the winning run of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, the clincher for the Philadelphia Phillies as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays.

Burrell hit 251 of his 292 career home runs with Philadelphia to rank fourth in the history of the club, which drafted him No. 1 overall in 1998. He played nine of his 12 seasons with the Phillies, and though he never was an All-Star, Burrell was a key figure in turning what was a last-place team when he arrived in 2000 into a perennial power.

"Congrats Pat B for a great career!'' Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino tweeted. "It was amazing being your teammate for all those years in (Philadelphia).''

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