Friday, July 17, 2020

Tom Burgmeier (#558)

Tom Burgmeier was one of the good, young pitchers selected by the Royals in the expansion draft prior to the 1969 season. I thought he began his career in the Angels' organization, but I learned today that he was signed by the Houston Colt .45s in the Fall of 1961.

After 2 ½ season on the Colts' farm he was released in June 1964, but picked up by the Angels the following month.

Tom made his major-league debut with the Angels in 1968. He did not have any baseball cards as an Angel, because Topps missed the boat on many of their young pitchers from 1966-68. A custom card can be found in this blog post. This late-series 1969 card, featuring the new Royals’ uniform is his rookie card.

Burgmeier pitched in 745 games over his 17-year career, all but 3 in relief. He was a key member of the Royals' bullpen from 1969-72, fashioning a 24-16 record in 190 games over those 4 seasons, with 27 saves. 17 of those saves were in 1971, and he led the 1972 team with 9 saves.

It all came crashing down in 1973. He pitched 6 games in the first month of the season, but spent the remainder of the year in the minors.

After the season he was traded to the Twins for a minor-leaguer. Tom pitched for the Twins from 1974-77, and led the team with 11 saves in 1975.

Granted free agency, he signed with the Red Sox in 1978, and spent the next 5 seasons in Boston. In 1980 he led the team with 24 saves, and was named to his only All-Star team.

He played his final 2 seasons (1983-84) with the Athletics. In 17 seasons, his teams never made it to the playoffs.

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