Leaguer of the Month
Born: ca. 1900 in Texas
Ht:5'-9", Wt: 170
Batted both and threw right
Position: catcher, first base, of, manager
Teams: Pittsburgh Keystones, Indianapolis ABCs, N.Y. Lincolns,
Harrisburg Giants, Atlantic City Bacharachs, Brooklyn Royal Giants,
N.Y. Black Yankees, Baltimore Black Sox, Homestead Grays, Newark
Dodgers, Brooklyn Eagles, Newark Eagles, Pittsburgh Crawfords,
Burnett was the Henry Blanco of the Negro Leagues. If you're
never heard of Blanco, a Major League journeyman, it's understandable,
because he changes teams like average players change their
Burnett, who grew up in Texas (hence the nickname),
was a strong-armed catcher, with an average bat. He was generally
a back-up catcher, doing most of his work in non-league games,
and the most common reason for his frequent dismissals was his
inability to control his temper.
biggest claim to fame, though, because he played for so many
strong teams, was that he was priveledged
to catch some of the greatest pitchers in black baseball history.
The list includes: Leon Day, Double Duty Radcliffe, Smokey Joe
Williams, Max Manning, Raymond Brown, Roy Partlow, Bill Holland,
Ted Trent, Luther Farrell, Bun Hayes, Jonas Gaints, William Bell,
Roy Williams, Satchel Paige, Terris McDuffie and Connie Rector.
Incomplete stats show Burnett with occasional season
averages in the high .300s or mid .100s, but he usually was good
for a .250 average with medium power.
1935, Burnett was the third-string catcher for the Brooklyn
Eagles, behind Double Duty Radcliffe and Dennis Gilchrist.
When Radcliffe jumped the team mid-season, Burnett got more
playing time and batted close to .300 for a mediocre team.
1937, Burnett became the manager of the Eagles, now out of
Newark, and was fortunate to have a pitcher, Leon Day, who
a game all season. Depite decent success, Burnett was replaced
by Dick Lundy at the end of the year. In fact, he Eagles had
four different managers in 3-1/2 seasons.
because they are the field generals of their teams, and because
it takes smarts to be a good catcher, often make good managers,
and the Negro Leagues had many great catcher-managers over
the years: Burnett, Double Duty Radcliffe, Quincy Trouppe and
Biz Mackey to name a few. The Major Leagues have boasted many
too: Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Bob Boone, Roger Bresnahan.
In 1940, Burnett took over the managerial position for the
New York Black Yankees, and was not very successful,
out of six teams in their division. He was a respected
manager, though, and in 1942 was chosen by Vic Harris to be
his coaches for the East in the East-West All-Star game.
In the 7th
inning of that game, with the tying run on second and
two outs, Harris asked Burnett who he thought couuld
and relieve. Tex recommended Leon Day, who
got of the inning without
then k'd 5 of the last 6 batters in 8th and 9th to win
much is known about Tex in retirement, and his date of death
has not been determined.
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