Jeff Burroughs was the top overall pick in the 1970 draft by the then Senators and was in the majors later that year, though he didn’t stick for good until 1973, by which time the team had moved to Texas. In 1974, he won the MVP as the Rangers finished a surprising second, but he struggled in the next two seasons and was sold to the Braves. Well, the Rangers got five players for him, but they were a couple of has-beens and three never-weres, and the important thing was the $250,000.
Burroughs made a big comeback in the Launching Pad, hitting a career-high 41 HR, second in the league, in his first season. In his second, he had the best year of his career even though his homers dropped to 23, hitting .301/.432/.529 and leading the league in walks and OBP. He made the All-Star team that year, but the Braves continued to struggle. Niekro was the best pitcher in the league and Burroughs was one of the best hitters, but they really only had three other good players (Matthews, Horner, and Garber) and you can’t win with two stars, three good players, and 20 catastrophes.
Anyway, some of the catastrophes started to improve in 1979, but something happened to Burroughs. I don’t know if it was a major injury (cursory research doesn’t reveal anything) or several lesser ones or just age catching up to him early. Burroughs was a big, slow guy with “old player’s skills”, and that type of player does tend to fade early, though 28 is pushing it. Anyway, he hit .224/.347/.348 and missed a bunch of games that season. He did improve to .263/.347/.453 in 1980, but missed even more time and was traded after the season to the Mariners for Carlos Diaz, who wasn’t anything of note.
Burroughs, as mentioned above, was (and presumably still is) a big slow guy. Reports on his defense all describe it as very bad, within a range of “tries hard and is mechanically okay but is just too slow” to “Luzinskiesque”. (Jeff Burroughs : Gary Matthews :: Ryan Klesko : Michael Tucker.) Anyway, Burroughs’s range factors are very low, his fielding percentages a little below average, and he had some nice assists totals. After blundering around in the outfield for Seattle for a year, he moved on to the A’s where he was a part-time DH for three years, then wound up his career playing for Bobby Cox and the Blue Jays, one of Bobby’s platoon DHs. His last season he was only 34 and hit just a bit below his career standards, but he didn’t sign with anyone after that season.
Jeff Burroughs : Sean Burroughs as
A. Tony Gwynn : Anthony Gwynn
B. Yogi Berra : Dale Berra
C. Tony Pena Sr. : Tony Pena Jr.
D. Skip Caray : Chip Caray
E. None of the above
So sue me, I like analogies.