Sports legends of the Ville: The Volunteer [Sports]

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St. X alumni Chris Burke has made a name for himself throughout the baseball community both locally as well as nationally.

After graduating from high school Burke, a utility player known for his versatility- playing every position except pitcher and catcher, he made his way to Knoxville to play college baseball with the University of Tennessee.

Almost immediately Burke made a name for himself with the Vols being named to three All-America teams, as well as an All-SEC team for his work at second base.

It wasn’t until 2001 though after moving to shortstop, that Burke helped get Tennessee to the College World Series.

With versatility in the field and a great bat it didn’t surprise too many people when the young athlete went in the first round in the Major League Baseball draft to the Houston Astros.

Despite having a very successful run with the Astros including aiding the team in a National League Division Series win against the Atlanta Braves the Astros made the decision to trade Burke to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Astros/Braves game is notable, not only for the clinch playing of Burke but also because the game was over five hours long, it stands today as the longest playoff game in major league baseball history.

Since then he’s bounced around with the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnatti Reds, and interviewed for a coaching position with his alma matter the University of Tennessee. Despite not getting the job there is still a relatively large grouping of UT vans that are vocal about their support of Burke, who was so successful as a player.

Recently Burke was also seen back in the Derby City playing with the Bats, until his contract with the Reds ended. He’s since retired, giving speaking engagements and the like. Notably locally, he made an appearance at Louisville’s Baseball Con as a speaker.

Image courtesy of CBS Sports

Sources

Chris Burke

University of Tennessee

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