Ray Burris (THE TOPPS COMPANY)

Ray Burris

This article was written by Malcolm Allen

Ray Burris (THE TOPPS COMPANY)Righthander Ray Burris spent parts of 15 seasons (1973-1987) with seven major-league teams and won 108 games with his sinker/slider repertoire. Twice the Opening Day pitcher during the first half of his career with the Chicago Cubs, he nearly pitched the Montreal Expos to a pennant in 1981 with two outstanding National League Championship Series efforts. After retiring as a player, Burris remained in professional baseball for more than three decades as a coach and front office executive.

Bertram Ray Burris was born on August 22, 1950, in Idabel, Oklahoma. He was the fourth of Cornelius and Clare Mae (Vaughns) Burris’s five sons. He grew up in the small town of Duke in the southwestern part of the Sooner State, where his family were sharecroppers on a farm. From age five until he finished high school, Ray milked cows; slaughtered hogs, pigs, and chickens; and cultivated fields of cotton, hay, barley, and tobacco. “I learned that working was nothing to be afraid of. It was something to be honored and embraced,” he said. “It made me appreciate what I was blessed with from that point on. I wish every young person would have the chance to have that lifestyle for just a year.”1

Burris loved sports and started at point guard for Duke High School’s basketball team when he was a seven-year-old first grader.2 “When I was a kid, we didn’t have an organized baseball program,” he recalled.3 He learned to hit with his brother by swinging a broomstick at rocks that they threw up in the air. To practice pitching, he fastened a tire to the side of the barn. “I threw at that tire every day for years,” Burris said.4 “We hunted with rocks — that’s how I learned accuracy. Baseball was a passion to me.”5

In the Hollis Little League, Ray wore his first baseball uniform. He was called the N-word to his face by strangers in still-segregated Oklahoma. “When I crossed the white line on a baseball field, my name was Ray. When I crossed back over that line, I didn’t have the same privileges as I had when I crossed between the lines,” he said. “Meaning, I couldn’t stay in the hotels. I couldn’t eat in the restaurants. I couldn’t swim in the swimming pools.” When no African American family could be located for him to stay with on road trips, Ray was forced to sleep by himself on a cot in a darkened gymnasium, a lonely experience that caused him to sleep with a night light until he was 45. “I’m thankful I went through it because it made me who I am today,” he said in 2021. “All of that taught me how to love myself. All of that taught me how to strive to be somebody.”6

While Ray was in high school, the St. Louis Cardinals won two championships with their ace pitcher winning World Series MVP honors both times. “My number one player was Bob Gibson,” Burris recalled. “It was just the way he went about his business. There was an aura to his body language and the way he went down that slope with authority… It looked like every emotion that he had in his body was coming out every time he threw the baseball, and I emulated that.”7

Following Burris’s graduation in a class of 12 students in 1968, he played American Legion baseball for Gould’s. At a tournament in Oklahoma City, his performed so well that Southwestern State College (which became Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1974) gave him a half-scholarship — the most that the Weatherford-based university could offer. After catching the eye of the basketball coach during winter intramurals, Burris was offered another half-scholarship to suit up for the Bulldogs cagers as well.8

Burris played every position on the diamond except second base as an amateur, but was primarily a pitcher-outfielder in college.9 Prior to turning pro, he said, “My greatest thrill was June 13, 1970, in semipro baseball in Lawton, Oklahoma when I pitched my first perfect ballgame.”10 He blossomed that summer, going 13-4 with a 2.19 ERA to lead the Lawton Pepsis — also featuring future big-league outfielder Jim Tyrone — to the state semipro championship.11 Burris built on his success as a junior at Southwestern, earning 1971 first-team All-American honors by leading all college pitchers in wins with a 16-4 record, driven by a 1.50 ERA. “The amazing thing about six of those victories were that I pitched [both games of] three doubleheaders,” he said.12 Burris also batted .405, and his 158 strikeouts set a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics record. The Bulldogs finished fifth at the NAIA World Series in Phoenix.13 That summer, he helped the Pepsis repeat as state semipro champions by lowering his ERA to 0.83 and winning 11 straight decisions before two losses at the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita, Kansas.14

Prior to his senior year, Burris grew three inches (he eventually reached 6-foot-5). After joining the baseball team late because of basketball playoffs, he went 9-4 but encountered diminished interest from professional teams after completing his Recreational Leadership degree. “The rumor was floating around through the scouts that I had a sore arm, but nobody came and talked to me,” he recalled.15 “I thought the scouts had given up on me.”16 After the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 17th round of the 1972 June amateur draft, he signed for a modest bonus through scout Billy Capps. “When I was drafted, it was a feeling of relief,” Burris said. “I immediately started thinking about what I was going to do with this opportunity. I was going to give baseball a shot. If it didn’t work out, there was no fear for me because I had my education.”17

The Cubs sent Burris to their rookie-level team in Bradenton, Florida, but he impressed so much pitching batting practice that he debuted in the Double-A Texas League, where he lost five of his first seven decisions for the Midland Cubs. “I threw some pitches sidearm, and some three-quarters, and sometimes overhanded,” he said.18 Longtime pitching instructor Fred Martin encouraged him to deliver the ball overhand, and Burris finished the year with five straight victories for an overall 7-5 record (3.51 ERA). “Freddie Martin taught me how to make the ball sink, how to apply proper finger pressure, and throw it off the meat part of my fingers,” he explained.19 Burris inspired comparisons to another 6-foot-5 righty who had won at least 20 games in six straight seasons for the big-league Cubs. “Burris resembles Ferguson Jenkins in many respects,” said Chicago manager Whitey Lockman that winter.20

In August of his first professional season, Burris wed Lawton native Regina Butler. The Cubs brought Burris to spring training 1973 as a non-roster invitee, but he told The Sporting News, “Right now my thinking is strictly big league.”21 He made the team after posting a team-best 1.80 ERA.22

Burris debuted on April 8, 1973, at Wrigley Field, relieving Burt Hooton in the top of the second inning with two outs, runners at the corners, and Chicago trailing the Expos, 4-0. Montreal’s Ron Hunt greeted him with a run-scoring infield single, but Burris hurled 3 1/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit ball, including strikeouts of Jorge Roque and Hunt. Ten days later in New York, Burris started against the Mets on short notice when teammate Milt Pappas had a family emergency. He shut out that season’s eventual pennant winners for five innings and claimed his first victory, 1-0, over Jon Matlack. Cubs relievers Larry Gura and Jack Aker notched the last dozen outs. Burris began his career with 11 1/3 scoreless frames before he permitted two runs in his sixth appearance. After one more outing, he was sent to the Triple-A American Association on May 17 despite a 1.15 ERA because, Lockman explained, he could not give the 22-year-old enough work.23 Burris went 4-3 in eight starts for the Wichita Aeros, rejoined Chicago’s bullpen in late June, and finished his rookie season 1-1 (2.92) in 31 appearances.

In addition to on-field lessons, veteran teammates like Jenkins taught Burris about the importance of building credit and paying off his home while he was an active player. “José Cardenal took me under his wing… I mean he helped me to understand how to be a major league ballplayer, on and off the field,” Burris explained. “I learned a lot from him. Billy Williams was very instrumental in that.”24

That winter in the Venezuelan League, Burris went 0-2 in 10 outings for the Tiburones de La Guaira.25 He spent most of 1974 with the Cubs, posting a 3-5 record and 6.60 ERA in 40 appearances, five of which were starts. Burris was sent to Wichita in August, where he went 2-3 with a 5.09 ERA in seven starts but handled his demotion in stride. “I feel I have a pretty good career ahead of me,” he said. “Some people come down and are nothing but a liability to the club and themselves. I’ve got too much pride not to do my best, no matter where I’m pitching.”26

In October, the Cubs traded Williams to the Oakland A’s for a package including two proven relievers, Bob Locker and Darold Knowles, reducing Burris’s chances of making the team. “I spent all winter analyzing and evaluating myself. I realized that I had to gain confidence in my breaking pitches,” Burris recalled. “Your job is to try to keep the hitters off balance, and the only way you can do this is by throwing at different speeds.”27 In spring training 1975, he earned a spot in Chicago’s starting rotation. Jim Marshall, who’d replaced Lockman as Cubs manager in mid-1974, observed, “Ray was once a one-pitch pitcher who threw hard and had a high kick. Now he’s more polished. I think you can give part of the credit to our pitching coach, Marv Grissom. He and Ray are a good team.”28

Burris went 3-0 in April. By the time he hurled his first big-league shutout — a four-hitter against the Braves on May 26, he was 6-3 and the Cubs led the NL East. By June 27, however, Chicago had sunk to fifth place. Burris’s record briefly dipped below .500 with an August 3 defeat before he won seven of his last eight decisions to finish 15-10 (4.12). His victory total and 238 innings led the team. “I now know I have the endurance that some people — including myself — wondered if I had,” he remarked. “It’s a thing called confidence.”29 He spent the offseason as a salesman at a Mark Shale clothing store in Chicago, and the Cubs signed his younger brother Johnnie, an outfielder.30

On April 9, 1976, Burris was the Cubs’ Opening Night pitcher in St. Louis. He held the Cardinals to two runs over six innings and singled against Lynn McGlothen but lost, 4-0. Chicago’s record sank under .500 to stay by the first week of May, and Burris’s personal mark was 4-11 when he lost his first start after the All-Star break, 2-1, in San Diego on an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth. He dominated after that, though, going 11-2 (2.10) the rest of the way, including NL Pitcher-of-the-Month honors for August. In September, Burris tossed back-to-back shutouts against the Expos and Phillies that were completed in 1:45 and 1:49, respectively. He logged career highs with 249 innings and 10 complete games and led the Cubs with 15 victories and a 3.11 ERA.

In 1977, Burris was Chicago’s Opening Day starter again, but lost, 5-3, to the Mets’ Tom Seaver. By Memorial Day, the Cubs were in first place under new skipper Herman Franks. Burris was 7-4 and had hit his only professional home run — off Buzz Capra in Atlanta. While Chicago held the NL East lead into August before finishing fourth, Burris also unraveled, winding up 14-16 with an inflated 4.72 ERA in a career-high 39 starts. After allowing the NL’s second-highest home run total in each of the previous two seasons, he was taken deep a circuit-worst 29 times. “He’s been dropping down his arm and didn’t even realize it,” observed Fred Martin, who was summoned to help that summer. “I knew it the first time I saw him.”31 Pitching in hitter-friendly Wrigley Field did not help. Over his first five seasons, Burris allowed a homer once every 32.6 at-bats at home, versus once every 48.6 at-bats on the road.

As Burris entered his sixth season in 1978, the Cubs had their fifth different pitching coach (Mike Roarke) since his debut. He described the constant change as “confusing.”32 Franks remained the manager, but that was not necessarily beneficial. “Herman didn’t like me. I don’t know why,” Burris remarked in 1980.33 During spring training, Burris said, “I’ve got to quit thinking and just throw the ball.”34 He won his first two decisions but spent time in the bullpen and didn’t win as a starter between June 11 and September 17. After exploring trade offers for Burris the previous winter, the Cubs agreed to swap him for Pittsburgh’s Jerry Reuss at midseason, but the Pirates southpaw exercised his right to nix the deal.35 In 40 appearances (32 starts), Burris wound up 7-13 (4.75).

A new Burris reported to spring training in 1979 — he had become a born-again Christian. While he’d attended church regularly with his brothers growing up, he traced his commitment to a conversation with fellow pitcher Dave Roberts on a road trip the previous year.36 Neither frustrations with management or the media, nor errors by teammates would cause Burris to stew at home anymore. “I spent three or four years knowing that my attitude was wrong but was unable to solve the problem by myself. When I finally made the commitment to Jesus Christ, I found things changed rapidly for me,” he said. “I don’t feel this new-found faith hinders my competitive nature, as some might think. In fact, I think it helps it… If I’m 0-20 this season, or 20-0, I’ll still be the same individual.”37

Burris wasn’t pleased with Franks’ plan to use him out of the bullpen, however, recalling, “They tried to inject in my mind that I was a relief pitcher, and I wasn’t.”38 His ERA was 6.23 in 14 appearances when he was dealt to the Yankees on May 23 for Dick Tidrow, another struggling veteran. “It’s a change of scenery trade, I understand,” said Burris, in the third year of his four-year contract and Chicago’s player representative at the time.39 New York wanted him to help fill a bullpen void following ace reliever Goose Gossage’s injury in a clubhouse scuffle. “I still think of myself as a starting pitcher, but I was flattered that the world champions were interested in me,” Burris said.40

The combination of rookie reliever Ron Davis’ emergence, Gossage’s return, and a managerial change soon relegated Burris to forgotten-man status. In just under three months with the Yankees, he made just 15 appearances, posting a 6.18 ERA over 27 2/3 innings. “I was hitting a lot of bats. I had to change,” he confessed. “I didn’t do much with the Yankees, but I got a chance to talk with Tommy John, Luis Tiant, Catfish Hunter, Jim Kaat. I’d write down things they told me.”41

When the Yankees put Burris on waivers in late August, the crosstown Mets snatched him up immediately. “As soon as I saw that they were using Ray in relief, I told [GM] Joe McDonald to keep his eye on the waiver wire,” explained Mets manager Joe Torre. “I felt he could start with us.”42 In his debut for his new team, Burris hurled seven innings of two-hit ball against the Reds. He broke his right wrist in a basepath collision during his fourth start, however, ending his season on September 9.43 Overall, for three teams in 1979, Burris was 1-5. “Those seasons, 1978-1979, were transition years for maturity,” he reflected. “I had to regroup, change my thought process.”44

In spring training 1980, Torre observed, “You can tell [Burris] learned to pitch in Wrigley Field. He learned that you have to keep the ball down.” Burris agreed, “I am basically a sinkerball pitcher now, but I wasn’t when I came to the majors. You couldn’t pitch in that park if you didn’t keep the ball down.”45 The Mets lost 95 games that season, but Burris led the club in starts and innings pitched despite missing five weeks after fracturing the tip of his right thumb while batting on July 3. He was hit hard in losing his last six decisions and finished 7-13 (4.02).

Burris became a free agent. In November’s re-entry draft, four teams — the Mets, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Montreal Expos — selected him.46 Acting as his own agent, Burris negotiated a one-year deal to join the only contender in the group: Montreal. His strong work in the Grapefruit League in 1981 earned him a spot in the Expos’ starting rotation. “Burris was the most pleasant surprise of all the pitchers in spring training,” remarked pitching coach Galen Cisco. “He came in with a great attitude. He became fully involved with the program. He just did everything that he was supposed to do.” Beat writer Ian MacDonald observed that while Burris arrived “with the reputation of being something of an anti-management militant,” he “impressed the club as an articulate, pleasant gentleman.” For the second straight year, Burris was one of Baseball Chapel’s dozen nominees for the Danny Thompson Award, given to a major leaguer “exemplifying Christian spirit in baseball.”47

With Montreal, Burris pitched to a 3.09 ERA in his first 10 starts, but his record was just 3-5 when a players’ strike interrupted the 1981 season in June. “I knew I had to do something,” he said. He spent the break working out with some former Yankees teammates in Hackensack, New Jersey. After play resumed in August, at the suggestion of Cisco and teammate Woodie Fryman, Burris mixed in more sliders and went a team-best 6-2 as Montreal claimed the second-half NL East championship by a half-game over the Cardinals. In the heat of the pennant race on September 21 at Olympic Stadium, Burris matched zeroes with future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton through 10 innings before the Expos beat the first-half champion Phillies, 1-0, in the 17th.

Montreal edged the Phillies again in the NL Divisional Series despite Burris’s Game Three loss in Philadelphia. After the Expos lost the NL Championship Series opener to the Dodgers, Burris pitched Game Two against the circuit’s Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner that season, Fernando Valenzuela, in Los Angeles. When Burris tuned into pre-game coverage from his room in the Biltmore Hotel, NBC’s announcers did not even mention his name. “Oh, was I motivated. Lord have mercy. I was so motivated I couldn’t even see straight, but that is what gave me the determination,” he recalled.48 In front of 53,463, Burris evened the series by holding the Dodgers to only five singles in a 3-0, shutout victory. “It was very gratifying,” he said. “I’m sure everyone came to see Fernando Valenzuela, but maybe they found a new star tonight.”49

Five days later in Montreal, Burris and Valenzuela dueled again in Game Five with a trip to the World Series at stake. When Burris departed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth, the score was 1-1, but L.A.’s Rick Monday blasted a pennant-winning homer off Expos ace Steve Rogers in the top of the ninth.

Montreal signed Burris to a three-year contract.50 Three starts into the 1982 season, his 1.17 ERA led the NL, but his record was 0-3. By Memorial Day, he was in the bullpen with an 0-7 (5.44) mark, and his wife suggested that he lose weight after noticing that his weight had swelled to 230 pounds.51 “I love to eat,” Burris once confessed. “Pizza, hamburgers, lasagna. My mama once told me, ‘You can’t play the game undernourished.’”52 Burris finished the year with a 4-14 record, including 0-11 as a starter. “I began losing my concentration and worrying about things over which I had no control,” he reflected.53

Burris reported to spring training in 1983 with his weight under 200 pounds. He spent the first two months of the season as a reliever but whiffed a career-high nine Mets in his return to the rotation on June 10. Ten days later, he earned a standing ovation by tossing a nationally televised three-hit shutout against the Phillies at Olympic Stadium.54 Overall, he started 17 of his 40 appearances and went 4-7 (3.68) as Montreal finished third for the second straight year.

With Burris owed $500,000 for the upcoming season, plus a team option for 1985, the Expos traded him to the Oakland A’s for outfielder Rusty McNealy and cash at the winter meetings. “We feel the leadership he gives us will be valuable on the field and in the clubhouse with our young pitching staff,” remarked Oakland manager Steve Boros, who’d been an Expos coach during Burris’s first two seasons with Montreal.55

In 1984, Burris went 13-10 to lead the A’s in victories. In 211 2/3 innings, he posted a 3.15 ERA to rank ninth in the American League. When Oakland refused to pick up the option on his contract, Burris exercised his right to demand a trade. “Why be part of an organization if they are going to exploit your talents for one year and then say adiós?” he explained.56 On December 7, exactly one year after the A’s acquired him, Burris was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers with two minor-league pitchers for soon to be 40-year-old future Hall of Famer Don Sutton.

Burris went 9-13 with a 4.81 ERA for the Brewers in 1985 in what proved to be his final full major-league season. After Milwaukee released him less than a week before Opening Day in 1986, Burris signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched well in four starts for their Triple-A Louisville affiliate to earn a return to the majors. He went 4-5 (5.60) in 23 games (10 starts) before he was released again on August 27.

In early 1987, Burris was hired as an assistant to Milwaukee GM Harry Dalton. Brewers owner Bud Selig liked the way Burris had guided rookies Ernest Riles and Mike Felder in 1985. “Bud Selig was the one that saw something in me that brought me from playing right back into the coaching ranks,” Burris explained. “I never became a general manager… but I got the exposure, and that was very valuable to me.”57 When Milwaukee needed pitching that summer, Burris tuned up with three minor-league outings before returning to major-league action on July 31. He went 2-2 with a 5.87 ERA in what proved to be his final 10 big-league appearances. In 15 seasons in the majors, Burris compiled a 108-134 record and 4.17 ERA over 2,188 2/3 innings.

Burris spent two years as the pitching coach for Milwaukee’s rookie-level Pioneer League affiliate in Helena, Montana. Following the 1989 season, he suited up for the West Palm Beach Tropics of the Senior Professional Baseball Association and went 8-2 in 15 starts.58 Next, he returned to the majors as the Brewers bullpen coach in 1990 and 1991, followed by one season as the Rangers’ assistant pitching coach. Burris then moved into Texas’s front office for a few years in a community development position.

For a few years, he operated the Ray Burris Academy of Sports Instruction in Fort Worth. Since his Montreal days, he had helped athletes prepare for life after their playing days through Burris, Neiman & Associates.

In the 21st century, Burris spent two years as a roving instructor in the Cardinals’ farm system. He also served seven seasons as a pitching coach for Tigers minor-league affiliates, including the 2006 Midwest League champion West Michigan Whitecaps. He moved to the Phillies organization in 2013 to begin a three-year run as the pitching coach of the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania) IronPigs in the Triple-A International League, followed by five seasons as Philadelphia’s Rehab Pitching Coach Consultant.

As of 2021, he resides in Clearwater, Florida and continues to appear at baseball camps, and as a motivational speaker. “Baseball has given me that insight, that mindset, that makeup to understand that there’s highs and lows every pitch, every inning, every day, every game,” he said. “If you can just say, ‘I’m thankful to be alive, I’m thankful that I can stand up and walk on my own two feet,’ life don’t get any better than that.”59

Last revised: October 8, 2021

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Gregory H. Wolf and Rory Costello and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin,

 

Sources

In addition to sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted www.ancestry.com, www.baseball-reference.com and www.retrosheet.org.

 

Notes

1 Todd Zolecki, “Burris: Hard Work Should be ‘Honored and Embraced,” February 5, 2016, https://www.mlb.com/news/ray-burris-on-childhood-black-history-month-c163760766 (last accessed July 4, 2021).

2 Billy Staples, “Before the Glory: Ray Burris — Detroit Tigers World Series (Part 2),” July 3, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WTMQCIXiXc (last accessed September 29, 2021).

3 Dan Collier, “Old Tire Helps Ray Burris Reach the Majors,” Lawton (Oklahoma) Constitution, February 26, 1976: 30.

4 Jerome Holtzman, “Phenom Burris Makes Cubs Take Heed,” The Sporting News, March 31, 1973: 38.

5 George Castle, Where Have All Our Cubs Gone?, (Taylor Trade Publishing: Lanham, Maryland, 2005): 127.

6 Thomas Butler-Guerrero, “Chicago Cubs BHM Series Session: Ray Burris,” February 22, 2021, https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-mobcast-56955247/episode/chicago-cubs-bhm-series-session-ray-78001618/ (last accessed July 4, 2021).

7 Butler-Guerrero, “Chicago Cubs BHM Series Session: Ray Burris.”

8 Billy Staples, “Before the Glory: Ray Burris — Detroit Tigers World Series (Part 1),” July 3, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL-r16f2RFI (last accessed July 4, 2021).

9 Richard Dozer, “Burris Taking Huge Chuck Out of Cub Relief Rations,” The Sporting News, May 11, 1974: 18.

10 Ray Burris, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss, July 17, 1972.

11 “Cubs Promote Burris to Major Loop Roster,” Lawton Constitution, March 30, 1973: 23.

12 Ray Burris, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss, January 21, 1974.

13 1972 Bulldog, Southwestern State College Yearbook: 201.

14 “Cubs Promote Burris to Major Loop Roster,”

15 Staples, “Before the Glory: Ray Burris — Detroit Tigers World Series (Part 1).”

16 Dozer, “Burris Taking Huge Chuck Out of Cub Relief Rations.”

17 Tom Housenick, “IronPigs Coaches are Baseball Lifers Who Love Family Time, Too,” Morning Call, (Allentown, Pennsylvania), June 29, 2014: C1.

18 Holtzman, “Phenom Burris Makes Cubs Take Heed.”

19 Castle, Where Have All Our Cubs Gone?,128.

20 George Langford, “Cubs’ Pilot Preaches Positive Thinking,” Chicago Tribune, January 12, 1973: C2.

21 Holtzman, “Phenom Burris Makes Cubs Take Heed.”

22 Ray Burris, 1975 Topps baseball card.

23 Jerome Holtzman, “Cub Capers,” The Sporting News, June 2, 1973: 20.

24 Billy Staples, Before the Glory: Ray Burris — Detroit Tigers World Series (Part 3),” July 3, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0-QE2vwbEY (last accessed July 10, 2021).

25 Ray Burris, Venezuelan League statistics from https://www.pelotabinaria.com.ve/beisbol/mostrar.php?ID=burrray001 (last accessed July 10, 2021).

26 “Burris Not Moaning,” The Sporting News, August 24, 1974: 40.

27 Jerome Holtzman, “Burris Accelerates by Changing Speeds,” The Sporting News, April 26, 1975: 17.

28 Bob Verdi, “Cubs Use Arms, Legs to Triumph,” Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1975: H1.

29 Richard Dozer, “Cubs’ Burris Confident of Big Year,” The Sporting News, February 7, 1976: 42.

30 According to The Sporting News’s contract card database, Johnnie Burris was assigned to the Single-A Pompano Beach Cubs but was released without appearing in any games.

31 Rick Talley, “Fred Martin Put in Charge of Reclaiming Burris,” Chicago Tribune, July 14, 1977: C3.

32 Richard Dozer, “Helping Cubs on New Year Resolutions,” The Sporting News, January 14, 1978: 54.

33 Jay Weiner, “New Start with Mets is a Relief,” Newsday (Long Island, New York), April 22, 1980: 86.

34 Richard Dozer, “Burris Says He’ll Think Less, Throw More This Year,” Chicago Tribune, March 31, 1978: E3.

35 Dave Nightingale, “Cubs Quit on Burris — Deal Him for Yanks’ Tidrow,” Chicago Tribune, May 24, 1979: C1.

36 Nancy Taylor, “N.Y. Met a Born-Again Christian,” Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey), October 26, 1979: 7.

37 Dave Nightingale, “Burris Has Faith, Peace, New Chance,” Chicago Tribune, March 27, 1979: C2.

38 Jack Lang, “Burris Arms Met Rotation with Experience,” Daily News (New York, New York), March 9, 1980: 97.

39 “Tidrow Sent to Cubs for Burris,” New York Times, March 24, 1979: D17.

40 Dean McGowen, “Burris is Resigned to Role as Reliever,” New York Times, May 26, 1979: 13.

41 George Vecsey, “Burris Gains Fame by Defeating a Star,” New York Times, October 15, 1981: D24.

42 Lang, “Burris Arms Met Rotation with Experience.”

43 “Burris Done for Season,” Daily News, September 12, 1979: 55.

44 Castle, Where Have All Our Cubs Gone?, 130.

45 Lang, “Burris Arms Met Rotation with Experience.”

46 Jack Lang, “Surprises in Draft,” The Sporting News, November 29, 1980: 51.

47 Ian MacDonald, “Expos’ Burris Replies with Arm, Not Mouth,” The Sporting News, June 20, 1981: 21.

48 Staples, “Before the Glory: Ray Burris — Detroit Tigers World Series (Part 3).”

49 Leigh Montville, “Plain Old Ray Beats the Odds,” Boston Globe, October 15, 1981: 1.

50 “Expos Send Ray Burris to Oakland,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), December 9, 1983: 19.

51 Ian MacDonald, “Burris Ends Slide with 3-Hit Shutout,” The Sporting News, July 4, 1983: 23.

52 Vecsey, “Burris Gains Fame by Defeating a Star.”

53 MacDonald, “Burris Ends Slide with 3-Hit Shutout.”

54 MacDonald, “Burris Ends Slide with 3-Hit Shutout.”

55 “Expos Send Ray Burris to Oakland.”

56 Kit Stier, “Burris Demands to be Traded,” The Sporting News, November 5, 1984: 54.

57 Butler-Guerrero, “Chicago Cubs BHM Series Session: Ray Burris.”

58 Ray Burris, 1990 Elite West Palm Beach Tropics baseball card.

59 Staples, “Before the Glory: Ray Burris — Detroit Tigers World Series (Part 3).”

Full Name

Bertram Ray Burris

Born

August 22, 1950 at Idabel, OK (USA)

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