Watson: Glenn Burke’s potential still haunts Mike Norris

From SABR member Owen Watson at The Hardball Times on July 21, 2015:

“They said Glenn Burke weighed 100 pounds when he died,” he says, his eyes narrowing on the floor.

“Oh Burkey. I tell you. It’s a sad, sad story. He was just ostracized, you know? I was the only one he could hang with. It was probably the only comfort or enjoyment he had, as far as being with his team.”

He pauses for a moment.

“From greatness to just…that’s the epitome of both ends of the spectrum.”

Shifting his gaze toward me, he asks:

“Why did I get to play with Glenn Burke? Why was he one of my best friends on the team?”

He shakes his head, then says,

Why me?

The sun is setting in Oakland, and the shadows in Mike Norris’ third floor apartment are stretching out on the beige carpeting. It’s a Thursday, and both of us are sitting here, as we’ve been most weeks for the past six months, talking about baseball. (I’ve written about some of those conversations here and here.) About what it feels like to pitch a 14-inning complete game. About breaking a calcium deposit off of a pitching elbow mid-inning. About memories of a gay ballplayer, Glenn Burke.

We often speak about Mike’s big question:

Why him? Why did Mike Norris come along during the time of some of the most pressing issues in baseball, and get to play alongside names like Henderson, Fingers, La Russa and Burke?

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/glenn-burkes-potential-still-haunts-mike-norris/

Originally published: July 21, 2015. Last Updated: July 21, 2015.