Expos Star: Tim Burke

1989 O-Pee-Chee

Okay so “star” might be a bit strong in this case, but Tim Burke was a pretty damn serviceable reliever and closer, especially in the days before modern closer usage was established. While ERA+ is not a good yardstick for measuring a reliever’s effectiveness, Burke never fell below 100 from 1985 to 1991. I think that points to effectiveness, given that that was over 656 innings. His WHIP fluctuated wildly, but in 1987 he had a 0.890 WHIP. That’s just insane. In 1989 he had a 1.063 WHIP with a 2.7 WAR and 28 saves. I’ll take that. After blowing his chance with the Mets in 1992 (“We had very little confidence in Tim Burke,” said Gerry Hunsicker, vice president of baseball operations for the Mets.), he was traded to the Yankees, where he rebounded. He signed a minor-league contract with the Reds in 1993, but apparently he wasn’t happy and asked for his release, then retired, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

What can I say about this card? It’s a 1989 Topps design, even if it’s O-Pee-Chee. I appreciate OPC from the 80s more than Topps, but I still abhor the 1989 design for some reason. I know a lot of people appreciate it, but I just find it flat-out boring. I mean, I guess it’s better than 88 and 90 Topps, but eh. Still, I wanted to talk some about Tim Burke, because I always thought he was an underrated reliever. So there you go.

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