Burns was actually discovered by Chicago Tribune book critic Bob Cromie. While in Birmingham in 1978, he read about a local whiz kid who had fanned 18 batters in one game. Cromie sent the clipping to his friend Bill Veeck, the White Sox owner. Later that season Burns made his Chicago debut at age 19. In 1980 the 6' 5" Burns was named TSN Rookie Pitcher of the Year on the strength of a 15-13 (2.84
ERA) season. He pitched 30 consecutive scoreless innings in 1981, a year marred by
his father's death two months after being hit by a car. Over the next three seasons,
injuries set in, and Burns's ERA ballooned. But he pitched his heart out in the last
game of the 1983 LCS, holding the powerful Orioles in check for nine innings. The
White Sox could not score either, and Tito Landrum's tenth-inning home run beat Burns.
After rebounding in 1985 to go 18-11, he was traded to the Yankees, for whom he never
pitched: A chronic, degenerative hip condition ended his career. (RL)
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»August 11, 1980: Reggie Jackson hits his 400th career home run, off Chicago's Britt Burns, in the 3rd inning of a 3–1 Yankees victory. It's Reggie's 31st homer of the year.
»July 13, 1985:
The White Sox take a 9–0 lead over the Orioles and hang on for a 10–8 win. Gary Roenicke drives in six runs for the O's on a 2-run home run and a grand slam off Britt Burns, who goes all the way. Dennis Martinez takes to loss.
»December 12, 1985: The Yankees trade P Joe Cowley and C Ron Hassey to the White Sox for P Britt Burns (18–11) and minor leaguers Mike Soper and Glen Braxton. Hassey will come back to New York before the season's start. A degenerative hip condition ends Burns' career before he has a chance to pitch for the Yanks.
»March 21, 1986:
The Yankees announce that their most celebrated off-season acquisition, 26-year-old pitcher Britt Burns, will not pitch at all this season because of a chronic deteriorating hip condition.