OTTAWA - Tom Burgess lived and breathed baseball.
The London, Ontario native would often say there was not a baseball park in North America that he had not either played or managed in.
On November 24, 2008, Tom Burgess passed away in his home after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 81.
Burgess played professionally between 1946 and 1963, making it to the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954 and again with the Los Angeles Angels in 1962.
But his true mark in the game came as a coach. He was a manager in the Minor Leagues in the farm systems of the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. He would serve as a Major League coach in 1977 with the Mets and in 1978 with the Braves.
All told, Burgess has spent over 40 years in professional baseball. That type of longevity is a remarkable feat for a Canadian at a time when Canadians in baseball were a rare breed.
“To survive in the U.S., being a Canadian, you’re getting knocked down and getting back up,” said Burgess in an interview back in 2003.
After his professional coaching career, he would continue coaching at the amateur level as a member of the coaching staff of the Junior National Team in 1999 and 2000, as well as the Senior National Team in 2001 and 2003. He has coached the likes of Justin Morneau and Jason Bay in his time with Baseball Canada.
A member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame since 1992, the love to give back and teach kids the game he loved so much has took him all over the world over an illustrious career.
Baseball Canada sends its condolences to the Burgess family.