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BURKETT, JESSE CAIL

BURKETT, JESSE CAIL "CRAB" (12 Feb. 1870-27 May 1953), a left-handed outfielder for the CLEVELAND SPIDERS from 1891-98, holds the record with Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby for hitting .400 or over during 3 seasons. Born in Wheeling, W.Va. to Granville and Eleanor Burkett, he began in 1888 as a pitcher with Scranton, was transferred to the outfield by the New York Giants, and by 1891 was playing for the Spiders. Batting .423 in 1895 and .410 in 1896, Burkett helped the Spiders in the Temple Cup series, the equivalent of the World Series, with the Spiders defeating Baltimore 4 games to 1 for the league championship in 1895. In 6 seasons, Burkett never hit below a .345 average, leading the league 3 times in total base hits. At the beginning of the 1899 season, Frank De Hass Robinson, who owned 2 clubs, transferred CY YOUNG and Burkett to St. Louis, where the outfielder hit .402. After leading the NL in hitting during the 1901 season, Burkett jumped to the American League St. Louis team, three seasons later being traded to the Boston Red Sox, finishing his career in 1905 with a .342 lifetime batting average. Burkett was the owner and manager of Worcester in the New England League from 1906-13, and also coached Holy Cross College (1917-20) and Assumption College (1928, 1931, 1932). In 1946 he was selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y. Burkett and his wife, Ellen, had a daughter, Anna, and a son, Howard, who played minor-league ball. Burkett was buried in St. John's Cemetery in Wooster, Mass.