Home MLB List of major leaguers born in GB grows by one

List of major leaguers born in GB grows by one

by Joe Gray

Cobbette-(128x128)The excellent hardball history website Baseball Almanac maintains country-by-country lists of major leaguers’ birth places, and so one click can show you English-born, Scottish-born, or Welsh-born players who reached the show.

The English list is set to grow by one, although this is not because of a player impressing in 2011 Spring Training. Instead, the addition is due to a discovery by the Society for American Baseball Research’s (SABR’s) tirelessly working Biographical Research Committee. In the group’s January/February 2011 Report, details for a correction to the birthplace of John Joseph Burns are issued. Previously though to have been born in Pennsylvania in 1880, Jack Burns is now believed to have popped into existence in Salford, England, in 1878 (according to the 1910 US census and a World War One draft registration).

Burns, a second baseman, had a 15-game major league career with the Tigers, spanning the seasons of 1903 and 1904, but despite the brevity of his spell he still gained playing time on the same line-up as one future Hall of Famer, outfielder Sam Crawford.

For a picture of Jack Burns, click here.

If you have an interesting history snippet to share that has a link to Britain then please send a message to Joe Gray through the Get in contact page. To see all of the work of Project Cobb, which is a Chartered Community of SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research), click here.

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Peter Morris March 18, 2011 - 3:45 pm

World War I was a typo in the newsletter; the actual primary source was Burns’s WWII (“geezer”) draft registration, filled out by the ballplayer. The 1910 census confirmed England as the place of birth, though not the exact place. (John J Burns, age 29, born England, occupation ballplayer, immigrated 1881, with wife Helene.)

Joe Gray March 18, 2011 - 9:19 pm

Hi Peter – many thanks for finding this story, and for the update. It’s a great discovery, particularly from a British perspective.


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