Jeromy Burnitz: Former Mets Outfielder (1993-1994 / 2002-2003)

Jeromy Neal Burnitz was born on April 15, 1969 in Westminster, California. He is one of four brothers. The family moved to Conroe Texas, located outside of Houston.

There Jeromy went to high school in & later attended college at Oklahoma State University. Burnitz was the Mets number one round draft pick in 1990 (17th pick overall).

Minor Leagues: By 1991 he became the first player in the Eastern League to hit 30 HRs & steal 30 bases, ranking him the #3 prospect in the country by Baseball America. He was considered the second top prospect to Todd Hundley in the Mets organization as well. His speed began to fade away early on, and he began to strike out a lot more often.

In 1992 the last season for the AAA Tidewater Tides before their move to Norfolk, his average fell to .243. He only hit 8 HRs in 121 games setting him back even further. The next year at AAA Norfolk, he hit 8 HRs in just 65 games although his average fell to .227 but was still promoted to the Mets big league ball club. 

Mets Career: Burnitz made his MLB debut on June 21st, 1993, coming in to replace Bobby Bonilla as a defensive replacement in an 8-3 win over the Expos at Shea Stadium. The next day he came in as a pinch hitter for Anthony Young & singled for his first career hit coming off Mel Rojas in a loss to Montreal.

On June 29th, Jeromy hit his first career HR coming off the Marlins Ryan Bowen, he also doubled in the game collected three hits & scored the game's winning run in the top of the 12th inning scoring on Tim Bogar sac fly in a 10-9 win in South Florida.

He began July hitting HRs in back-to-back games, having another three hit game where he drove in four runs in a July 3rd 6-3 win over the Giants at Shea.

On July 10th he hit a two run HR off the Dodgers Pedro Astacio in a five-run 1st inning 10-9 win over L.A.

Grand Slam & Seven RBI Game: On August 5th at Stade Olympique in Montreal, he had a four hit game while driving in a career high seven runs 12-9 Mets win. In the 1st inning he singled bringing in Joe Orsulak with the first run of the game. In the 5th inning with the bases full, he hit his first career grand slam HR, coming off Dennis Martinez giving the Mets a 9-1 lead. 

He singled in the 7th for his third hit of the game. The Expos came back from eight runs down to tie the game. In the top of the 13th inning with the bases loaded Jeromy doubled off Expo pitcher John Wetteland bringing in two runs in the 12-9 win. 

That month he drove in 15 runs & he would hit four HRs in each of the last three months of the season. On September 22nd in a 2-2 tie with the Pirates he hit a two-run 8th inning HR off Tony Menendez putting the Mets ahead. Although the Pirates tied the game the Mets won it 6-5 in extra innings.

In 86 games that year, he hit .243 with 13 HRs with 10 doubles 6 triples & 38 RBIs. He struck out often as would be in his career, 66 times walked 38 times posting a .339 on base % & .814 OPS. The Mets finished last under managers Jeff Torborg & Dallas Geen winning just 59 games 959-103).

1994 Season: Burnitz started the season with the Mets but was hitting just .192 with two HRs in early May & was sent to AAA Norfolk. There he hit .239 with 14 HRs 49 RBIs playing in 85 games. He returned to the Mets in late July & was in the line up until August 10th but did not hit any HRs & was sent down again. 

In 45 games he would strike out 45 times hitting only .238 with three HRs. Manager Dallas Green wanted him to play winter ball which Jeromy refused to do causing friction with his manager.

Early in his career Burnitz was known for his temper & outbursts. He was critical of himself as well & did not respond well when things weren't going well.

In November 1994 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Dave Mlicki, Paul Byrd, & Jerry Dipoto.

Post Mets Career: After parts of two seasons in Cleveland as a reserve player he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Kevin Seitzer.  

In a small market Brewer team, who were now in the National League, he was one of the top stars & became one of their most popular players. In his first full season in Milwaukee, he hit 27 HRs with 85 RBIs & batted .281 with 20 stolen bases. From 1998 through 2001 he would hit 30 plus HRs & drive in 98 or more runs each year. He would also strike out well over 110 times or more in each of the next nine seasons. 

In 1998 he had his most productive season with 38 HRs & 125 RBIs. He also struck out a career high 158 times (2nd most in the NL) The next year he broke his hand but still had 14 HRs & 42 RBIs in the first half of the season.

1999 All Star: Burnitz became the first Brewer since Paul Molitor to start an All-Star Game. he replaced an injured Tony Gwynn playing leftfield in the game at Fenway Park in Boston. He participated in the HR derby coming in runner up. In the game he went 1-2 with a double off David Cone & scored the NL's first run in the in the AL's 4-1 win.

In the 1999 & 2000 seasons he walked well over 90 times each season giving him good on base percentages (.402 in 1999 / .356 in 2000).

On September 25th, 2001, he & his teammate Richie Sexton became the first teammates to both hit three HRs in the same game. It came in a 9-4 win over the Diamondbacks,

At this point in his career, he was able to control his temper & adjust his attitude. He became known as a good teammate & good clubhouse guy, more known for a laid-back attitude.

After coming off the 2000 NL Season, the 2001 Mets were one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Their outfielders only hit a combined 40 HRs & they needed a power bat. Burnitz was coming off a 34 HR season & the Mets wanted to get him back. 

Big Three Team Trade: In January 2002 he was part of a three-team trade. In the deal the Mets got Burnitz, Lou Collier, Jeff D'Amico & Mark Sweeney from Milwaukee, sending them Lenny Harris and Glendon Rusch to Milwaukee. They also sent 2000 NL Pennant Mets players, Benny Agbayani & Todd Zeile to Colorado for Ross Gload and Craig House.

Return to New York: The Mets had also acquired Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar & Pedro Astacio in the off season. None of these moves worked out as the team would finish 75-86 in fifth place in Bobby valentines last year as manager.

Burnitz debuted back at Shea Stadium on Opening Day 2002 batting sixth playing right field, scoring a run in the 6-2 Mets win. 

He hit HRs in back-to-back games in the third & fourth games of the year, including a three run HR & four RBI Day against the Atlanta Braves giving Pedro Astacio his first Mets win of the year on April 5th. 

On April 12th, he homered off the Expos Tomo Ohka in a 2-1 win in Montreal. He would hit back-to-back HRs in that homestand as well. That first month he hit five HRs & drove in 15 runs.

As May began he had a hot stretch, hitting three HRs from April 28th to May 3rd, giving him seven HRs on the young season. But then he went into a drought only hitting two more HRs thru the All-Star break as his average fell to just above the .200 mark. The Mets were not doing well either, so he & the team heard the boo birds.

He struggled through the season barley hitting near .200 for the months of May0-June & Julu combined. After the All Star break he hit just two HRs through August but then had a decent September.

Starting on September 4th he hit HRs in three straight games while driving in six runs.

Multi HR Game: On September 12th he had his only multi-HR game of the season, hitting two HRs in an 8-2 Mets win over the Expos in Montreal. One HR came again off Tomo Ohka & the other off TJ Tucker.

He closed out that four game series with another HR on September 15th, driving in the only Mets run of the 10-1 loss. He collected seven hits in the series with three HRs & four extra base hits.

Walk Off HR: On September 17th, his next game back at Shea Stadium, Burnitz hit a walk off two run HR in the bottom of the 9th inning off the Cubs Juan Cruz, helping David Weather to a win, as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1.

Burnitz hit seven HRs in the final month driving in 15 runs with six multi-hit games.

Overall, it was a big drop off in production from his last few years, he struggled batting a career low .215 hitting only 18 HRs with 54 RBIs, his lowest totals since becoming a full-time player. He led the team in games played (154) hit by pitches (10) & caught stealing (7) while striking out 135 times.

He struggled and heard it from the Shea faithful, but Burnitz now a good-natured guy & took it in stride giving it 100% every day. 

In the outfield he played 140 games (5th in the NL) made nine errors (2nd most in the NL) but had eight assists (5th in the NL). In his career the strong armed Burnitz had double figures in that category four times. 

2003 Season: Burnitz started out the year with two doubles on Opening Day in a 15-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium. It was a cold day at Shea that day (centerfieldmaz was in attendance) in Tom Glavine's terrible Mets debut. 

On April 15th Jeromy hit a two run HR off the Pirates Josh Fogg leading the Mets & Tom Glavine to a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh. Two days later he homered again in a 7-2 win over the Pirates.

Burnitz went down with an injury at the end of April & missed a month of action.

Grand Slam HR: He returned to the lineup on May 23rd in a game against the Braves in Atlanta. With the Mets ahead 3-0 in the 6th inning, Burnitz hit a grand slam HR off Russ Ortiz leading the Mets to a 6-5 win.

Burnitz would hit HRs in three of his first four games back after the injury while driving in runs in four straight games. 

On June 1st he hit a three HR off the Braves Darren Holmes leading Al Leiter to his 6th win of the year. On June 15th Burnitz he hit two HRs off the Angels Jarrod Washburn in an inter league 8-0 Mets win at Anaheim. He hit three HRs & drove in six runs in that series.

Subway Series: In the first game of a cross town double header against the AL New York team, Jeromy scored the Mets only run of a 7-1 loss with a HR. The next day he hit a three-run HR off Jeff Weaver bringing in the only runs of a 5-3 loss. 

For June he hit eight HRs while driving in 18 runs. IHe started out July with three HRs in the first week from July 2nd to July 6th & he drove in runs in seven straight games getting his average all the way up to .286.

Traded: On July 17th he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Victor Diaz, Jose Diaz (no relation) & Kole Strayhorn. At that point Burnitz had 18 HRs which was enough to tie for the season team lead for the year with Cliff Floyd. Burnitz batted .274 with 18 doubles & 45 RBIs with a .344 on base %& .925 OPS in 65 games with the Mets.

Even though the 2003 Mets weren’t going anywhere it was still a tough trade to figure out, especially since Victor Diaz or any other player in that deal did not work out. No matter what is said about his production, Burnitz played hard during his stay in New York.

Mets Career Stats:
Jeromy played parts of four seasons with the Mets in 350 games. He batted .237 with 265 hits 47 doubles 6 triples 53 HRs 178 runs scored & 152 RBIs. He posted a .329 on base % & .761 OPS. He struck out 301 times in 1119 at bats with 140 walks. In right field he played 290 Mets games, seventh most in team history.

Post Mets Career: Burnitz finished with 31 HRs that season, and then signed on with the Colorado Rockies for 2004. There he hit 37 HRs (8th in the NL) drove in 110 runs (7th in the NL) and batted a career high .287 in the mountain air. 

He moved on to the Chicago Cubs in 2005 where he hit 24 HRs at Wrigley Field batting .258 with 87 RBIs. He then moved on to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2006 signing as a free agent. He batted.230 with 16 HRs 12 doubles 49 RBIs & a .289 on base %.

The laid back Burnitz once held a press conference in Pittsburgh to apologize for not running out a grounder, he joked "I'm your Highest-Paid Free Agent. That, in and of itself, should tell you the big picture that the team's in." The Pirates didn’t renew his contract in 2007 and he chose to retire at age 38.

Career Stats: Jeromy finished a 14-year career batting .253 with 714 hits 298 doubles 29 triples 315 HRs (136th all time) 981 RBIs. He struck out 1376 times (121st most all time) in 5710 at bats, walked 739 times posted a .345 on base% & .826 OPS in 1694 games played.

He played 1365 games in right field (37th most all time) with a .977 fielding % making 2473 put outs there (38th all time) with 82 assists (81st all time) turning 18 double plays & made 61 errors (45th most all time). 

Retirement: In February 2008 Burnitz and former Dodger Eric Karros began a sports talk radio show in San Diego called Live at Five. 

Family: Jeromy & his wife Krissy have three children. They live in a San Diego suburb.


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