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Former Rev Brian Burgamy makes Triple-A debut with Dodgers at 33

Burgamy OKC

You can always paint stories of minor league perseverance into the mosaic of baseball in this country, right next to your apple pie and Chevrolet.  A footnote transaction in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization the second week of May has significant meaning to the Atlantic League and the Revolution.

33-year-old 1B/3B/OF Brian Burgamy, who will turn 34 next month, was moved from Double-A Tulsa by the Dodgers to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday, the first time the veteran of 14 professional seasons reached that level. Burgamy was drafted by the Padres in the ninth round (265th overall) in 2002 out of Wichita State.

Burgamy reached Double-A with the Padres and Phillies, before playing in six Atlantic League seasons between 2008 and 2013, including 43 games with the Revolution in 2013 before he departed to Campeche of the Mexican League after posting a .345 average with nine home runs and 35 RBI.  Prior to the 2014 season, he inked a minor league deal with the Mets, spending the entire season at Double-A Binghamton, where he hit .276 with 23 homers and 76 RBI in 121 games, and won Eastern League Player of the Week honors twice.  With Burgamy’s veteran presence playing a key role, Binghamton captured the Eastern League Championship.

In the off-season, Burgamy elected to sign as a free agent with the Dodgers, whose Double-A and Triple-A affiliates were in Chattanooga and Albuquerque respectively, in 2014.  Once the Dodgers ownership purchased a piece of the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks however, changing the name to Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Double-A affiliation was also shifted to Tulsa to provide for the easy shuttling of Double-A and Triple-A players back and forth over only 106 miles.  Not only did the Dodgers sacrifice their prospects being the best spellers in baseball by leaving Chattanooga and Albuquerque in the latest affiliation shuffle, they also happened to move both top affiliates to Burgamy’s home state.  He’s from Lawton, Oklahoma, just 192 miles from Tulsa and 86 from Oklahoma City.  It’s as close to Burgamy’s outpost hometown as he could play in professional baseball.

Burgamy batted .341 with five homers in 25 games to begin the season in Tulsa, prompting the promotion.  Whether his playing for the only two professional clubs in his home state this season is destiny or coincidence, he’s vying to become the ninth former Rev to reach Major League Baseball.  Despite being on the precipice, it will still be an uphill climb for a 33 or 34-year-old making his Triple-A debut to crack a big league roster, regardless of how patient and determined Burgamy has been in 14 pro seasons.  Should Burgamy stay in Triple-A and perform well for the remainder of the season, a September call-up when rosters expand shouldn’t be ruled out for him.  If Burgamy does reach the Majors, it would be reminiscent of Scott Rice’s MLB debut in 2013 as a 31-year-old rookie, after 14 minor league seasons himself, after playing with the Revolution during the 2011 season.

-Paul Braverman


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