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Former big leaguer Burgess dies at 81

Former big leaguer Burgess dies at 81

LAMBETH, Ontario -- Tom Burgess, who played briefly in the Major Leagues before serving as a coach under Joe Torre and Bobby Cox, has died. He was 81.

A member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Burgess died Monday at his Lambeth home after a battle with cancer, Baseball Canada said.

Burgess spent most of his professional playing career in the Minors but had two short stints in the big leagues as an outfielder and first baseman. He went 1-for-21 (.048) at the plate with the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals and didn't get back to the Majors until eight years later, when he batted .196 with two homers and 13 RBIs for the 1962 Los Angeles Angels.

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After his playing career ended, Burgess managed at many levels for St. Louis, Atlanta, the New York Mets, Texas and Detroit. He was third-base coach for the Mets under Joe Frazier and Torre in 1977, and for Atlanta under Cox in 1978.

Burgess also coached and managed for Baseball Canada and Baseball Ontario.

"Tom could not give enough back to baseball," Tom Valcke, president of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a phone interview Thursday. "He would teach anyone, anytime, everything he knew, as long as they wanted to learn and to work."

As well as the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Burgess also is a member of the London, Ontario, sports Hall of Fame and the Rochester Red Wings Hall of Fame.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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