Rick Burleson ranked among the best at shortstop with his hustling, line drive hitting and excellent defense during the late 1970's and early 1980's. In his rookie season, 1974, he hit 22 doubles and batted .284. In 1975, Burleson helped the Red Sox capture the pennant with his determined all around play and in the ALCS lined 4 hits in 9 at bats including 2 D's, plus in the World Series vs the Cincinnati Reds, he was 7-for-24,a .292 average and had 2 clutch RBI's. Burleson was a fans favorite with his hustling base-running and winning attitude.
Nicknamed: the Roster. 'Rick Burleson is even tempered. He comes to the park mad and stays that way,' said Joe Garagiola. In his best season, 1977 with the Red Sox, batting in the leadoff position, Rick Burleson batted .293, lined 36 doubles, 7 triples, 3 HR's and scored 80 runs and led the AL in putouts for SS. Burleson won the AL's Gold Glove Award in 1979 and was chosen for four All-Star games, 1977-1979, 1981. In 1980 Rick Burleson set a MLB defenive shortstop record with 147 double plays. On April 13 1980 he set a record for shortstops with 15 assists in a 20 inning game. He was traded to the Angels in December 1980 and injured his arm in 1982 and after a fine 1983, he tore his rotator cuff and missed the full season. Rick Burleson was voted AL Comeback Player of the Year while playing for the California Angels in 1986 when he hit .284 Rick Burleson career stats: .273 BA in 1346 games, 449 RBI's.