I would have put him on mine too at one point.
Rewind a little bit. I actually had this post drafted awhile ago and then decided to rewrite it a bit after thinking a little bit more about the situation. Let's start out with the good Tood Burns. I have a bunch of different Todd Burns cards in my collection from his days in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the Tony LaRussa A's teams.
In 1988, Burns went 8-2 in 14 starts with the A's en route to the team winning the American League West and playing the Dodgers in the World Series. The next season, Burns moved to the bullpen as a long reliever. He went 6-5 with an ERA+ of 166, which was second in the A's bullpen to Dennis Eckersley. The A's won the World Series, Burns pitched in two games, and did not allow a run to the Dodgers. Similar story in 1990, except he did not pitch very well in the World Series.
Although, the A's got swept by the Reds, so really nobody on the A's played very well that Postseason.
In 1991, Burns spent two different stints on the disabled list with the A's missing almost the entire season, save for nine games in the middle of the season. The A's let Burns walk after the season, he signed with the Rangers for 1992, and was never quite right. His career ERA with the A's was 2.81, with the Rangers it was always higher. In the half a season he played with the Rangers in 1993 it was 4.57.
In the middle of the 1993 season, the Rangers managed to dump Burns off on the Cardinals. On the day the Cardinals traded for Burns, they were 6 games behind the first place Phillies, and they needed relief help. Burns was the only reinforcement that August Busch's thrifty ways allowed the team to acquire.
A Burns card with the Rangers.
It would be easy to sit here and spend a few paragraphs telling you how terrible Burns was during the second half of the season for the Cardinals,. I am going to say it now, he was bad. However, I have decided that it was not really his fault that the situation turned out the way it did with the Cardinals. All things considered, fans in St. Louis should probably lay off the guy a little.
First, he had been racking up the injuries in the year and a half prior to the trade. Clearly something was not right physically with Burns. Second, he was a really good pitcher for a championship level team while he was in Oakland. If the Cardinals had traded for another relief pitcher, added Burns as a player who they were taking a chance on down the stretch based on previous success, I think he might have been remembered a little bit differently.
Took a chance and did not work out is a lot different than did not work out and we had everything riding on this one player.
Another Todd Burns card from 1993.
In the end, the Cardinals released Burns at the end of September of 1993. He pitched the 1994 season with the Mariners Triple A team in Calgary and did not fair well. That was pretty much the end of Todd Burns career. Moving forward, if you are going to speak ill of Burns, please place all the blame squarely at the feet of August Busch instead.