Obituary: Bill Burbach (1947-2022)

RIP to Bill Burbach, the first player ever taken by the Yankees in the first-ever Amateur Draft in 1965. He died on July 20 from natural causes in the Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton, Tenn. Burbach, a Johnson City resident, was 74 years old. He pitched for the New York Yankees from 1969-71. Prior to reaching the majors, he was also part of a milestone in Satchel Paige’s lengthy career.

William David Burbach was born in Dickeyville, Wis., on August 22, 1947, the youngest of eight children in the family. To attend Wahlbert High School in Dubuque, Iowa — the closest Catholic school — he had to hitchhike until he got a drivers license and could make the 19-mile drive himself. He was a three-sport athlete and was good at each one of them. By December of ’63, Burbach had a reputation as one of the best sixth men in Iowa high school basketball, according to The Cedar Rapids Gazette. The following year he made the Quad Cities’ Times-Democrat Big All-State football second team as a tackle, though he also caught a couple of touchdown passes as an end. That was somewhat of a family tradition, as older brothers Carl and Vince were all-state tackles as well, for Loras College in Dubuque. His pitching was just as impressive, but a little more uneven. He regularly played semipro ball in Wisconsin in his summers before returning to Iowa for high school. The schedule wasn’t an easy one for a high school student. He hurt his arm and spent much of his first season as a third baseman. When he returned to the mound, he occasionally battled control issues but could be nearly unhittable. He was 11-1 in his senior season of 1965 and 25-2 over his high school career. He threw a 1-hitter with 17 strikeouts to get Wahlbert into the state championship tournament in May 1965. During the tournament, he walked 6 in a game and hit a batter, “but when his ‘hummer’ came across, it was the kind of live ball scouts like to see,” reported The Des Moines Register.

Read Rest of Article Here: RIP Baseball

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