Pat Burrell was back in town this past weekend.
One last curtain call for a fan favorite.
The Phillies signed Burrell to a one-day contract and let him retire in red pinstripes. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday’s game and the team flashed a tribute video.
Yes, the stoic player known for his charm and charisma — on and off the field — started crying in front of the sold-out crowd. Burrell was the first overall pick in the 1998 draft.
“It doesn’t seem that long ago,” Burrell said of his days in a Phillies uniform. “It was a really nice thing for the organization to do.”
For Phillies fans, the lasting image of Burrell is of him blasting that lead-off double in the seventh inning in Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. He was replaced for a pinch-runner, but the run turned out to be the series-clinching one.
“One thing people don’t really talk about is the fact that he rubbed off on guys in a positive way,” said Chase Utley. “He kept it loose, but he would also speak his mind when he felt it was needed.”
The 35-year-old Burrell is serving as a scout for the San Francisco Giants after a foot injury ended his career. Burrell said he has no intention of making a comeback.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I’m not sure where I’m going to end up with this whole thing, but as long as they still think I can help, I’ll be there.”