Pat Burrell’s nine year tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies was one of the most interesting runs in Philly sports history. After his 37 homerun, 116 RBI 2002 season, Burrell appeared to be headed to being an elite power-hitter as the Phillies inched closer to a move out of Veterans Stadium, and into Citizens Bank Park.
Burrell would never top that 2002 season, and some thin years (at least by the standards he had set) in 2003 and 2004, forever turned certain members of the fanbase into Burrell-detractors.
Of course in 2014, all we remember is that Burrell had the double in World Series game five, and after he was pinch-run for by Eric Bruntlett, Pedro Felix drove him in, which turned out to be the clinching run in the 2008 World Series. Burrell and the organization parted ways after that season, but it seemed as soon as he got Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard, and the Chase Utley around him, the pressure to be “Pat the Bat”, and not just another productive hitter in the lineup, went away. Perhaps this is why we have such fond memories of him today.
Even through some of the thinner times of Burrell’s tenure in Philadelphia, two things kept him in the good graces of many in the Deleware Valley—his unmatched work ethic, and the fact that women LOVED Pat Burrell.
The stories of Burrell stealing innocent guys’ girlfriends at bars, poured in over the years, to the point where it is hard to recall the specifics of many of stories.
Deadspin recently did a piece where they asked for fans to send them their best heckling stories, and this previously untold Burrell story turned up.
There are lots of Pat Burrell stories and when I was living in South Philly, my roommate and I heard them all. One of our favorites was when he took my friend’s uncle’s former roommate’s second cousin’s landlord’s 18 year old daughter home to his place in Rittenhouse Square and went to change. He came out in a gimp suit holding the rubber mask and handed it to the girl telling her to put it on. She obliged and when she looked up at him through the mask, he said “Are you ready to f*** Pat Burrell?”
Well we were at Citizens Bank Park standing by right field in Ashburn Alley where the best heckling in the world takes place (it’s standing room right above the opponent dugout). Pat’s throwing the ball around during warm ups and we’re yelling “PUT ON THE MASK, PAT!” He turns around to look at us mid-throw, mouth agape and Victorino’s toss hits him right in the small of the back.
While it bothers me that this fan said Ashburn Alley is above the opponent’s dugout, when it is actually the bullpen, this is a timeless story. Pat Burrell turned out to be one of the most consistent sluggers in Phillies history (fourth in Phillies history in homeruns), but stories like this will keep him alive in Phillies lure for years to come.