No sooner had I written in last week's Independent Baseball Insider that five former Independent Baseball hurlers had picked up their first major league victory this season when, bingo, Greg Burke was added to the list.
That's a pretty nice feat for half a baseball season.
Four of the six started their professional careers in non-affiliated ranks, making it even better.
Burke, who pitched for the Atlantic City (NJ) Surf of the Atlantic League in his initial season of 2005, got his first major league win--first decision, for that matter--against the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. Hurling for San Diego in the "Manny Returns" series which packed PETCO Park, Burke was the Independence Day winner with two-thirds of an inning of work. His rookie earned run average is a very acceptable 3.57 for 22.2 innings of work.
The other first time winners who started in the Indy ranks are Chris Jakabauskas of Seattle, Josh Kinney of St. Louis and Arizona's Max Scherzer. Jakubauskas broke in at Florence, KY of the Frontier League and also has worked at Ohio Valley, Fullerton, CA (now Orange County) of the Golden League and Lincoln, NE of the American Association. Kinney was at River City (O'Fallon, MO) of the Frontier League and Scherzer at Fort Worth, TX (American Association). The other two hurlers to get their first victory in 2009 are Craig Breslow of Oakland, who pitched for the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls), now a member of the Can-Am League, and Clay Zavada of Arizona, who was with Southern Illinois (Marion) of the Frontier League.