Thursday, May 6, 2004

Moe Burtschy, pitched for A's in Philly, KC


WW II vet was modest, kind

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DELHI TOWNSHIP - Edward F. "Moe" Burtschy played one full season and parts of four others in Major League Baseball.

His baseball card - No. 120 of the Bowman 1955 series, attests to that one full season - 1954, when he went 5-4 as a relief pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics with a 3.80 ERA, closing 30 games and appearing in 46.

Mr. Burtschy - who ended his stint in the majors in 1956 with the Athletics - by then relocated to Kansas City - died Sunday of heart failure at Mercy Franciscan Hospital Western Hills. The Delhi Township resident was 82.

"He was real modest about it, but he pitched against Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and all the great players of the 1950s," said his son Michael of Independence. "We are real proud of him."

At 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, the right-handed Mr. Burtschy was a decent pitcher but a slow runner. His teammates dubbed him "Molasses Shoe," or "Moe" for short.

Born in Cincinnati in 1922, Mr. Burtschy grew up in South Cumminsville and St. Bernard. He was a 1940 graduate of Roger Bacon High School, where he played baseball, football and basketball. His alma mater inducted him into its sports hall of fame in 1997.

After graduation, he signed with a minor league team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. But when the draft was instituted in September 1940, he enlisted in the Navy. He served for 37 months aboard the USS Ticonderoga, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, during World War II. After his honorable discharge, he resumed playing baseball in the minors.

He began his big-league career with Philadelphia on June 17, 1950, when he was 28. In his career, he appeared in 90 Major League games.

Mr. Burtschy's career winning percentage was .625, with 10 wins, six losses and an earned run average of 4.71. He played a few more years in the minors before retiring.

He worked as a freight salesman in the trucking industry for several companies over the years.

Mr. Burtschy was a "kind-hearted man," his son said. "He would give you his last dollar if you needed it."

In addition to his son Michael, survivors include his wife of 40 years, Jackie Heffernan Burtschy; two daughters, Kathy McNally of Colerain Township and Mary Beth Burtschy of Delhi Township; two other sons, Chris Burtschy of Price Hill and Timothy Burtschy of Delhi Township; a sister, Margaret Burtschy of Delhi Township; and 11 grandchildren.

Services have been held. Burial was at St. Joseph Old Cemetery in Price Hill.

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com




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