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Tom Burr


Date and Place of Birth: November 1, 1893 Chicago, IL
Date and Place of Death:    October 12, 1918 Cazaux, France
Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Lieutenant
Military Unit: 31st Aero Squadron, US Air Service
Area Served: France

Alexander Thomson "Tom" Burr was born on November 1, 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Choate School in Connecticut, where he played shortstop and had an outstanding record as a pitcher. Burr later attended Williams College at Williamstown, Massachusetts, but signed with the New York Yankees in January 1914, before getting a chance to represent the school on the diamond .

After spending the early part of the season on the Yankees’ bench, and making just one appearance against the Senators on April 21, Burr was assigned to the New London Planters of the Eastern Association. After being used sparingly by the Planters he was signed by the Jersey City Skeeters of the International League. In seven games he had an 0-1 record and quit the professional game at the end of the season.

In 1917, Burr was serving with the 31st Aero Squadron, US Air Service. He went to the flying school at Issoudun in France. From there he attended the École de Tir Aérien gunnery school at Cazaux.

On October 12, 1918, while attacking targets at the gunnery school, Lieutenant Burr’s plane collided with another at a height of 4,500 feet. Crashing into Cazaux Lake, it would be 12 days before his body was recovered.

Burr was originally interred in France at the American Expeditionary Forces Cemetery No. 29. His body was later returned to the United States and now rests at the Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Chicago.

Schenectady Gazette, December 30, 1918

Thanks to Rory Costello, who has compiled an in-depth biography of Burr as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project

Date Added: January 29, 2012 Updated December 31, 2013


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