February 4, 2007 19:00
PBA Commissioner and CEO Fred Schreyer announced today former Major League Baseball All-Star John Burkett has been awarded the Commissioner’s Exemption for the 2007 GEICO Classic, Feb. 7-11, at AMF Irving Lanes in Irving, Texas. The live ESPN televised finals will take place Sunday, Feb. 11 at 12:30 p.m. EST.
Burkett (Southlake, Texas), a PBA member since 2005, spent four seasons during his 15-year Major League career with the Texas Rangers. He began his career with the San Francisco Giants, where he spent six seasons and compiled a 67-42 record. He had a career year in 1993 when he went 22-7 with a 3.65 earned run average and earned the first of his two National League All-Star selections. Burkett earned his second All-Star game nod in 2001 when he pitched for the Atlanta Braves.
All told, Burkett finished his career with a 166-136 record, a 4.31 ERA and 1,766 strikeouts with five teams – the San Francisco Giants, Florida Marlins, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox.
“I’m really excited. I’ve always watched the PBA since I was a kid. Playing baseball was a dream of mine and bowling was too so every time I get to live out that dream it’s exciting,” said Burkett, 42, whose first job came as a pinsetter in a duckpin bowling center. “I want to win. I have a ton of respect for those guys but I have a lot of confidence in my ability. I’ll take it one step at a time and try to get to match play first. I’m just going to try and bowl the best I can, but I have high expectations for myself.”
Nicknamed “The Bowler” during his career because of his pitching stance which resembled that of a bowler’s, Burkett has competed in a handful of Denny’s PBA Tour events. He cashed in the 2002 Brunswick ProSource Don Carter Classic in Dallas, Texas, finishing 32nd with a 217.00 average, and finished 185th out of 590 bowlers in the 2004 Masters.
“John is a very well respected and talented bowler. His past performances alongside the greatest bowlers in the world speak for themselves,” Schreyer said. “We look forward to seeing him back out there competing and hopefully having a successful performance.”
The 2007 GEICO Classic begins Wednesday, Feb. 7 with the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round at 9:30 a.m. CST. The Round of 64, where Burkett will see his first action, takes place Thursday, Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. The top 32 following 14 games of qualifying will advance to match play Friday beginning at 9 a.m.
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