“I’ve always appreciated the fans in Somerset as those were the best years of my playing career,” Burke said. “Our core group of players truly enjoyed playing for each other and winning two championships was the highlight of our great run together.”
Burke was voted to the team honoring the best players of the decade by fans over Carlos Guzman and Jesse Hoorelbeke. The first baseman voting was the closest of all the positions, decided by just 1% between Burke and Guzman.
Burke joined the Patriots late in 2008 and was part of the back-to-back championship teams before the turn of the decade to 2010.
In 2010 and 2011, Burke stood out as one of the best defensive first basemen in the Atlantic League with a .995 fielding percentage. He had just seven errors in 1,368 chances during that time.
Burke contributed offensively as well with his .278 average, 83 runs scored, 166 hits, 22 doubles, 13 home runs, 82 RBI and 32 stolen bases in 187 games played.
“Joe Burke holds a special place in my heart and always will,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie, who served as the team’s Pitching Coach and Director of Player Personnel at the time. “He was a much better player than his numbers showed and an even better person and teammate. Joe was a guy you wanted up to bat in a pressure situation. He thrived on that. He was unmatched defensively at first base and had the ability to play other positions as needed also. He was an extremely smart player and his character was off the charts. I can honestly say he was the total package. It was an honor and privilege to work alongside him.”
Voting took place online and over 5,000 fans casted their ballots for their favorite players at each position from January 3rd through April 15th. The Somerset Patriots All-Decade Team will be announced over the next few weeks.