© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
09/23/08 2:30 PM ET
Where are they now? Dave Burba
Former Indians right-hander ready to get back into game
By Andrew Gribble / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Dave Burba didn't have a 98-mph fastball nor the pinpoint control or a pitcher like Greg Maddux. Nevertheless, he made it work for 15 seasons with six different teams, notching far-from-shabby results, before he faded away in 2005. So, perhaps, a little time away from the game was in order for the 42-year-old Burba, who now has all the time he wants with the wife and three kids he saw so little of while toiling in the big leagues. "Actually, it's not," Burba said. "I'm actually bored." Burba, who resides in Gilbert, Ariz., doesn't beat around the bush: He's itching to get back in the game. Not as a player, of course, but Burba said he is open to anything. Well, not everything. Burba said he was recently offered a coaching job with a low Class A team, but couldn't do it because it would have kept him too far from his 14-year-old daughter, Beth, and his two younger sons, Dylan and Dawson. But the fire is still burning. "To this day, I miss it," said Burba, who recently finished filming his acting debut in an upcoming movie and is in the process of earning his insurance license. "I loved it. I wished I could still do it, but I don't lose sleep over it or anything. I had fun with it." Burba's still having fun. He's one of the coaches on Dylan's Little League team.
"Half of them don't know who I am," Burba joked, "just like most people in America."
But Burba is still remembered in Cleveland, where he spent four of the best seasons of his career from 1998-2001. Acquired for Sean Casey, Burba collected 57 wins with the Indians -- one coming when he returned briefly in 2002 -- near the end of an era where Progressive Field -- then Jacobs Field -- was packed for every game.
"We sold out every night," Burba said, "so going to the park was actually a thrill."
When he was with the Tribe, Burba was asked to take young, unpolished fireballer CC Sabathia under his wing. The two still remain close, as Sabathia continues to practice one of the most important things Burba taught him.
"That's my Dave Burba approach," Sabathia joked after one of his tougher efforts since arriving with the Brewers. "If you don't have it, fake it."
Burba's not faking about getting back into the game. Whether Burba comes back as a coach, radio announcer, or TV color commentator, the question is no longer "if" he will return to baseball, but "when."
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.