Baseball Victoria is thrilled to share that Waverley Wildcats Baseball Catcher and Aces Academy player Chris Burke has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies MLB organisation earlier this month.
Burke has once again proved that a pathway from junior baseball in Victoria can realise a dream all the way to the top. Seasons 2018 and 2019 have really put Burke on the professional radar, having won the Alf Mann Junior Club Champion award at Waverley Baseball Club for the past two years. He also represented Victoria Blue in the National Championships in Sydney at the Under 16 and 18 level, while also winning an Under 18 club championship with Waverley last summer.
Burke is proof that the baseball pathway in Victoria can help athletes achieve amazing things. “It shows kids that it’s a reality, like I’m living proof that it can happen,” Burke said. “Baseball is such a tough game as it is, and the fact is you push through and whenever good things happen you take them and don’t take them for granted. I’m proof it can happen and am very grateful for the opportunity the Phillies have given me.”
One of the biggest highlights for Burke in the past two years is undoubtedly being a part of the MLB World Select Team at the Arizona Fall Classic last October. “I’ve been blessed to be able to have all the opportunities that Baseball Victoria has given me, and especially the Melbourne Aces. Being such a young kid and hanging around that program has really boosted my confidence and my game (has gone) right through the roof. “
Baseball Victoria Talent Development Manager Damian Shanahan says Burke’s hard work to continually improve himself has been one of his greatest assets. “Chris’s consistent commitment to the process of improving has no doubt played a big part in getting him to where he is now,” Shanahan said. “I believe he has been in the Baseball Victoria/ Melbourne Aces system now for around 5 years and from an early age he showed the qualities of being a young man who knew what he wanted in life. I have no doubt whatever Chris wants out of Baseball he will get. “
Baseball is a part of Burke’s DNA, as his dad Neil is a former national representative and current scout for the Kansas City Royals and his brother Justin is also a former underage National Rep. “Baseball runs in my blood I guess,” Burke said. “Dad has been my biggest role model. He started playing Baseball when he was a young kid and has been working and scouting for over 30 years, and that’s how I got into it. I would always see dad working and hanging around such a cool game, at the clubhouse, and I thought that’s something I’d like to try and do and get the opportunity to go down that path in baseball.“
Burke will soon be moving to the states where he’ll start the long yet worthwhile climb up the professional career ladder. “It’ll be the big grind, I’ll see what I can do and try to do the Aussies proud,” Burke said.