Today in Tribe History: January 7, 1978

Former American League Most Valuable Player George Burns passes away at the age of 84.

“Tioga George” was born on January 31, 1893, in Niles, Ohio. He made his pro debut with the Detroit Tigers in 1914 and spent four years with the club until he moved on the Philadelphia A’s organization. He was purchased in May of 1920 by the Cleveland Indians for $10,000 and hit .268 in 44 regular season games and .300 in the victorious trip to the World Series. After batting .361 in 84 games in 1921, the first baseman was traded to the Boston Red Sox in a four-player swap.

Exactly 54 years before his death, he was traded back to the Indians in a seven-player deal, as the club also acquired Chick Fewster and Roxy Walters in exchange for Danny Boone, Joe Connolly, Steve O’Neill, and Bill Wambsganss. The move would pay off, as Burns would hit .310 in 1924, .336 in 1925, and .358 in his AL MVP winning 1926 season, when he led the league with both 216 hits and 64 doubles while driving in a career-high 115 runs. It was the first of the three MVP awards won in Indians history (Lou Boudreau, 1948; Al Rosen, 1953).

By 1930, he was back in the minor leagues, where he worked as both a first baseman and manager in the Texas League and in several stops in the Pacific Coast League.

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