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A Giant in D.C.'s Baseball Community

Emmanuel Burriss is the first D.C. public school grad to reach the majors since '81.
Emmanuel Burriss is the first D.C. public school grad to reach the majors since '81. (By Luis M. Alvarez -- Associated Press)
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Emmanuel Burriss took a look around Nationals Park and gasped. He was in the major leagues, and he's at home.

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Burriss, 23, made his major league debut April 20 for the Giants, and it was a big deal for Washington. Burriss, a 2003 Wilson High graduate, is the first D.C. Public Schools graduate to play in the major leagues since 1981.

Burriss wasn't in the starting lineup for last night's game with the Nationals, but his manager, B ruce Bochy, promised that he'd get at least one start in the Giants' four-game series here. Burriss did enter the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement at shortstop, and he singled in his only at-bat.

"It felt really great to be able to drive through the city I grew up in. It's changed a lot. I really didn't recognize it," Burriss said before the game. "They did a really great job with the stadium."

When Burriss grew up here, there wasn't any big league baseball, and while many of his friends played football or basketball, it was always baseball for him. He is one of a dwindling number of black players in the majors, and he said that once he becomes more established, he'd like to encourage young African Americans to play baseball.

"I want to get myself settled so that I can make a bigger impact and hopefully rebuild the African American community when it comes to major league baseball," Burriss said.

Burriss, a switch hitter who plays both shortstop and second base, is batting .265 with six RBI in 31 games.

He estimated he reserved about 100 tickets for family and friends for last night's game.

"Hopefully, the city will get involved, and they'll start cheering for me, too," Burriss said.

-- From News Services


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