A. J. Burnett

A. J. Burnett or Allan James Burnett

A. J. Burnett is a former American professional baseball pitcher who played for 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He started with the Florida Marlins, then the Toronto Blue Jays, followed by the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and finally the Philadelphia Phillies.

The New York Mets initially drafted him in 1995, but he made his MLB debut with the Marlins in 1999. He later joined the Blue Jays in 2006 and the Yankees in 2009. After that, he moved to the Pirates in 2012 and briefly played for the Phillies before returning to the Pirates for his final season.

A notable achievement in his career was pitching a no-hitter in 2001, despite walking 9 batters. He also led the National League in shutouts in 2002 and the American League in strikeouts in 2008. In 2009, he was part of the World Series-winning Yankees team. Additionally, he was selected for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game as well.


The New York Mets drafted Burnett in the eighth round of the 1995 MLB draft. Before the 1998 season, he was traded to the Marlins as part of a deal for Al Leiter and Ralph Milliard, as the Marlins were reorganizing their team after winning the 1997 World Series. In 1999, he got his first call to join the Marlins, even though his record in Class AA Portland wasn’t great, with 6 wins and 12 losses and an ERA of 5.52.

Major leagues

In 1999 and 2000, Burnett played for the Marlins. His first full season with them was in 2001, where he had an 11-12 record with an ERA of 4.05. A significant moment in his career came on May 12, 2001, when he pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, winning 3-0. He struck out seven batters but also walked nine. His cap and a baseball from that game are now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

In 2002, he had an impressive season with an ERA of 3.30, a 12-9 record, and 203 strikeouts. He led all major league pitchers with five complete game shutouts and had the fastest fastball among starters, averaging 94.9 miles per hour. Unfortunately, in 2003, he could only make four starts before needing Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss the rest of the season. He returned in June 2004 and made 19 starts, finishing with a 7-6 record and an ERA of 3.68. Even in his first season back from surgery in 2004, he could still throw at speeds of up to 102 miles per hour. He had a brief injury in September 2004.

In 2005, it was A. J. Burnett’s last season with the Marlins before he could become a free agent. He wanted to explore other team options rather than accepting whatever contract the Marlins offered. Although some teams were interested in him before the trade deadline in July, no trade happened.

Around the trade deadline, Burnett was pitching really well. He won seven games in a row, with the last win being on August 19 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he pitched eight scoreless innings. However, after that, he had a tough stretch, losing six games in a row, including four out of five starts with a high ERA in September. Despite this, he ended the season with a 12-12 record and a 3.44 ERA. Marlins manager Jack McKeon told Burnett he had to leave. Burnett shook hands with McKeon, picked up his stuff, and left. Later, Burnett said he was sorry for his earlier comments.

“I’ve always been a passionate person, both on and off the field. My emotions can show, and sometimes that’s a good thing, other times not so much. I hope my teammates understand my drive to win. To those I’ve upset, I truly apologize.”

Due to his departure from the team, Burnett missed out on a $50,000 bonus for falling just one inning short of pitching 210 innings that season. He also narrowly missed achieving his second 200-strikeout season. After his contract with the Marlins ended, the team’s general manager, Larry Beinfest, didn’t try to re-sign him, partly due to financial constraints and the competitive market for players like Burnett.

In 2005, Burnett had the fastest fastball among all major league starting pitchers, averaging 95.6 miles per hour.

Burnett had voiced concerns about the limited playing time for less experienced players on the team. Although it’s unclear if this influenced the decision, the manager, Jack McKeon, allowed rookie Josh Johnson to make his first major league start on September 30, 2005, instead of Burnett, who was originally scheduled for that game. After the 2005 World Series ended, Burnett became a free agent on October 27.

Toronto Blue Jays

On December 6, 2005, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Burnett for a five-year, $55 million deal.

However, the 2006 season started with a setback. Burnett went on the disabled list because of an issue with his pitching arm related to his previous Tommy John surgery. Despite this, many believed the signing was a good move because other available pitchers had less impressive career stats and fewer health risks.

He returned on April 15, 2006, but in his first start with the Blue Jays, he gave up four runs against the Chicago White Sox. His next start against the Boston Red Sox was cut short after four innings due to arm soreness, landing him on the disabled list again for over two months. Despite these challenges, he ended the 2006 season with a 10-8 record and a 3.98 ERA.

In the 2007 season, Burnett had a rough start but improved, finishing April with a 2-1 record and a 4.18 ERA. The Blue Jays faced early injuries, including losing their star closer B. J. Ryan and their Opening Day starter Roy Halladay. Despite this, Burnett was the only pitcher to make all his scheduled starts for the first two months of the season, with a 3.98 ERA during that time. He had to take two breaks on the disabled list in the 2007 season and ended the year with a 10-8 record and a 3.75 ERA.

In the 2008 season, Burnett faced early frustrations due to a finger injury he got during the offseason. His right index fingernail was partially torn when it got caught in a closing car door. In a game against the Chicago White Sox in early September, Burnett pitched well and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He gave up a hit that bounced off Scott Rolen’s glove but still secured the win. The White Sox’s pitcher, Javier Vázquez, also performed admirably but ended up with the loss.

September 24, in Burnett’s last game of the season, he faced the Yankees and had a fantastic performance. He pitched for eight innings, gave up just two runs (one earned), struck out 11, and reached an impressive total of 231 strikeouts for the season, leading the American League in this category. When he left the game at the start of the ninth inning, fans gave him a long-standing ovation, and he even came back out for a curtain call after being congratulated by his teammates. Despite his excellent performance, he didn’t get the win, and the Jays lost 6-2 in extra innings.

Overall, in the 2008 season, Burnett achieved career highs in almost every pitching statistic. He won 18 games, appeared in 35 games (starting 34), pitched 221 1/3 innings, and led the American League with 231 strikeouts. His 34 starts were also the most in the American League. He threw curveballs more frequently than any other AL starter, about 29.2% of the time. After this successful season, he had the option to leave the Blue Jays, and he chose to become a free agent.

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New York Yankees

On December 18, 2008, Burnett signed a big five-year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees.

In June 2009, during a game against the Florida Marlins, he achieved a rare feat called an “immaculate inning.” He struck out all three batters, throwing just three pitches to each, becoming the 39th pitcher in MLB history to do so.

In the 2009 postseason, he made his playoff debut with the Yankees. He didn’t get a decision in Game 2 of the Divisional Series against the Minnesota Twins and also had a no-decision in Game 2 of the Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In Game 2 of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, he earned his first postseason win by pitching seven innings, striking out nine and allowing just one run. However, in Game 5, he hit Shane Victorino, marking his fifth hit batter of the 2009 postseason. The Yankees went on to win their 27th championship by beating the Phillies in 6 games, giving Burnett his second championship ring.

In 2010, Burnett had a strong start to the season with a 6-2 record by the end of May. However, when Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland took a leave of absence in June, Burnett’s performance dipped, and he went winless during that time. He broke his winless streak once Eiland returned but lost a game to the Tampa Bay Rays after the All-Star break, injuring his hand by punching a door out of frustration. The season ended with Burnett having a 10-15 record, a 5.26 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.51, all of which were his worst career statistics.

In a game against the Colorado Rockies on June 24, 2011, Burnett accomplished a rare feat by striking out four batters in a single inning, making him the first Yankee to do so. During the 2011 American League Division Series against Detroit, the Yankees turned to Burnett to pitch Game 4. He performed well, allowing just one run despite four walks, and the Yankees won 10-1. This shifted the series to Yankee Stadium for a decisive Game 5, which the Yankees ultimately lost to the Tigers, 3-2. Burnett’s 2011 season wasn’t much better than 2010, ending with an 11-11 record, a 5.15 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.44.

Pittsburgh Pirates

In the off-season, the Yankees wanted to trade Burnett, but he blocked a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. On February 18, 2012, the Yankees agreed to trade him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two minor leaguers and agreed to pay $20 million of his remaining $33 million contract.

On March 1, 2012, Burnett was injured during batting practice when a bunt hit him in the face, requiring surgery. He began his rehab on April 6 and made his first start for the Pirates on April 21. In 2012, Burnett played a key role in the Pirates’ success, winning eight games in a row. He also became a mentor to the young pitchers. By the All-Star break, he had a 10-2 record, and the Pirates won 12 games in a row when he was the starting pitcher.

On July 31, 2012, Burnett pitched a one-hitter but missed a no-hitter by just four outs. On August 5, he was named NL Player of the Week. In September, he became the first Pirates pitcher since 1999 to win at least 15 games in a season. He finished the season with a 16-10 record, a 3.51 ERA, and 180 strikeouts.

On August 16, 2012, during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Burnett exchanged words with Hanley Ramirez, creating the slogan “Sit the F*** Down.” In 2013, Burnett tied a franchise record for opening-day strikeouts but had some injury setbacks during the season. He ended the year with a 10-11 record, a 3.30 ERA, and 209 strikeouts. After considering retirement, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, ending his time with the Pirates.

Philadelphia Phillies

On February 16, 2014, Burnett signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal included an option for the 2015 season and some restrictions on trades. However, on April 27, 2014, he was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. He tried to avoid surgery by getting a cortisone shot but ended the season with an 8-18 record and a 4.59 ERA. He led the Major Leagues in both walks issued and losses. On November 3, 2014, Burnett declined his $12.75 million player option, making him a free agent. This came after both he and the Phillies declined the mutual option for $15 million.

Return to Pittsburgh

On November 14, 2014, Burnett signed a one-year, $8.5 million contract to go back to the Pirates. He also declared that the 2015 season would be his last. He was chosen for the All-Star team on July 6, 2015. In a game against the Cardinals on July 11, Burnett even hit a home run, which was his fourth in total. However, on July 31, he was put on the 15-day disabled list due to elbow inflammation, and he returned to the active roster on September 10.

In September 2015, when Burnett made his first start in Pittsburgh since his injury in July, something special happened. A Bat-Signal appeared in the sky above PNC Park, and in various locations downtown. Burnett, a fan of Batman, said it was the coolest thing that happened in his career.

Pitching style

Burnett used four main pitches:

  1. Four-seam fastball and sinker (91-94 mph).
  2. Knuckle curveball (80-83 mph).
  3. Changeup (87-89 mph), mainly for left-handed hitters.

His curveball was particularly effective for getting swinging strikes (44% whiff rate), while his changeup was good at inducing groundouts (over a 5:1 ground ball/fly ball ratio). However, Burnett struggled with control issues throughout his career. He led the majors in wild pitches twice and hit batters once. Despite this, he was a strong strikeout pitcher, leading the American League with 231 strikeouts in 2008.

Burnett also had 33 fielding errors as of August 2012, making him the active leader in fielding errors by a pitcher.

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Burnett went to Central Arkansas Christian Schools and was raised Catholic. His off-season home is in Monkton, Maryland.

He got his first tattoo while in the minors, a drawing of his pitching motion on his left calf, and has other tattoos, including an Aztec symbol on his right leg and an image of Bruce Lee on his left triceps he also had nipple rings early in his career. He named his bats after Marilyn Manson’s songs. Burnett and his wife, Karen, have two children, Ashton and A. J. Jr. There were reports of their divorce in December 2010, which Burnett denied.

In April 2020, he collaborated with Pittsburgh Clothing Company to create shirts promoting social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shirts read “Stay The F*** Home,” a reference to his famous slogan from 2012, encouraging people to self-quarantine to prevent the virus’s spread.

A.J. Burnett had several accomplishments and highlights in his baseball career, including:

  1. No-Hitter: Burnett pitched a no-hitter on May 12, 2001, while playing for the Florida Marlins. This remarkable achievement saw him striking out seven batters despite walking nine, leading his team to a 3-0 victory against the San Diego Padres.
  2. Strikeout Leader: In 2008, while with the Toronto Blue Jays, Burnett led the American League (AL) in strikeouts with 231, which was a significant accomplishment in his career.
  3. World Series Champion: Burnett was a member of the 2009 New York Yankees team that won the World Series, marking his first and only championship in the Major League Baseball.
  4. All-Star Selection: Burnett was selected to the MLB All-Star Game in 2015, representing the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  5. Immaculate Inning: In June 2009, Burnett pitched an immaculate inning, striking out all three batters he faced on just nine pitches, a rare feat in baseball.
  6. Key Role with Pittsburgh Pirates: During his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Burnett played a vital role in their success, achieving impressive records and contributing to the team’s performance.
  7. Mentorship: Burnett was known for being a mentor to young pitchers, particularly during his time with the Pirates, where he helped groom the team’s young pitching staff.

While Burnett had a successful and accomplished career, it’s worth noting that he also faced challenges, including injuries and control issues, which impacted his overall statistics. However, his achievements in the sport have solidified his place in MLB history.


American – Baseball player

A. J. Burnett, whose full name is Allan James Burnett, is a former professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was born on January 3, 1977, in North Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. Burnett had a successful career in the MLB, pitching for several teams during his time in the league. Throughout his career, Burnett played for the Florida Marlins (1999-2005), the Toronto Blue Jays (2006-2008), the New York Yankees (2009-2011), the Pittsburgh Pirates (2012-2013), and he made a brief return to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014 before retiring. He was known for his strong fastball and his ability to strike out batters.


Allan James Burnett

Baseball player

January 3, 1977

Age (46)

January 3, 1977

Age (46)

Allan James Burnett

Baseball player