Unlike many veterans who simply fade away, Burrell went out on top. His key hits in the playoffs and World Series will long be remembered by fans of this era, especially if the Phils take another 28 years to return to the top. His place of honor at the head of the parade down Broad Street, a reward and send-off, will also remain vivid to those fans and Burrell himself.
His was an odd tenure in Philadelphia, in large measure because the fans never really knew him. He kept his own counsel, at least where public utterances were concerned. The image that will endure is of Burrell taking a called third strike, staring blankly straight across the plate, gripping the end of his bat tightly and walking grim-faced back to the dugout without so much as a glance back at the umpire let alone a few chosen words. Another snapshot in this modest album shows Burrell with his arms extended, right knee dropping nearly to the ground as he lets loose that slight uppercut swing in lining a key home run to left field. A final sequence, one we got to see rather more often in what he, too, probably knew was his last season with this group of guys was of Burrell, arms and elbows hanging over the dugout railing, reacting to a key hit, stepping back, clapping his hands, grinning widely and moving down the rail to greet his triumphant teammate.
In those final months it appeared Burrell was content. The years of ups and downs and, of course, the boos and cheers, had surely taken some toll on him but if they did it was hard to tell. Throughout it all, he remained a guarded, private man. On those few occasions when he spoke to the media he seemed earger to end the conversation quickly. To his credit, he didn't complain and he certainly didn't air his grievances, if any, in public. When Charlie would remove him late in the game for defensive purposes, he stayed at the dugout railing, cheering on his teammates. He didn't like to come out of the games, and he disliked his occasional forced days off even more.
He was subject to awful slumps that lasted weeks if not months. He would begin the season on a torrid pace only to cool off as the temperatures climbed. Somehow he'd find his stroke, if only for a few key games, as the season would wind down.
In the end, he said he wanted to stay here but understood that probably would not happen. In all likelihood, he will land a job somewhere else and, should he come back to Philadelphia and hang over the railing in the visitor's dugout, it will take some getting used to him in some other uniform. But he made a lasting impression in this town and whatever else one might say, that takes some doing.