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Ernest Burke

Died: Jan. 31, 2004 in Baltimore, Md.

Ernest Burke, a pitcher and outfielder for Baltimore elite Giants of the Negro Leagues, died on Jan. 31, 2004, from complications of kidney cancer. He was 79.

Burke, one of the first black Marines to serve in World War II, played for the Elite Giants for four seasons. He later played in the Canadian Provincial League and, according to his obituary, hit .308 in two seasons there.

After his baseball career, he worked as a heavy-equipment operator for 30 years until his retirement in the 1980s. After that, he worked as a tennis instructor.