Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#416 Jim Brewer

#416 Jim Brewer
There's something really simple and appealing about the plain blue "Los Angeles" script on Jim Brewer's road jersey.

Fun facts about Jim Brewer:

-Jim was born in Merced, CA and attended high school in Oklahoma before signing with the Cubs in 1956.

-He debuted with the Cubs in July 1960 at age 22, but was put out of commission in his fifth game. After a brushback pitch to Cincinnati's Billy Martin, the short-tempered infielder threw his bat at the rookie. When Brewer attempted to calmly hand Martin the bat, Billy punched him in the eye, breaking his cheekbone and hospitalizing him for two months. Jim pressed charges, and Martin was finally ordered to pay his victim several thousand dollars in damages in 1969.

-After struggling in four seasons in Chicago, a trade to the Dodgers invigorated Brewer. He quickly became an ace reliever, relying on a screwball to baffle right-handed hitters. In 1964, he had a 3.00 ERA in 93 innings in his initial season in L.A. His rate of 7.6 hits allowed per nine innings would actually be his worst mark in 11 full seasons with the team.

-Jim pitched once in each of three separate World Series with the Dodgers (1965, 1966, 1974), allowing one run in three and one-third innings.

-Led the Dodgers in saves for six consecutive years (1968-1973), averaging 7 wins and nearly 20 saves a season in that span.

-On September 16, 1969, he earned wins in both ends of a doubleheader by throwing a combined five innings of shutout ball against the Reds. He allowed only two hits and struck out five.

-He was at his best in 1972, going 8-7 with a miniscule 1.26 ERA, 17 saves, and 41 hits allowed in 78.1 innings (4.7 H/9 IP).

-In a true display of hindsight being 20/20, Jim was named to his only N.L. All Star team in 1973, a good enough season (6-8, 3.01 ERA, 20 SV) that was dwarfed by his superlative effort in the previous year.

-He spent the final year and a half of his career with the Angels, retiring in 1976 with a 69-65 record, 3.07 ERA, and 132 saves in parts of 17 seasons. His career hits-per-nine innings-pitched ratio of 7.7 is still 62nd-best all-time.

-Brewer got into coaching after hanging up his spikes, spending three years as the Expos' pitching coach followed by eight years at Oral Roberts University. In 1987, he coached in the Dodgers farm system. In November of that year, he was killed in a head-on car crash in Tyler, TX the day before his 50th birthday.
#416 Jim Brewer (back)


  1. Dang, Martin sure got in a lot of trouble.

  2. I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but I have a lot of relatives named Brewer in the Bartlesville, Broken Arrow and Tulsa area. I need to look into if I might be related to that guy.

  3. MattR - And not all of it could be blamed on his extraordinary alcoholic intake.

    Jeremy - Hey, you never know!