Sunday, April 25, 2010

#242 George Brunet

#242 George Brunet
George Brunet looks like a guy that knew how to have fun. With his sweat-slicked hair (complete with cowlick), sideways leer, and whatever that is that's sticking out from his jersey (a wayward shirt tag?), this might be the most visually intriguing portrait in this set.

Fun facts about George Brunet:

-Born in Houghton, MI, way up at the tip of the Upper Peninsula, George began pitching professionally in independent ball in 1953. He was 18 at the time. Two years later, he signed with the Athletics.

-While pitching for AA Little Rock in 1957, he was a bit lacking in run support. From June 21 to August 3, his teammates failed to score a single run while he was on the mound: a 52 and 1/3 inning drought. He lost eight straight starts but led the league in strikeouts with 235.

-Brunet debuted with the A's in 1956, but did not exceed 60 innings in a major league season until 1965. By that time, he was with the Angels, his fifth team of nine total.

-He was a decent starter for the Halos for four and a half seasons, compiling a 3.13 ERA (peaking at 2.56 in 1965) yet twice leading the league in losses.

-While with the Seattle Pilots in 1969, George alleged told teammate Jim Bouton that he never wore underwear because he didn't want to have to worry about losing it.

-He last pitched in the bigs in 1971 with the Cardinals. In parts of 15 seasons, he won 69 games and lost 93 with a 3.62 ERA.

-The lefthander returned to the minors from 1971-1973, wrapping up a minor league career in which he appeared for 16 different clubs in 15 seasons. He is believed to hold the minor league record with 3,175 strikeouts.

-At age 38, George moved to Mexico and began pitching for the club in Coza Rica. He plied his trade in the Mexican League all the way up to 1989, when he was 54 years old! He holds the Mexican League record with 55 shutouts, and he played professionally for 37 years, which it's safe to say is another record.

-George stayed in Coza Rica to teach the game to others, right up until a heart attack ended his life in 1991.

-In 1999, Brunet was posthumously elected to the Salon de la Fama, the Mexican baseball Hall of Fame.
#242 George Brunet (back)


  1. i agree, and he must have had some great stories from both on and off the field considering his wayward journey in baseball...kevin i thought houghton was in the lower...

  2. I had forgotten about him pitching briefly (pun intended) for the O's.

  3. Always loved this card. There were some real characters on the Angels at that time (Jimmy Piersall, Bo Belinsky, George Brunet...).

  4. Matt - You've got that right. I can't imagine liking any job enough to keep at it for 37 years!

    Anon - According to Wikipedia (I know), it's in the U.P.

    Bob - *rim shot*

    Doug - Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the Angel clubhouse in 1965...

  5. Houghton is definitely in the upper. Houghton Lake is lower. Growing up, my dad lived next door to him in the tiny town/village/settlement/blink-and-you'll-miss-it of New Allouez, MI.

    There was a fun article at another site called something like An Interview With George Brunet's Left Arm.

  6. What I remember about Brunet is from "Ball Four" where Jim Bouton quotes his as saying he didn't wear underwear because the only reason you need it is in case of an accident.

    Not many characters like this around anymore.

  7. Brunet's look totally says "how you doin'?"

    ...and I would be a little uncomfortable knowing that all that was between the pitcher and me was a thin layer of flannel.

  8. I played with and for George in Poza Rica(notCoza Rica) Mexico. He was player manager in 1977. George loved his Presidente brandy. He might be the biggest character I ever had the plesure of being around. George would go thru walls for his teammates, if you bunted on him and made him leave the mound,the next time up, you better be loosebecause he would keep throwing at you till he got you.

  9. When he pitched for the Angels, he was a neighbor of mine. I was a kid at the time and his son Jeff was a friend of mine. George was very kind to all of us neighborhood kids even giving one of his baseball gloves that he was currently using to a left-handed kid on our block. I was always struck by his good humor and kindness to all of us kids.
    A character yes! The "brewmaster" was a lot of fun and a great guy and a much better pitcher than his record showed!

  10. Great hair do, no? Here's some more bad hair from the '60s: