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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blow Out the Candles October 14

7 time All-Star Al Oliver is celebrating his 66th birthday today.
 1974 Topps #52

Career statistics
Batting average .303
Hits 2,743
Home runs 219
Runs batted in 1,326
Career highlights and awards
7× All-Star (1972, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982,1983)
World Series champion (1971)
3× Silver Slugger Award winner (1980, 1981, 1982)
1982 NL batting title

St. Louis Cardinals pitching great Harry "The Cat" Brecheen was born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on this date in 1914.
Career statistics
Win–loss record 133–92
Earned run average 2.92
Strikeouts 901
Career highlights and awards
2× All-Star (1947, 1948)
3× World Series champion (1944, 1946, 1966)

Harry's obituary from the New York Times:

Harry Brecheen, 89, Pitcher With 3 Victories in '46 Series
Published: January 20, 2004

He became the first left-hander to gain three victories in a single World Series; eight right-handers had done it before him.Harry Brecheen, an All-Star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who won three games in their 1946 World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox, died Saturday at a nursing facility in Bethany, Okla. He was 89.
Brecheen, who lived in Ada, Okla., had been in failing health and broke a hip last month, his son, Steven, said.
A slender left-hander known as the Cat because of his quickness in pouncing on bunts, Brecheen pitched 11 seasons for the Cardinals and a final season for the St. Louis Browns. Using a screwball as his primary pitch and relying on outstanding control, he had a career record of 133-92 and an earned run average of 2.92.
Brecheen (pronounced Bra-KEEN) finished off the Cardinals' victory in their pennant-playoff series against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946 by striking out two batters with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of Game 2 as a reliever.
In the World Series against the Red Sox, he pitched complete games in Game 2, a 3-0 triumph, and in Game 6, a 4-1 victory. Then, on one day's rest, he pitched the final two innings in Game 7, earning the victory on Enos Slaughter's ''mad dash'' home from first base on a hit to short left-center field in the eighth inning.
Brecheen had been fatigued while warming up in the bullpen at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis in Game 7.
''You're going to rest all winter, who cares?'' he told The Tulsa World in 2001. ''Tired arm? You're playing for all the marbles, you don't just say, 'I'm tired, I can't pitch.' ''
Growing up in Ada, Brecheen watched two fellow Oklahomans, the future Hall of Fame outfielders Paul and Lloyd Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing in postseason exhibition games. But his idol was Carl Hubbell, who grew up in Oklahoma and became the Hall of Fame master of the screwball while pitching for the New York Giants.
In his first full major league season, Brecheen pitched for the Cardinals team that won the 1943 pennant, then lost to the Yankees in the World Series. He was 16-5 for the Cardinals' 1944 pennant winners, and he pitched a complete-game victory over the Browns in the World Series, which the Cardinals won in six games.
Brecheen's best season was 1948, when he had a 20-7 record and led the National League in E.R.A. (2.24), shutouts (7) and strikeouts (149). He was an All-Star in 1947 and 1948.
He served as pitching coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 1954 to 1967. The Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in 1966, when they featured a superb pitching staff led by Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Steve Barber and Wally Bunker.
In addition to his son, Brecheen is survived by three grandchildren.
 His wife, Vera, died in 1997.

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