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Thread: The Road Back: The Al Brazle Story

  1. #1

    The Road Back: The Al Brazle Story

    Alpha Eugene Brazle seemed destined to have a storybook career. When the Cardinals drafted Brazle with the 7th overall pick in 1937 from Little Rock in the Southern Association, they envisioned him to be one of the final pieces of the puzzle that would help them return to October baseball. The following year the young lefthander made his Major league debut as an early-season call-up. It was apparent that these big-league sluggers were of a different caliber than those he faced in Chattanooga or Knoxville. Still, the rookie held his own going 12-11 and even getting his first taste of playoff baseball. Despite a hefty ERA, he showed hope for the future.
    Over the next three seasons, Brazle was a staple in the Redbirds starting five, but despite stretches of prominence (a 6-0 start in 1940), he could never quite find his footing. After a tough start to the 1942 season, the Cardinals moved Brazle to the bullpen. He would stay there for the remainder of the season as well as the entirety of the 1943 season. During his time in the bullpen, Brazle compiled 52 saves with an ERA of 4.98. In the following offseason, the Cardinals management faced a dilemma. And with emerging pitching prospects waiting in the wings, they made the unenviable decision to cut the 28-year-old southpaw.
    Fast forward 11 years, and the Senators were struggling to patch together a pitching staff for the upcoming 1955 season. With limited funds and a group of hurlers primarily comprised of young starters or unproven relievers, Washington began to canvass for someone with experience who could shepherd their bullpen, eat innings, and do it for cheap. Exploring the big players that were between teams ended fruitlessly. Anyone of quality knew their worth, and the Washington ballclub knew they couldn't pay it. So, the Senators searched the independent leagues and found a familiar face.
    Most fans had lost track of Brazle in the past decade. He had continued to play the game after his time in the majors, and he had played quite well, amassing 115 minor league victories against teams often much better than his own. But now he was in the twilight of his career and coming off three consecutive 17 loss seasons. Yes, he had had some mound troubles, but the price was right, so Washington bought his rights.
    He made his debut when he was called out of the bullpen the next night in front of 49,000 Senator fans. This made him the oldest player in the Majors this year at 41. So far this season in 26.2 Major League innings Brazle has compiled a 1.35 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Will these numbers continue throughout the season? Probably not. Will Brazle make the Hall of Fame or even the all-star game? Of course not. But what more can an old warhorse ask for than to gallop off once more into the sunset?

    Inspired by ninthgate and the David Wendling Story

  2. #2

    Re: The Road Back: The Al Brazle Story

    Nice back story!

    The funny thing is that I was checking out the Sen's roster a few days ago and spied Brazle. He struck me as future A's material. ;-P

  3. #3

    Re: The Road Back: The Al Brazle Story

    Great story!
    2ML 1906, 1928, 1931, 1968, 1990, 1991, 1995
    BD 1993,1994, 2004, 2041, 2044, 2064, 2065
    CBF 2056, 2060, 2071, 2075, 2087, 2088, 2092, 2105,2106,2116
    CWS 1953, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1984
    HR 1903, 1906, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1934, 1943, 1950, 1953
    CarL 2026, 2039, 2055
    71-55 WS


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