Friday, January 10, 2014

Harry "the cat" Brecheen

With a blog name like 'The Prowling Cat' its only natural that this blog pays tribute to players who have cat nicknames. Until today the count was at two with those players being Don 'Tiger' Kaiser, and Andres 'Big Cat' Galarraga. Today the list grows to three as Harry "the cat" Brecheen joins the pride.

(card from internet search)

Born in Broken Bow. Oklahoma. Harry got his nickname of 'the cat' from his defensive ability. Harry spent his entire MLB career with St. Louis teams after being acquired in 1938. The lefty wouldn't make his first start with the St. Louis Cardinals until 1943. With a career 2.92 ERA, and a 133-92 it was the World Series when Harry would really shine. Playing in the 1944 World Series, and pitching in game four. Harry would win what was his only game by pitching a complete game, and only giving up one run. Eventually his team the Cardinals would beat their  same town rivals the St. Louis Browns 4 games to 2.

Two years later a return to the series came again. This time the team opposite the Cardinals were the Boston Red Sox. Brecheen would dominate the series by becoming the first lefty to win three games in a World Series. Even more impressive was how he did it. Both starts ended in complete games with game two being a 3-0 shutout. Game 6 would end with the Cardinals winning again 4-1. Still not finished Brecheen would appear in the deciding game 7, and get the win. Closing out the series Harry would end with a 0.45 ERA, and a 3-0 record in 20 innings. When he was done Brecheen owned the World Series career ERA record of 0.83 until 1976 when it was broken by Jack Billingham who would end his career with a 0.30 ERA.

The 1946 series would be his last as the Cardinals never appeared again while Brecheen wore a Cardinals uniform. Becoming a St. Louis Brown for the 1953 season as a player coach. Brecheen would go 5-13 before retiring at seasons end. Becoming a pitching coach from 1954 until 1967 for the Browns franchise. Even when the team moved from St. Louis to Baltimore, and became the Orioles. Sadly Mr. Brecheen passed away January 17, 2004 at the age of 89. 

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