Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Friday, June 4, 2010

1976 Topps #459 - Jim Brewer

  • Jim Brewer had a long career, pitching from 1960-1976. He was at the end of the line when this card came out. Brewer was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1956. He pitched in the minors from 1956-1960. Jim was promoted to the Cubs after going 8-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 18 starts for AAA Houston. Brewer only pitched in five games for the Cubs (0-3, 5.82 ERA) in 1960 due to the incident described in the next paragraph.
  • Brewer had a famous (or infamous) fight with Billy Martin during his rookie season.
    • Wikipedia entry: "Brewer was involved in an infamous on-field altercation with Billy Martin on August 4, 1960. Brewer, then with the Cubs, brushed back Martin, then with the Cincinnati Reds, with a pitch in the second inning of a game at Wrigley Field. Martin threw his bat at Brewer, who picked it up and started to hand it to Martin as Martin approached. Martin punched Brewer in the right eye, breaking his cheekbone. Brewer was hospitalized for two months, and Martin served a five-day suspension. The Cubs sued Martin for $1 million for the loss of Brewer's services, but later dropped their case. Brewer, however, pursued his, and in 1969 a judge ordered Martin to pay $10,000 in damages. When informed of the judgment by the press, Billy asked sarcastically, "How do they want it? Cash or check?"
  • Jim was a swingman for the Cubs in 1961. He went 1-7 with an ERA of 5.82 in 36 games (11 starts). Brewer spent most of the 1962 season in the minors -- he had a short stint with the Cubs in May and another short stint in September. Brewer was 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in six games in 1962.
  • Brewer did better in 1963 but his stats weren't exactly eye-popping. He pitched in 29 games (1 start) and was 3-2 with a 4.89 ERA. After the 1963 season Jim was traded with Cuno Barragan to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Dick Scott.
  • Brewer became a valuable part of the Dodger bullpen for many years. Jim took the advice of Warren Spahn and developed a screwball. The new pitch paid dividends as  Brewer was 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 34 games (5 starts) in 1964. Jim had injury problems in 1965 -- he didn't pitch until late April and also missed almost a month in June/July. Brewer pitched well when he could go out there -- in 19 games (2 starts) he was 3-2 with a 1.82 ERA. Jim pitched two shutout innings in a mop-up role in game 1 of the 1965 World Series.
  • Jim also had injury problems in 1966. He didn't appear in a game until May 20 and he had two month-long absences during the season. Brewer 0-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 13 games in 1966. Jim pitched a scoreless 9th inning in game 2 of the 1966 World Series.
  • Brewer appeared in 30 games (11 starts) in 1967. It would be the last season in which he would start a game. Jim was 5-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 1967. Brewer became a closer (or at least what was defined as a closer at the time) in 1968. He had six straight seasons of 14 or more saves from 1968-1973. In 1968 Jim was 8-3 with 14 saves and a 2.49 ERA in 54 games.
  • In 1969 Brewer was 7-6 with 20 saves and a 2.55 ERA. He was 7-6 with 24 saves and a 3.13 ERA in 1970. Jim had a good season as a reliever in 1971 -- he was 6-5 with 22 saves and a 1.88 ERA. Jim had a microscopic 1.26 ERA in 1972 while going 8-7 with 17 saves.
  • Brewer made the NL All Star team in 1973 and earned the save by pitching a scoreless 9th inning. He was 6-8 with 20 saves and a 3.01 ERA in '73.
  • In 1974 Jim became a set-up man due to the presence of Mike Marshall and his 106 appearances. He missed two months from mid-July to mid-September. Brewer was 4-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 24 appearences in 1974. He wasn't used in the NLCS, but he pitched 1/3 of an inning  in game 3 (he struck out Sal Bando to end the fourth inning of a 3-2 Dodger loss).
  • Brewer didn't pitch well for the Dodgers in 1975. He was 3-1 with a 5.18 ERA in 21 games when he was traded to the California Angels for Dave Sells on July 15. Jim pitched much better for the Angels -- in 21 games he was 1-0 with five saves and a 1.82 ERA.
  • The 1976 season was Jim's last one in the majors. He was 3-1 with two saves and a 2.70 ERA in 13 games when he retired in late May.
  • Jim died of injuries sustained in a car accident on November 16, 1987 -- one day before his 50th birthday. Jim's son Mark is a pitching coach in the minor leagues.
  • Liked to face: Clay Dalrymple (.000 in 14 AB); Ken Henderson/Jim Beauchamp (.067 in 15 AB); Tim McCarver (.095 in 21 AB)
  • Hated to face: Tommie Agee (.533 in 15 AB); Don Demeter (.545 in 11 AB); Lou Brock (.406 in 32 AB)

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