Thursday, October 1, 2009

1976 Topps #223 - Ollie Brown

  • Ollie Brown played for six teams from 1965-1977 and was well known for his strong throwing arm. His older brother Willie was a football star for USC and played in the NFL.
  • Brown was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1962. He was an outfielder but he didn't hit real well in his first couple of years. Ollie tried his hand at pitching and pitched a no-hitter in 1963. But the experiment lasted only a year and then Brown went back to the outfield. Ollie earned a promotion to the Giants after batting .293 with 27 homers for AAA Tacoma in 1965. Brown appeared in six games for the Giants at the end of the 1965 season.
  • Ollie started the 1966 season with the Giants as their starting right fielder. He didn't hit real well and was sent to AAA Phoenix in late June. Brown spent a month in Phoenix and batted .343. He came back to San Francisco in late July and ended up batting .233 with seven home runs in 115 games.
  • In 1967 Brown again was the starting right fielder. He batted .267 with 13 homers and 53 RBI in 120 games. Here is a March 1967 Baseball Digest article speculating whether or not Brown would be the "next great Giant." Ollie started the 1968 season with the Giants but didn't play much and was sent back to Phoenix from late June to mid September. He ended up batting .232 in 40 games for the Giants.
  • The San Diego Padres drafted Brown in the expansion draft after the 1968 season. He was the first player they drafted. Ollie became the starting RF and batted .264 with 20 HR and 61 RBI in 151 games. In 1970 Brown had his best year---he batted .292 with 34 doubles, 23 HR and 89 RBI.
  • Ollie's production dropped off in 1971. He batted .273, but had fewer than half as many doubles, home runs, and runs scored. In 1972 Brown played for three different teams. He started with the Padres (.171 in 70 AB). On May 17 Brown was traded with a minor leaguer to the Oakland A's for Curt Blefary and Mike Kilkenny. He batted .241 in 54 AB for the A's and then was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 29, where he batted .279 in 179 AB.
  • Brown batted .280 in 296 AB for the Brewers in 1973. After the season he was traded to the California Angels but he never played for them. Ollie was purchased by the Houston Astros during spring training in 1974. He batted .217 in 69 AB and was waived on June 24. Brown was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies and he batted .242 in 99 AB to finish the 1974 season.
  • Ollie had his best batting average in 1975. He batted .303 in 145 AB (mostly as a pinch hitter) in 1975. He batted .254 in 209 AB in 1976 and went 0-2 with one walk in the NLCS. The 1977 season was Brown's last one -- he batted .243 in 70 at bats and was 0-2 in two pinch hitting appearances in the 1977 NLCS. He was granted free agency after the season, didn't sign with anyone, and retired.
  • Liked to face: Woodie Fryman (.344, 4 HR in 64 AB); Mike Cuellar (.357 in 42 AB); and Ron Reed (.359, 2 HR in 39 AB)
  • Hated to face: Tom Seaver (.196 in 46 AB); Steve Blass (.194 in 36 AB); and Bill Hands (.121 in 33 AB)

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