Sunday, January 30, 2011

#89 - Jackie Brown

What's going on here? Another non-Traded traded card? Nope. Jackie Brown had only pitched up top for one major league organization at this point in his career. It is definitely an air-brush job though. Given what appears to be a red hat brim, Jackie is in an old Senators uniform, which means this photo is probably from '71 since he put in no time for the Rangers in '72. Senators caps were red so the folks at Topps just air-brushed over the top part of the cap. They could have at least air-brushed out the sweat while they were at it. At least Jackie is in a uniform unlike his teammate-to-be Fergie from a few posts back.

Whatever Brown was wearing, he had one of his better seasons in '73. A year after being banished to Triple A and some horrible numbers, he began the season at that level strongly the following year and by mid-July was 10-1 with a 2.34 ERA in a spot role. Those numbers got him back to Arlington where he again had a fast start and by the end of the month he threw a complete game shutout at Oakland in his first start in many moons. After that game his '73 MLB ERA was at 1.38 but that dry desert heat wasn't conducive to keeping his number that low. So over the summer it returned to normal - for Jackie - territory. Still, he recorded his first two MLB saves and overall it was his best career season to date.

Jackie Brown was signed by the Phillies out of rural Oklahoma in '62 and sent to D league ball. I am guessing by his age at signing - 19 - and his stats that Jackie had some military commitments but I have not been able to confirm that. Initially it was slow going through the minors. He  went a combined 5-11 with a high ERA his first couple seasons but then in '64 put up a 2.01 ERA with eight wins for one of his A level teams and the following season went 15-11 with 214 strikeouts at the same level. But after an abortive jump to Double A in '66 - 3-5 with a 4.83 ERA - he was back in Single A, a level at which he remained.when he was cut loose by Philly in May of '68. He was immediately picked up by Washington and things turned a bit. DC moved Jackie up to Double A and at that level through '69 he went 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA for his best run. That was followed by a better season in Triple A in '70 - 6-1 with a 2.54 ERA again in a spot  role - prompting a call-up to the majors that year.

Browns rookie season was OK run with most of his appearances in relief and some spot starts. He then started the '71 season in the rotation, but after some not great starts he returned to the bullpen and then back to Triple A where he remained for a horrible '72 (6-17 with a 5.51 ERA). After his resurgence in '73 he made a fan in new manager Billy Martin, who the following season put Jackie in the rotation. Brown responded by posting career highs in every major category, going 13-12 with a 3.57 ERA as the Rangers finally became a real divisional threat. But the Ranger magic wore off fast and in '75 Jackie's stay in the rotation didn't last too long though he did put up some quality starts. That June he, Jim Bibby, and Rick Waits went to Cleveland for Gaylord Perry. For the Tribe he worked mostly as a middle guy out of the pen in '75 and then was a starter in '76. That year he went 9-11 with a 4.25 ERA. The following December he went to Montreal - in a pretty bad trade for the Expos - for Andre Thornton. After a sub-.500 season for the Expos he was released. He re-signed with Texas and spent '78 at Tucson, their new Triple A club. He won 12 but had a pretty high ERA and was then again released, ending his time as a player. He finished with a record of 47-53, with 39 complete games, eight shutouts, three saves, and a 4.18 ERA.In the minors Jackie was 91-88 with a 3.87 ERA.

Jackie immediately moved into coaching following his playing career and in '79 took over as the Rangers' pitching coach. He stayed there through '83. From '86 to '91 he coached in the Pittsburgh system and then moved up top for the White Sox ('92-'95). He then moved to Tampa where he coached in the minors ('96-'98) and for the Rays (2002). In between and since ha has worked the family spread back in Oklahoma.

These are some OK star bullets. '65 was the year he won 15. I find the cartoon interesting as he never played a position but pitcher professionally. One of the more memorable moments of Jackie's career had to be when he was the seventh-inning stretch representative for the Rangers in a cow-milking contest - he lost - during a game in which lucky winners got to take home a bag of Ranger fertilizer, whatever that was.

We are on an AL run here so this should be easy:

1. Brown and Dave Nelson (what the hell) '70 to '71 and '73 Rangers;
2. Nelson and Patek '76 to '77 Royals.

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