Monday, February 10, 2014

#641 - Chuck Brinkman

Well, this one’s gonna be quick. Due to the apparently permanent demise of Google news searches, there is next to nothing in the websphere or elsewhere about this guy. Yeah, he was a catcher, and yeah, he had a more successful brother play for many more years than he, but that stuff is all obvious. Here Chuck Brinkman demonstrates more than a passing resemblance to brother Ed while taking a cut at Yankee Stadium. ’73 was by far Chuck’s busiest year at the MLB level as prior Number Two guy in Chicago Tom Egan spent the whole year in Triple A before returning to California. Then newbie Brian Downing got hurt on his very first play in Chicago so Chuck elevated his plate time by more than a double over any of his other seasons. Unfortunately that was all he elevated offensively as his average stayed at well below Mendoza levels, though he did – as the card back points out – hit his first and only MLB home run that season. It came off Rudy May in a home game won by the Sox 6-2 (in May no less) and since it scored the third run was the game-winner, appropriately enough for a one-time event. Like Milt Pappas on the last post, this card represents Chuck’s last.

Chuck Brinkman followed his brother Ed as a baseball star at Cincinnati’s Western Hills High School by a year, graduating in ’62. Chuck then moved on to Ohio State where as a senior he was on the all-CWS tournament team as his guys won the Series, the last Big Ten team to do so. That year of ’66 the biggest name on the Ohio State roster was that of Steve Arlin from many posts ago who was that year’s mvp. Chuck was then selected by the ChiSox in that June’s draft and got things going that summer with a light-hitting great defense year in A ball. He hit .260 at that level in ’67 but then fell to .204 the next year. In ’69 he moved up to .237 in a season split between Double A and Triple A. In not one of those seasons did he have exactly a full year, topping out at 339 at bats in ’67 but averaging only 235 at bats the last three seasons. Usually that meant military time but that wasn’t the norm for college graduates so maybe Chuck’s time was just depressed because of his average. That changed in ’70 when he got 415 at bats in Triple A, hitting .231 while topping out in RBI’s with 30. In both ’69 and ’70 he got some late summer looks in Chicago but didn’t show too much at the plate. Still he had a good arm, and a great knack for blocking low pitches, definitely a plus for a staff full of knucklers. So from ’71 to ’73 Chuck stayed up all season, never seeing too much plate time but making damn few errors either. In ’74 he had his normal amount of at bats in Chicago before a July sale to Pittsburgh in what would be his final year. He hit .143 for bot teams and finished his MLB work with a .172 average. Despite very little field time he threw runners out at a 38% clip, on par with the league. He hit .226 in the minors.

Pretty spare, right? Too bad because that’s it. At least he had some cards to memorialize his baseball time but I can’t find anything for what he did away from it.

Not too surprisingly all of Chuck’s star bullets regard his defense. And then there’s that May homer off May. Sticking to name stuff umpire Joe Brinkman was not related to the brothers. Yeah, that’s filler.

So when your party abandons you like the Republicans did in August of ’74, what’s next:

8/7/74 – Three senior Republican congessmen meet with President Nixon and advice him that his prospects for now avoiding impeachment are pretty bleak. Nixon apparently agrees because:

8/8/74 – President Nixon, citing a deteriorating support base within Congress, announces his resignation.

For Chuck only the ’73 season really got him significant MLB playing time, so the hook-up has to begin there:

1. Brinkman and Ed Herrmann ’72 to ’74 White Sox;
2. Herrmann and Don Pavletich ’69 White Sox (all catchers!);
3. Pavletich and Milt Pappas ’66 to ’68 Reds.

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