Friday, October 6, 2017

Jim Brewer (#158)

I learned something new today – Jim Brewer pitched 3-plus seasons for the Cubs before joining the Dodgers in 1964.

After 4 seasons under the wings of veteran relievers Ron Perranoski, Bob Miller, and Phil Regan, Brewer spent 6 more seasons as the top man in the Dodger bullpen.

Brewer was signed by the Cubs in June 1956. He spent 5 seasons in the Cubs’ farm system as a starting pitcher (except for his first season), and made his big-league debut with 5 games in late-July 1960.

Jim was with the Cubs for all of 1961, starting 11 of his 36 games. His 1-7 record and 5.82 ERA earned him another year in triple-A (1962). That season he only pitched in 6 games for the Cubbies. Although Brewer was a triple-A starter in 1962, when he returned to the majors for good in 1963, he would be a reliever for the rest of his career (except for part of 1967).

He was the only lefthander in the Cubs bullpen in 1963, compiling a 3-2 record in 29 games. After the season he was traded to the Dodgers for Dick Scott, a 9-year minor-league pitcher whose major-league career totaled 9 games. What a steal!

Brewer worked in the Dodgers’ bullpen behind Perranoski and Miller for the next 4 seasons. In 1966 the Dodgers added Regan, who was also ahead of Jim in the pecking order.

After the 1967 season, the Dodgers traded Perranoski and Miller to the Twins, and in early ’68 Regan was sent to the Cubs, leaving Jim as the #1 reliever. Brewer appeared in over 50 games for each of the next 6 seasons, collecting 15, 20, 24, 22, 17, and 20 saves. In ’71 and ’72 his ERA was under 2.00, and he also made his only All-Star team in 1973.

The Dodgers acquired Mike Marshall before the 1974 season, which greatly cut into Brewer’s workload. (Marshall led NL pitchers with ONE HUNDRED SIX games (all in relief), and saves (21) that season, and won the Cy Young Award.) Brewer only pitched 39 innings over 24 games, with no saves.

In July 1975 Jim was traded to the Angels for relief pitcher Dave Sells. Brewer pitched 21 games for the Angels in ’75 and 13 games in ’76, his last coming on May 24th. He retired in 1976, closing out his 17-year career.

In 1987 Brewer died at age 50, after suffering injuries in a car crash.