Lou Brissie

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Lou Brissie
Former Major League Baseball Pitcher Leland "Lou" Brissie, is honored, during the 149th Annual Regimental Signal Ball, at the Fort Gordon Club, in Fort Gordon, Ga., June 26, 2009 090626-A-NF756-006.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1924-06-05)June 5, 1924
Ware Shoals, South Carolina
Died: November 25, 2013(2013-11-25) (aged 89)
Augusta, Georgia
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 28, 1947, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 1, 1953, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Win–loss record44–48
Earned run average4.07
Strikeouts436
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Leland Victor Brissie (June 5, 1924 – November 25, 2013) was a professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball from 1947 to 1953 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians.[1]

Youth[edit]

Brissie began his baseball career in 1940 when at the age of 16 he pitched for Ware Shoals in a textile baseball league. Brissie attracted the attention of Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1941; however his father insisted he finish school.

Brissie attended Presbyterian College before enlisting in the U.S. Army in December 1942. In November 1944, he found himself in heavy fighting in Italy with the 88th Infantry Division (Blue Devils). On December 2, 1944, his unit suffered an artillery barrage, and a shell exploded which shattered his left tibia and shinbone in 30 pieces. At the Army field hospital, doctors told Brissie that his leg would have to be amputated due to the severity of the injury. Brissie told the doctors that he was a ballplayer and insisted that the leg be saved even if it jeopardized his life.[1]

Brissie's citations included the Purple Heart (with oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star Medal, ETO and American Campaign Medals.

Major league career[edit]

After two years and 23 major operations, Brissie was able to return to baseball with a metal brace on his leg. He was signed by the Philadelphia A's on December 15, 1946. His comeback began with Savannah in the Southern League, where he won 25 games in 1947. The A's called him up and on September 28, 1947 he realized his "life's ambition" of pitching in the major leagues.

Brissie's first start of the 1948 season was against the Boston Red Sox. During the course of the game, Ted Williams hit a ball up the middle of the field, striking Brissie's leg and causing him to "…jokingly ask Williams why he didn’t pull the ball to right field instead of hitting it up the middle." Brissie went on to defeat the Red Sox 4-2, striking out Williams for the game's final out.[1] On July 19, he gave up an extra-inning home run to Pat Seerey; it was Seerey's fourth home run of the game, tying a major league record then held by four previous players.

Brissie's best seasons were with the A's: in 1948 when was 14–10, and 1949 when he was 16–11.[2] He pitched three innings for the 1949 American League All Star team.

Brissie was traded to the Cleveland Indians on April 30, 1951. This was part of a three-way trade between the Indians, Athletics and Chicago White Sox. A notable result of the trade was that Cleveland utility player Minnie Miñoso went to the White Sox, where he became the first black major league player in Chicago's history and soon became an All-Star. Brissie retired in September 1953 with a career record of 44–48, 436 strikeouts and a 4.07 ERA.

Life[edit]

Following his retirement from baseball, Brissie served as the National Director of the American Legion Baseball program. Subsequently, he served on the President's Physical Fitness Council, worked as a baseball scout and for a South Carolina state worker training agency.[1] in his later years, Brissie relied on crutches and was in constant pain. He frequently spoke to veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010 Brissie, along with Yogi Berra, Jerry Coleman and John "Mule" Miles was honored in a ceremony at Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park.[3]

Brissie died at the Augusta VA Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, on November 25, 2013, aged 89.[4] His first wife, Dorothy "Dot" Morgan, died in 1967 after 23 years of marriage. Their son, Ronald Brissie, died in 2002.

Brissie's survivors include his second wife, the former Diana Ingate Smith of North Augusta, South Carolina; two children from his first marriage, Vicki Bishop of Kingstree, South Carolina, and Rob Brissie of Greenville, South Carolina; a daughter from his second marriage, Jennifer Brissie of London; two stepchildren, Charlotte Klein of Aiken, South Carolina, and Aaron Smith of Grovetown, Georgia; nine grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Schudel, Matt (November 28, 2013) Pitched in the majors after World War II combat injury" The Washington Post, page B4. Retrieved December 7, 2013 [1]
  2. ^ Lou Brissie Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com
  3. ^ Rosgaard, Jessica (November 11, 2013) "Ballplayers served country on battlegrounds" CNN Retrieved December 7, 2013 [2]
  4. ^ Kirby, Bill (November 26, 2013). "War hero, baseball star Lou Brissie dies". The Augusta Chronicle.

External links[edit]