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Monday, August 22, 2005

Max Lanier and Harry Brecheen

Harry Brecheen

Max Lanier

Eligible in 1959.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2005 at 01:32 PM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2005 at 01:47 PM (#1563043)
Two excellent pitchers from the Cardinals with slightly different stories to tell.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: August 22, 2005 at 02:35 PM (#1563140)
I don't know if Brecheen has a case, even for peakers, but he sure was an outstanding pitcher though for a short time. His career ERA+ of 133 is darn good. But of course 2 outstanding years were '44-'45 and his ERA+ dropped from 149-139 to 125 in '46. But in '48 he was 20=7, 2.24, 183 ERA+. Then slipped to 14-11, 124 and declined from there.

The real question is whether there's something to his early career that merits XC. He didn't make the bigs til age 26 and then for 3.1 IP.

He only stuck in 1943 at age 29. How come? He was apparently not ready in 1940 at age 26, but did he serve in the military at all, did he miss time in 1941 and 1942 that could otherwise be credited?

Why did he decline so rapidly after his one big year? Of course he was age 35-39 by then. And even in his prime he was not what you'd call a workhorse. But he also hit .241 in one of his better pitching years, .273 and .241 in other years (not his best pitching years, howver), and .192 for his career.

Probably the peak of his career was not 1948, however, but 1946. He was the Cards' #2 starter after Howie Pollet in IP (231) and ERA (2.49) though he only went 15-15. Pollet started games 1 and 5 of the WS, Brecheen 2 and 6. He threw a 4-hit shutout and then a 1 run-7 hit win in game 6. In game 7 he came in in relief of Murry Dickson in the 8th inning and got the win. Overall he was 2-0, 0.45 in 20 IP. Pollet and Dickson each started 2 games but went 0-2 between them. Thank god for George Munger, who went 2-2 after getting out of the military and won game 4.

Lanier is similar to Brecheen in that we will need to find some massive XC for him to be a candidate and obviously his Mexican sojourn is interesting. They also go together because they were teammates all the way from 1940 through 1951 with many partings of the ways in between.
   3. Brent Posted: September 03, 2005 at 02:41 PM (#1595201)
So far there hasn't been much interest in Max Lanier, but I thought I'd post some information on his two remarkable seasons in Cuba. Here is his record:
Year  Team        G CG  W  L  Pct Inn SO BB Tm W Tm L Tm Pct* Pennant  WAT
46-47 Marianao    4  1  1  2 .333  19 10  7   25   41   .381          -0.1
46-47 Almendares 11  9  7  2 .778  98 58 38   42   24   .614     *     1.5
46-47 Total      15 10  8  4 .667 117 68 45             .556           1.3
47-48 Alacranes  24 14 12  7 .632  -- -- --   44   47   .444           3.6
Total            39 24 20 11 .645                       .488           4.9

* Tm Pct – team winning percentage excluding Lanier's decisions. For totals
across teams or seasons, percentages are weighted by Lanier's decisions. 

Notes:
46-47 - Led league in strikeouts (68).
47-48 - Record is for the Players' Federation, an alternative league that existed for one season after U.S. organized baseball obtained control over the regular Cuban League. It was probably the stronger league in terms of quality of play. Lanier was named to the all-star team (selected by writers at the end of the season).

The 1946-47 season featured one of the most famous pennant races in Cuban League history—indeed, Roberto González Echevarría’s The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball devotes its second chapter to recounting this season—and Lanier was its hero. The season ran from October 26 to February 27, and Almendares picked up Lanier in a trade in mid December. With twenty days remaining, Habana held a 6 game lead over the Almendares Blues, but then the Blues won 10 of 11.

On February 23, Habana still had a 1½ game lead with three games remaining against Almendares. Lanier won the first game for the Blues, 4 to 2. Mayor pitched the second game, winning 2 to 1. Now Almendares was ahead by ½ game, and manager Dolf Luque went to Lanier for the final game on 1 day’s rest. Lanier pitched a 6 hit, complete game, winning 9 to 2.

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