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Gene Brabender

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Eugene Mathew Brabender

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[edit] Biographical Information

From Jim Bouton's Ball Four: (Jim) Pagliaroni says that one of the great things about Gene Brabender as a pitcher is that he's big enough to intimidate hitters with his size. "He looks like if you got a hit off him," Pag said. "he'd crush your spleen."

Brabender grew up on a farm in Black Earth, WI, which helped develop his immense natural strength. He was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He missed the 1964 and 1965 seasons due to military service. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the 1965 Rule V Draft after spotting him as the star pitcher for his military post, Aberdeen Proving Ground. He won a World Series ring in 1966. In March 1969, near the end of spring training, Baltimore traded Brabender to the Seattle Pilots, and he was the expansion club's leading winner.

After the Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers, Brabender had the distinction of being the first native-born Wisconsinite to play for the team, pitching for them in their inaugural season. He was traded to the California Angels organization after a sore shoulder plagued him in 1970, but the injury limited him to just 27 ineffective minor league innings in 1971. He quit after a last effort in spring training 1972.

Brabender continued to live in Wisconsin after retiring from baseball, returning to the Black Earth area in 1978. He worked in construction, mainly by himself. He died in a Madison, WI, hospital, after collapsing from a brain aneurysm.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1969)
  • Won a World Series with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 (he did not play in the World Series)

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