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Hal Breeden

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Harold Noel Breeden

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[edit] Biographical Information

First baseman Hal Breeden is the brother of catcher Danny Breeden. He blossomed in 1973, slugging .535 as a back-up first baseman and pinch-hitter with the Montreal Expos.

Breeden was a very solid minor league hitter. For example, with the Waycross Braves in 1963 he hit .330 in 116 games. In 75 games with the Yakima Bears in 1964, Breeden hit .406. He played with two teams in 1967 - the West Palm Beach Braves and Kinston Eagles - and between the two of them he hit .310 in 139 games. Breeden also ended up developing quite a power stroke as he progressed through the minors, for example he belted 37 dingers in 136 games for the Richmond Braves in 1970.

Not long after being traded to the Chicago Cubs did Breeden find himself in a big league uniform - he made his Major League debut on April 7, 1971 against Steve Carlton and the St. Louis Cardinals. Pinch hitting for Earl Stephenson in the bottom of the seventh inning, Hal grounded out in his only at-bat of the game. Interestingly, Hal played alongside his brother Danny for a few games in 1971, as they were teammates for a while. He was traded to the Expos at the end of spring training in 1972, alongside infielder Hector Torres in return for relief pitcher Dan McGinn.

Of all the players who appeared in 100 or more games for the Expos in 1973, Breeden had the highest slugging percentage. Breeden was also the last player to fly out to Willie Mays, when on July 29, 1973 Breeden flew out to center, which was being patrolled by Mays. Also in 1973, Breeden duplicated a feat only achieved once in major league history, by Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, by hitting two pinch-hit home runs in a doubleheader. On September 2nd, in a 12-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit a double, two triples and a homer; no one would match that particular combination of extra-base hits in a game until Kyle Seager of the 2014 Seattle Mariners.

After his major league days Breeden became a home run hitter for the Hanshin Tigers in the late 1970s. He was the first foreign player to slug 40 home runs in his initial year in Japan. Breeden was named to one all star team, in 1977.

Breeden also played for the Miami Amigos of the short-lived Inter-American League in 1979.

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