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Larry Biittner

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Lawrence David Biittner

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Larry Biittner, a 1964 graduate of Pocahontas Catholic High School, was a three-sport star in baseball, basketball and track & field. He attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA on a basketball scholarship. After his freshman season, he transferred to Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, IA to play baseball and basketball (Drake University did not have a baseball program). He was an NAIA All-American in baseball and basketball at Buena Vista College, now Buena Vista University.

Biittner was drafted in the 10th round of the 1968 amateur draft by the Washington Senators. He was in the military from February to August of 1969, missing most of the season.

On July 17, 1970, Biittner, at age 23, broke into the big leagues with the Senators. A first baseman and outfielder, he played 14 seasons with the Washington Senators (1970-1971), Texas Rangers (1972-1973; 1983), Montréal Expos (1974-1976), Chicago Cubs (1976-1980) and the Cincinnati Reds (1981-1982). Biittner was the first-ever free agent signed by the Cincinnati Reds, who had until then abstained from the free agent market for what can be called ideological reasons. He retired after the 1983 season with Texas. He was regarded as one of the best pinch-hitters of his time and finished his career tied for 12th on the all-time list for pinch hits with 95.

Biittner also made a brief pitching appearance out of the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader on July 4, 1977, in a game in which the Cubs were trailing the Montreal Expos 13-3; he gave up six additional runs in an inning and a third, but did strike out three batters.

Larry Biittner is a member of the Buena Vista University Baseball and Basketball Halls of Fame, as well as the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Baseball and Basketball Halls of Fame.

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