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Vern Bickford

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1952 Topps #252 Vern Bickford

Vernon Edgell Bickford

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Vern Bickford started his baseball career in 1939 at the age of 18. He spent four seasons, 1939 through 1942, pitching with the Mountain States League Welch Miners. His tour in Welch gave him 49 wins and 39 losses with a 3.87 ERA. He led the league in 1940 with 163 strikeouts.

The United States Military called for his services and he served in the Army, in the Pacific theater of war, from 1943 through 1945.

Early in 1946, Bickford signed a free agent contract with the National League Boston Braves and spent the season with the Southeastern League Jackson Senators, going 10-12 with a 3.33 ERA. This performance elevated him to the American Association Milwaukee Brewers in 1947, where he went 9-5 with a 3.78 ERA.

Vern reached the major leagues with the Braves in 1948 and helped them nail down the 1948 National League pennant. The famous cliche about "Spahn, Sain and two days of rain", did not do justice to Bickford's strong 11-5 record. He lost to the Cleveland Indians in his only World Series game.

The high point of Bickford's career was his no-hit, no-run game against the Brooklyn Dodgers on August 11, 1950. The Braves won, 7-0. He struck out Duke Snider for the final out with what he described as "the prettiest curve ball I ever threw." That season, he pitched 312 innings, more than any other National League pitcher and won 19 games. Six times he tried and six times he failed to win his twentieth. Bickford called this "the biggest disappointment of his career."

With the Braves, he spent six seasons establishing himself as a class act and a very capable man on the mound. He had a 66-57 won-loss record with a 3.71 ERA with the team.

On February 10, 1954 the now Milwaukee Braves traded him to the Baltimore Orioles for Charlie White and $10,000. A pinched nerve in his pitching arm led to an elbow operation and the right-hander's major league career came to an end.

Bickford tried, unsuccessfully, for a brief comeback in 1955 with the Richmond Virginians of the International League. His arm was gone and this was to be his last year in professional baseball.

Vern Bickford died of stomach cancer at the young age of 39.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL All-Star (1949)
  • NL Innings Pitched Leader (1950)
  • NL Complete Games Leader (1950)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (1949 & 1950)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1949 & 1950)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1950)

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