Hal Brown

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Hector Harold Brown

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Biographical Information[edit]

In 1943, Hal Brown was drafted into the United States Air Force and served 32 months in the military during World War II. On his return in 1945, the Boston Red Sox agreed to send him to the University of North Carolina where he played shortstop as a freshman for Bunny Hearn who was a Red Sox scout. The Red Sox signed him as an amateur free agent in 1946 and assigned him to the Roanoke Red Sox of the Piedmont League where he went 1-4 with a 3.95 ERA. He finished out the year with the Durham Bulls of the Carolina League, going 15-5 with a league-leading 2.42 ERA, giving the young war veteran a combined 16-9 record with a 2.77 ERA while pitching 208 innings.

Hal, or "Skinny" as he was sometimes referred to, was with Roanoke again in 1947 and led the league with 19 victories, helping his team to the league pennant and the playoff title. His next stop was with the Scranton Red Sox in 1948 where he had a 12-6 record with a 2.63 ERA, again playing a big role in his team's Eastern League title and another playoff championship. "Skinny" fell to 8-13 with the Louisville Colonels in 1949 and Boston sent him to the Seattle Rainiers for the 1950 season; he went 13-13 for the year with Seattle. Hal was then drafted by the Chicago White Sox on November 16, 1950 in the 1950 Rule V Draft.

After an early-season look with the White Sox, Brown was back in the Pacific Coast League with Seattle in 1951, winning 16 and losing 6, and again was a big factor in helping his team to the league championship. He then spent the entire 1952 season with the White Sox, going 2-3 with a 4.23 ERA. On February 9, 1953, the White Sox traded Hal along with Marv Grissom and Bill Kennedy to the Boston Red Sox for Vern Stephens. Hal went 11-6 for the Red Soxthat year but fell to 1-8 in 1954. He wound up with the Baltimore Orioles in 1955, where he would stay until 1962.

During the 1957 season "Skinny" was one of four Oriole pitchers involved in a run of four straight shutouts. On June 23rd, Hal blanked the DetroitTigers, 6-0. The next day, Billy Loes white-washed the Kansas City A's 5-0; then Connie Johnson threw a bagel at the A's 1-0 and finally Ray Moore shut out the Cleveland Indians, 6-0. The four straight blankings tied an American League record that was broken in 1974 by an Oriole team that had five in a row.

In 1961, Brown pitched a franchise-record 36 consecutive scoreless innings. But Skinny's most unusual accomplishment probably came during a loss. On August 31, 1955, Bill Wight started for Baltimore against Cleveland rookie Herb Score. The Indians roughed up Wight for five 1st-inning runs. "Skinny" started the 2nd inning for the Orioles in relief and proceeded to pitch eight innings of no-hit ball, striking out a career-high 10 batters, but the Indians won 5-1 behind Score's 13 strikeouts.

The Orioles sold Brown to the New York Yankees in September 1962. Before he could say Hello to anyone, he was sold to the Houston Colt .45's. In 1963 with the Colt 45s, he walked only eight batters in 141 innings. While in Houston, he was the winning pitcher in the first Sunday night game ever played in major league history, combining with Dick Farrell to shut out the San Francisco Giants, 3-0, at Colt Stadium. Like most pitchers "Skinny" thought he could hit, but while with the White Sox late in the 1952 season, the Indians walked Sherm Lollar to pitch to Brown who responded with a home run. In Boston in 1953, he once beat the Tigers and Art Houtteman, 4-2, hitting his other career home run and driving in three runs.

Hal "Skinny" Brown had spent 19 active seasons in pro baseball (1946-1964). He finished up his major league career with a 85-92 record and a 3.81 ERA. While going up and down in the minors, he managed a 93-57 record with a 3.45 ERA. Following his playing days, he returned to his home in Greensboro, NC, and for many years he was part owner of Mcbane and Brown Inc., heating and air conditioning contractors. He died in his hometown in 2015 at the age of 91.


Baseball Players of the 1950s
BR Minors Page

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