Harry David Brecheen
(Harry The Cat)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 10", Weight 160 lb.
- School East Central State Teachers College
- High School Ada (OK) High School
- Debut April 22, 1940
- Final Game September 13, 1953
- Born October 14, 1914 in Broken Bow, OK USA
- Died January 17, 2004 in Bethany, OK USA
Pitcher Harry Brecheen played a dozen years in the majors and was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation for about a decade. He earned the nickname "The Cat" for his ability to field bunts, pouncing on them like a cat.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Brecheen began his pro career in 1935. He went 21-6 for the Portsmouth Cubs of the Piedmont League in 1937 and had his contract purchased by the Cardinals after the season. He then spent two years with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League, and after a brief cup of coffee with St. Louis in 1940, was with the Columbus Red Birds of the American Association for three summers.
It was in 1943, in the middle of World War II, that Brecheen reached the majors for good. That year, he went 9-6 with a 2.26 ERA while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. Mostly a starter in 1944, he went 16-5 and recorded a win in Game 4 of the World Series as the Cards downed their neighbors, the St. Louis Browns. After going 15-4 in 1945, his club reached the World Series again in 1946 when he was 15-15, 2.49 during the season. Facing the Boston Red Sox, he recorded 3 wins in 3 appearances in the Fall Classic, including a victory in the deciding Game 7, while posting a minuscule 0.45 ERA. He had his finest season two years later, in 1948, going 20-7 and leading the National League with a 2.24 ERA, 7 shutouts, and 149 strikeouts.
Released by the Cards following the 1952 season, Brecheen spent his last year in the majors with the other St. Louis club, the Browns, in 1953. The team moved to Baltimore after that season, and he followed them, becoming the Orioles' pitching coach, a job he held for more than a decade, from 1954 to 1967.
- 2-time NL All-Star (1947 & 1948)
- NL ERA Leader (1948)
- NL Strikeouts Leader (1948)
- 2-time NL Shutouts Leader (1946 & 1948)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1944-1948)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1948)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1946-1949)
- Won two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals (1944 & 1946)
- Gregory H. Wolf: "Harry Brecheen", in Bill Nowlin, ed.: Van Lingle Mungo: The Man, The Song, The Players, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2014, pp. 202-207. ISBN 978-1-933599-76-2