Stan Bréard

From BR Bullpen

Stanislas Bréard

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 153 lb.

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Stan Bréard played 8 seasons of minor league baseball. He played in Canada, Cuba, the US, Puerto Rico and Mexico. From 1949 to 1951, he was player-manager of the Drummondville Cubs of the Provincial League.

Bréard was born and grew up in the working-class district of Pointe-Saint-Charles in Montreal, QC and was working for the Continental Can Company while playing semi-pro baseball when he was signed by the Montreal Royals of the International League at the age of 26 in 1944. This was the middle of World War II and the team had just lost its starting shortstop, Gene Mauch, to the United States military. Bréard was somewhat undersized, but had he had earlier been given trials by other professional clubs and was considered an excellent fielder. Hitting was more of a problem as he finished the season with a batting average of .190 (OBP of .244, slugging percentage .237) in 128 games. His .953 fielding percentage led starting shortstops in the 1944 IL. Back with the team in 1945, he worked hard on his hitting in spring training and it paid off, as his average jumped all the way to .275 in 133 games, with 23 doubles, 63 runs scored and 55 RBIs. He had a .337 OBP and .337 slugging percentage. He was one of three local stars on the team which won the 1945 IL pennant, alongside third baseman Roland Gladu and pitcher Jean-Pierre Roy.

In 1946, the Brooklyn Dodgers, who were the Royals' parent club, thought enough of Stan's fielding that they moved their prize signee, Jackie Robinson, to second base in order to keep him at shortstop. He hit .300/.364/.367 in 18 games, but then began a hold-out in early May, as he was contemplating moving to the Mexican League, which was offering big money at the time. Unwilling to meet his pay demands, the Dodgers sold his contract to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, where he seemed to lose his hitting stroke. In 96 games, he hit only .217/.227/.286, although he did record his first professional home run.

In the winter of 1946-1947, he hit .237/?/.269 as the main shortstop for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Winter League. He moved to Mexico in 1947, playing for the Azules de Veracruz, where he batted .269 with a .324 slugging percentage. That got him blacklisted by Major League Baseball, along with other Mexican League jumpers of the time such as Gladu, Max Lanier and Sal Maglie. In the winter, he starred for Cuba in the Cuban Players League, batting .293/?/.367. He was named the league's All-Star shortstop, beating out Lou Klein and Avelino Cañizares. He was second in the league with 107 hits, trailing Cañizares, and his 8 triples were second to Héctor Rodríguez.

When the financial promises of the Mexican League evaporated, many of these men found themselves barnstorming, and then in the unaffiliated Provincial League in Bréard's native Quebec. He signed with the Drummondville Cubs at the end of the year, hitting .323 in 7 games, joining his brother Roger Bréard, who was an infielder for the team. With Cienfuegos in the winter, he hit .288/?/.346 with a team-high 84 hits and 6 triples. He was one hit behind CWL leader Hank Thompson and he tied Monte Irvin for second in triples, two behind Thompson. In 1949, now a player-manager for Drummondville, he used his connections to attract Lanier and Maglie to the team and the star-laden squad won the Provincial League championship. He played the winter in the Puerto Rican League. Playing for the Criollos de Caguas in the 1950 Caribbean Series, he was 4 for 25 with a run and 2 RBI.

Major League Baseball reached an agreement with the Mexican League jumpers at that time, and also integrated the Provincial League into the National Agreement, as its success was putting upward pressure on salaries. Stan initially chose to return to the high minors in San Diego, but changed his mind after only a few games (1 for 10) and returned to Drummondville, where he was a major star. He thus spent most of 1950 and all of 1951 with the team, hitting .307/.370/.395 in 96 games the first year, and .283/?/.349 in 120 games the second. His .934 fielding percentage in 1950 tied for third among Provincial League starting shortstops. In the 1951 Caribbean Series, he helped the Santurce Crabbers become the first Puerto Rican team to win a Caribbean Series. He was 11 for 26 with 4 doubles, 7 runs and 8 RBI, leading the Series in doubles and runs, finishing second to Lorenzo Cabrera in hits and third in RBI behind René González and Luis Olmo. He outhit more famous teammates Willard Brown, Junior Gilliam, George Crowe and Bus Clarkson.

After the 1951 season, Drummondville's new general manager decided not to keep him as a manager but as a player only, and Bréard declined, deciding to play semi-pro ball instead. He was back in the Provincial League in 1955, this time for the Trois-Rivières Yankees, but now 35, the grind of playing every day proved to be too much; he lasted 14 games before being forced out of the line-up by various ailments, and then deciding to return to the semi-pro ranks. In 1954, he was a player-manager with Brantford of the Ontario-based Intercounty Baseball League, another semi-pro circuit, then played a final season in that circuit in 1955 before retiring for good.

After his playing career, he was employed in the drinking establishment owned by hockey great Toe Blake and located in the shadows of the Montreal Forum. In addition to baseball, he was known as a very talented pool player and golfer, while also giving occasional baseball clinics with former teammates Gladu and Roy until the late 1960s. He had also played hockey until first signing with the Royals, but had given it up because of the risk of injury. He died in Montreal at age 54 in 1972.

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1949 Drummondville Cubs Provincial League 1st None none League Champs replaced Max Lanier
1950 Drummondville Cubs Provincial League 4th None replaced John White
1951 Drummondville Cubs Provincial League 71-49 3rd None