George Brunet: 3,175 Strikeouts in Minors
George Brunet pitched for 33 years.
George Brunet is of particular interest to me since he played for the Alexandria (Louisiana) Aces of the Class C Evangeline League in 1954 and I remember seeing him play. He started his professional baseball career in 1953 for the Shelby (NC) Clippers of the Class D Tar Heel League.
Baseball-reference.com tells about the time the Little Rock Travelers didn’t score a run while Brunet was on the mound in 52 1/3 innings:
Brunet was on the other end of the shutouts in 1957. That season, pitching for the Little Rock Travelers of the Southern Association, Brunet’s teammates failed to score in a 52 1/3 inning stretch in which he pitched. From June 21st (when Brunet improved to 10-3) till August 3rd, Little Rock never scored with Brunet as their pitcher. He lost 8 straight in that stretch and at 14-15 finished one loss shy of the league lead. He did top the circuit with 235 strikeouts.
Brunet played for 27 professional baseball teams not counting the Mexican League teams he played for which I couldn’t read at the Salon de la Fama page which lists Brunet as a Mexican Hall of Famer.
He pitched his first minor league game at the age of 17 in 1953 and ended his career in 1985 at the age of 50. He went on to pitch for 27 teams in professional baseball.
Brunet made his major league debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1956 and would pitch his last game in 1971 for the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched for nine major league teams in 15 seasons.
After leaving the majors Brunet pitched fourteen more seasons in the minor leagues with most of those seasons being in the Mexican League. He posted 3,175 minor league strikeouts to go with his 921 major league strikeouts for a total of 4,096 strikeouts in professional baseball.
He pitched for 33 years in professional baseball and seldom had arm problems.
Brunet was a participant in one of the wildest innings in major league history on April 22, 1959 when the Chicago White Sox scored 11 runs in the third inning:
On Only One Hit in 1959
Apr 22, 1959 – The White Sox‚ down 6-1 after two innings‚ storm back and score 11 runs in the 7th inning on one hit; there are 3 errors‚ a near-record 10 walks‚ a HBP‚ stolen base‚ and single in the frame. Kansas City Athletics relief P George Brunet gives up 5 bases-loaded walks and a bases-loaded HBP‚ as the White Sox garner just one hit‚ by John Callison. Jim Landis makes 2 outs‚ both grounders to the pitcher‚ in the strange inning. Nellie Fox drives in two runs in the inning‚ both times by walking. Fox does collect 4 hits in the game‚ while Aparicio has a 3-run homer. There are 3 other bases-loaded walks as Kansas City loses‚ 20-6.
Note :TheWhite Sox erased a 5 run deficicit as they scored 19 unanswered runs.
This game had to be the lowlight of Brunet’s career. How many pitchers today would be allowed to give up five bases loaded walks and a bases load HBP before being removed from the game? He pitched an amazing 26 more seasons after this game.
Brunet may not have had a great major league record with a 69-93 record during his 15 seasons in the majors but may have been one of the best minor league pitchers ever when his Mexican League performances are included.
He was 112-115 in the American minor leagues but must have had a sensational career in the Mexican League to be voted into their Hall of Fame.
Brunet died in 1991 at the age of 56 in Mexico.
He may not have been the best pitcher during his career but was one of the most colorful characters to play the game and is still has the minor league record for most strikeouts by a pitcher in a career with 3,175.