Thursday, February 14, 2013

#311 Glenn Brummer - St. Louis Cardinals

Glenn Brummer second Topps card is shows him in a non-game shot.  Seeing a catcher on a card crouching without gear is nothing new as Topps used this type of pose a lot in the 70s but this seems like a new angle anyway.  The brick wall in the background indicates that Wrigley Field is the venue.  Would you believe that Brummer is, at most, 27 years old in the inset picture?  At least it's a better look than his rookie card.

PlayerGlenn Brummer signed as undrafted free agent in 1974 and as such was never really considered a prospect.  In fact he was a backup his entire minor league career, never getting more than 367 at bats in a season.  He got the call to the big leagues in May of '81 when Darrell Porter went down with an injury.  Veteran Gene Tenace got most of the starts but Brummer and fellow journeyman Orlando Sanchez took turns spelling him behind the plate.  Porter returned two months later and Brummer stuck around as a spare part, catching a few innings here and there.  Brummer got into 21 games with 6 hits in 30 at bats.
Brummer was in the majors most of the year with the Cardinals serving as a third catcher behind Porter and Tenace.  Brummer batted .234 in 64 at bats and did not draw a walk. On August 22 Brummer made a play against the Giants that would be remembered by all that were fortunate to see it.  He entered the game at catcher after Steve Braun pinch hit for Gene Tenace and the game went to extra innings.  With one out in the bottom of the 12th, Brummer singled and moved to third after a pair of singles were sandwiched around a foul out.  With the bases loaded and two outs and a 1-2 count on David Green, Brummer shocked everyone in the stadium by stealing home, sliding head first with the winning run.  He hadn't stolen a base since 1980 and wasn't known for his speed but his aggressive play exemplified the Cardinals approach. 

Home plate ump Dave Pallone took some heat for not staying in position to call the pitch strike three which would have been three outs, but that is a no win situation for any umpire.
The steal would define Brummer's career and was a spark for the Cardinals who went on to win the NL East and the World Series with Brummer playing just an inning on defense in game six.
Brummer and Jamie Quirk split the back-up duties in '83 and Brummer had decent production for an end of the bench sub, batting .276/.351/.356 in 99 plate appearances.  Tom Nieto was Porter's main backup in '84 and Brummer made just 61 trips to the plate with .207 average.  He hit his only career home run off of Scott Sanderson on 4/18/84.
He received his release from the Redbirds the following spring and hooked up with the Rangers.  In Texas he and Geno Petralli backed up Don Slaught.  Brummer played in a career high 49 games and batted .278.  He was released in November and spent '86 at Hawaii, his last year as an active player.
Flipside: You can see from his stolen base and triple totals that Brummer wasn't that quick so it's no wonder he took the Giants by surprise.
Oddball:  In '77 the Cards lent Brummer to the Mets single-A affiliate in Lynchburg in 1977 where he hit the best of his career, with a .328/.370/.380 line in 146 trips to the plate.
History:  Brummer's steal of home is what he is remembered for and by going all out without the steal sign he was putting his career on the line.  Third string catchers usually don't have a lot of rope but Brummer was safe and the rest is history.  He played parts of five seasons in the majors with a .251 average in 347 at bats. 

1 comment:

  1. The pitch was high and outside so I'm not sure why the ump would take any flack. Also, the steal signed seemed to be on the way the batter bailed.

    The fact that the Giants lost is the most important thing though. ;)