Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ike Brown (#152)

Here is Ike Brown’s rookie card. He also appeared in the 1971 to 1974 sets.

One thing that I learned about Ike a few years ago while researching somebody for these blogs (maybe Elston Howard or Ernie Banks) was that Ike Brown also played in the Negro Leagues. This surprised me, because although I had his 1972 card back in the day, I knew he wasn’t in the 1967 to 1969 Topps sets, so I assumed he would have been too young.

Brown is the last player from the Negro Leagues to have made it to the major leagues. To recap, in addition to the well-known alumni to have played in the majors in the 1960s (Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Elston Howard, Minnie Minoso), others were Junior Gilliam, George Altman, John Wyatt, Sam Bowens, Al Smith, and Ike Brown.

After Brown played for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1961, he was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1962 and spent 7 ½ years in their farm system as a shortstop and third baseman, before making his major-league debut in June 1969.

Brown remained with the Tigers for the rest of the 1969 season, and all of 1970 to 1973. In ’69 and ’70, he was the team’s backup 2nd baseman (behind Dick McAuliffe). After 1970, he was primarily used as a pinch-hitter.

1974 was Brown’s last season in baseball. He played 2 games with the Tigers in early spring, then spent the rest of the season in the minors.

When he retired after 1974, only Aaron remained among active ex-Negro League players.

Brown passed away in May 2001 from cancer, at age 59.

1 comment:

Mark Hoyle said...

Thanks for the info on Ike. I don't think I knew about the Negro Leagues