Saturday, August 26, 2017

Larry Brown (#391)

Here is Larry Brown, the Indians' starting shortstop from 1965-69. He's demonstrating the best way to lose a fingernail while bunting!

Brown played in the minors from 1958 to mid-1963, then made his big-league debut in July 1963. The Tribe had been using a trio of starting shortstops over the first half of the season (Tony Martinez, Dick Howser, Jerry Kindall), but Larry started 45 of the final 70 games there. His 45 starts were more than any of the other three players. Brown also started 20 games at 2nd base in his rookie season.

In 1964, Howser started 161 games at shortstop, while Brown found a temporary home at 2nd base, making 87 starts. This arrangement continued into the start of the next season, but by mid-July, Brown had replaced Howser at shortstop, and started 75 of the final 80 games there.

Larry remained a fixture at shortstop for the next several seasons, although his double-play partner became a revolving door.

In 1969 he only played in 132 games, although still managing to collect as many at-bats (450+) as in his earlier full seasons. He was the regular shortstop for the season's first half, then gave way to Eddie Leon. Brown started sporadically at 3B and SS for the rest of the season.

Larry was clearly a backup in 1970. The Indians cleaned house at the non-1B part of their infield, replacing Vern Fuller/Zoilo Versalles, Brown, and Max Alvis/Lou Klimchock with Eddie Leon, Jack Heidemann, and Graig Nettles at 2B, SS, and 3B respectively. Brown only started 35 games that season, spread across those 3 positions.

In April 1971 Brown was sold to the Athletics. After backing up Bert Campaneris and Dick Green in 1971, Larry was the starting 2nd baseman for 44 games in 1972 (mostly from late-April to mid-June), as 2nd base was a carousel of 5 players that season. Although Brown didn't play in the post-season with the Athletics in either '71 or '72, he did play in the '73 ALCS for Baltimore… vs the Athletics.

Released after the 1972 season, he played very sparingly for the Orioles in 1973 (29 at-bats) and Rangers in 1974 (76 at-bats).

His brother Dick Brown was a catcher for the Indians, White Sox, Tigers, and Orioles from 1957 to 1965.

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