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Bill Bruton
Bill Bruton 1955.png
Bruton in 1955
Outfielder
Born: (1925-11-09)November 9, 1925
Panola, Alabama
Died: December 5, 1995(1995-12-05) (aged 70)
Marshallton, Delaware
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1953, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1964, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.273
Home runs94
Runs batted in545
Teams
Career highlights and awards

William Havon Bruton (November 9, 1925 – December 5, 1995) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder who played for the Milwaukee Braves (1953–1960) and Detroit Tigers (1961–1964). Bruton batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Career

Bill Bruton, as a 27-year-old rookie, started his major league career in 1953 with the Milwaukee Braves. The team has just moved from Boston to Milwaukee. Bruton had replaced former National League's 1950 Rookie of the Year winner and first African-American player on the Braves, Sam Jethroe, on the roster. Jethroe, at the age of 35, had been demoted to the minor leagues. He had led the NL in stolen bases his first two seasons.

On April 14, 1953, his 10th-inning home run gave the Braves a 3–2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Milwaukee's first major league game.[1]

Bruton played in Milwaukee for eight seasons; he was a member of the 1957 Braves and 1958 Braves, who both played World Series against the New York Yankees. Bruton did not play in the 1957 World Series, which the Braves won in seven games, due to a knee injury sustained earlier in the season.[2] In the 1958 World Series, which the Braves lost in seven games, Bruton hit a game-winning single in the tenth inning of Game 1.[3][4] He played in all seven games of the Series, batting 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run and two RBIs. On August 2, 1959, Bruton hit two bases-loaded triples in one game.[5] The feat had only been accomplished once before (Elmer Valo, 1949) and has only been accomplished once since (Duane Kuiper, 1978).

In December 1960, Bruton was traded to the Detroit Tigers, along with Dick Brown, Chuck Cottier and Terry Fox for a player to be named later and Frank Bolling. The Detroit Tigers sent Neil Chrisley (January 17, 1961) to the Milwaukee Braves to complete the trade. He spent four seasons with Detroit before retiring after the 1964 season.

In his last game at Tiger Stadium, Bruton hit a drive off the facing of the third deck, near where the retired Tiger numbers were painted, that bounced back onto the field. The ball was still rising when it hit just below the base of the right field light tower.[6]

Statistics

In his twelve-year major league career, Bruton posted an overall .273 batting average with 94 home runs and 545 run batted in in 1,610 games. He finished his career with a .981 fielding percentage. A line-drive hitter and a fleet-footed runner, Bruton led the National League in stolen bases for three consecutive seasons (1953 through 1955), twice in triples (1956 and 1960), and once in runs scored (1960). He led off a game with a home run twelve times.

Bruton's minor league milestones include;

Personal life

Bruton was a graduate of Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama, and served in the Army from 1944 through 1947.[7]

He was a spokesman for Tareyton cigarettes in the 1960s.[8]

In 1991, Bruton was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.[9]

According to a Delaware State Police report, Bruton suffered a heart attack while driving his car in Marshallton, Delaware, near his home in Wilmington on December 5, 1995. Apparently, Bruton's car veered off the road and hit a pole;[10] after which he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. He was 70.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Milwaukee Braves 3, St. Louis Cardinals 2". Retrosheet. April 14, 1953.
  2. ^ "Knee Ousts Bill Bruton From Series". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. UP. September 26, 1957. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Milwaukee Braves 4, New York Yankees 3". Retrosheet. October 1, 1958.
  4. ^ "1958 WS Gm1: Bruton's walk-off hit gives Braves win". MLB. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ "Milwaukee Braves 11, St. Louis Cardinals 5 (2)". Retrosheet. August 2, 1959.
  6. ^ "Bill Bruton Stats".
  7. ^ Tomashek, Tom (December 9, 1995). "Bruton lauded as quiet force". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Tareyton delivers the flavor". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. August 1961. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  9. ^ "Delaware Sports Hall of Fame". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. March 17, 1991. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Parrish, Paula (December 6, 1995). "Ballplayer Bill Bruton dead at 69". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.

Further reading

Achievements Preceded byElmer Valo Two bases-loaded triples in a game August 2, 1959 Succeeded byDuane Kuiper