Harry David Brecheen, known as "The Cat" for his quick fielding movements around the mound, reached his peak of fame as a baseball pitcher in the 1946 World Series. As a St. Louis Cardinal he became the first left-hander to win three World Series games. He won as a starter in game two and game six and as the finishing reliever in game seven against the Boston Red Sox.
Brecheen was born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, on October 14, 1914. He learned to throw a "screwball" with reverse spin from Cy Blanton, who joined Baseball Hall of Fame Oklahomans Lloyd and Paul Waner in promoting exhibition games each fall. In 1931 he pitched for the state champion Ada American Legion team.
Brecheen pitched eleven years for the St. Louis Cardinals and one for the St. Louis Browns, earning a 133-92 won-lost record through 1953. His lifetime earned-run average of 2.92 is one of the best in baseball. He won fourteen or more games in six consecutive seasons, including a 20-7 record in 1948. He won four games and lost one in three World Series, and his lifetime World Series earned-run average of 0.83 remains one of the best in baseball history.
Brecheen coached for the Browns in 1953 and then for the Baltimore Orioles into the 1960s. He was voted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and at the end of the twentieth century lived in Ada.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Harry Brecheen," Vertical File, Archives, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bob Burke, Kenny A. Franks and Royce Parr, Glory Days of Summer: The History of Baseball in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1999).
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