Harry Brecheen – Screwball Pitcher

Harry David Brecheen (October 14, 1914 – January 17, 2004), made his major league debut (BOXSCORE) with the St. Louis Cardinals on April 22, 1940. He pitched three innings in his first season. His nickname was “The Cat” for his soft hands when fielding the ball.

Brecheen was the first left-hander to win three games in one World Series in 1946. He went on to lead the team and National League in several categories in 1948.

  • Career record 133-92
  • ERA 2.92
  • 901 Strikeouts
  • 2-time All Star (1947-48)
  • 3-time World Series Champ
  • NL ERA leader in 1948
  • National League Strikeout Champion in 1948

His career World Series earned run average of 0.83 was a major league record from 1946 to 1976. From 1951 to 1971 he held the Cardinals franchise record for career strikeouts by a left-hander, and he also retired with the fourth-highest fielding percentage among pitchers (.983), then the top mark among left-handers.

In 1943, Breechen pitched in 29 games, starting 13 of them. He went 9-6 with a 2.29 earned run average in 135 innings pitched. The next season he went 16-5. He won game four of the 1944 World Series against the St. Louis Browns. He was key to the Cardinals’ upset win over the Boston Red Sox in the1946 World Series. He won three games during the series. He recorded his finest season in 1948, posting a win-loss record of 20–7 with 21 complete games and led the league in earned run average (2.24), strikeouts (149) and shutouts (7).