Friday, July 16, 2010

Solo Shots: Saving the best for last - Brideweser swats first home run in final big league season

Cal, Eddie, Boog, Brooks; most Orioles fans recognize the names that sit atop the Orioles' career home run list. Less familiar are Grady, Arnie, Albie, and Vic, four of the 65 players to have hit just one home run during their time in Baltimore.

Fridays are typically reserved for Orioles history on Roar from 34. This week I'm using the occasion to start a new project that shares the stories of those players who, since 1954, made just one trot around the bases for the Birds. These are "Solo Shots."

Jim Brideweser
(1954, 1957)

James Ehrenfeld Brideweser played seven major league seasons, two of them in Baltimore. The six-foot tall shortstop hit one home run in 697 career plate appearances. It happened during his final season in a May 24, 1957 game against the Boston Red Sox at Memorial Stadium.

Batting eighth, Brideweser deposited a fifth-inning offering from Boston starter Frank Sullivan into the stands to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Brideweser's three-run shot scored George Kell and Dick Williams and provided Baltimore its only runs of the day. An eighth-inning Red Sox rally gave the visitors a 4-3 victory before 15,970 fans on 33rd Street.

While the newspapers did report Brideweser's first career home run the next day, the real story was Ted Williams, who went 3-for-4 to raise his league-leading average to .417. (Visit the Google News Archive for the May 25, 1957, newspaper report.) Williams held the lead throughout the 1957 season, finishing the year with a .388 average. He lost a tightly contested MVP race to Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees.

Brideweser batted .252 for his career with one home run and 50 RBI. He tallied a .949 career fielding percentage at shortstop (217 games), second base (57 games), and third base (11 games).  His strikeout percentage of 11.2 percent was in line with the MLB average. He put the ball in play 78 percent of the time.

Brideweser is one of four Orioles in the University of Southern California Hall of Fame. Don Buford, Rich Dauer, and Fred Lynn are the others.

[Image source: Baseball Almanac.]


Baltimore Orioles

1 comment:

Bill-DC said...

Closest anyone from my family has come to playing in the Majors.

Bill Bride