Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting for Brissie

I might have said it before, but I'm from SC, a state that has given the nation this guy, that guy, and her. And Shoeless Joe. Yep, even when we get it right something tends not to go right. One of the greatest hitters ever, but not eligible for the HOF.

Which is why I wrote Lou Brissie. Now, the career numbers aren't HOF worthy, but he was an AS in 1949 and played from historically bad A's teams. He also played with only one good leg. See, he was wounded pretty badly in WWII and doctors came close to amputating his leg, only Brissie told them "no." He rehabbed, learned to get around with a brace, and when he came home went back to pursuing a MLB career. As for me, what I could be doing other than writing a blog about baseball and baseball cards: astronaut? cure for cancer finder? communist revolutionary? We'll never know. Lou Brissie looks at the rest of us SCinians and hangs his head. I mean, we've kinda dropped the ball as of late.

See, Mr. Brissie is actually one of the guys who IS a hero, despite the fact when live in a culture where "hero" is everything from the dog walker who bailed you out this morning to your spouse who remembered to grab your favorite beer at the store. (Note to compa: no, I don't mean that, the heroism you displayed in remembering the Sierra Nevada will never be forgotten!!!!) I'm proud to be from the same state as he.

Anyway, I wrote Mr. Brissie a while back before I knew any of the backstory. I had simply picked up a '51 Bowman of his and, being overexcited about finding a ball player from SC, sent it off. Here's what he sent back:
I know, the card ain't the prettiest pig in the pen (SC metaphor), and looks to be in worse shape than the cars my cousin Fritz keeps on blocks in the front yard (cultural reference) but the auto is sweet. Mr. Brissie was also kind enough to answer my questions. Best thing about being an All-Star in 1949? "All of it. Just being there with the players." When I think about it, that might be the best response to that question, ever.

He has a new biography out written by Ira Berkow, The Corporal Was a Pitcher. I don't have it yet, as my parents want to get it for me for Christmas. Seriously. So I have to wait....

After finding out more about him, I also ordered two late 1940s Brissie card to send to him. For which I am waiting...about a week now...

I'll let you know how things turn out, but thank you Mr. Brissie for the auto, but even more so for your service to our country both in WWII and for the inspiration you continue to give to those who were wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. It shows what we can all do to work towards making the world a better place!!

Have a great evening everyone!


  1. Mr. Brissie was featured on the Memorial Day edition of "This Week In Baseball" this year. They spent a good deal of time covering his story and the release of his book.

    It was good to see that he was not glossed over as tends to happen with some of the older players. MLB used to link the TWIB shows, but I cannot find it online anywhere.

  2. I believe that we as Americans need to help people in Africa help Americans be able to find America on a map... Wow. My wife was born in South Carolina, so I feel your pain. Lou has a great story. I didn't know he wrote a book, I will have to order that, too. Nice cards, awesome story and keep the cultural references coming!

  3. Awesome post. I just purchased a '49 (I think that that is the first time I have ever typed '49) Bowman card of him and was wondering if you could send me his address? I would really appreciate it!