Friday, January 22, 2016

Only St. Louisan (Browns or Cards) to Get a Complete Game Win in his 1st MLB Appearance

Affton-born Ed Albrecht's CG debut on October 2 was only a rain-shortened 5-inning job. But it still counts as a complete game. It came in the 2nd game of a Sunday doubleheader on the last day of the 1949 season, between the Browns (who finished 44 games out) and the White Sox (34 GB). Albrecht allowed 3 runs but only 1 hit, a 2-run triple by Jim Baumer that followed a pair of walks. (That hit by the 18-year-old Baumer -- called up from class B despite hitting .218 in his first pro season -- gave him 4 hits in 10 trips for the year. He would not play in the majors again for 12 seasons, when he made a brief appearance with the '61 Reds.)

Bill DeWitt Sr. was the owner of the team in 1949.

To realize the local significance of this feat, imagine Max Scherzer had been signed by the Cardinals and pitched a one hitter and a complete game in his major league debut, a home game.

The 9,000 or so fans who turned out for the doubleheader at Sportsman's Park pushed the season attendance past the 270,000 barrier, and they likely witnessed a MLB first: Browns manager Zack Taylor used 9 different pitchers, each for exactly 1 inning. Since 1919, no other team has used more than 6 pitchers for exactly 1 inning in a 9-inning game.

Those Browns fans also got to see rookie star Roy Sievers go 5 for 5 in the first game, pushing his BA from .297 to .305, which helped him win the AL Rookie of the Year award. Sievers would collect over 1,700 hits in the majors, but that was his only 5-hit game.

All-in-all, Bill DeWitt gave the crowd their money's-worth.  An eventful last day of the season.  And two-for-one.  And only .24 inches of rain to suffer through to end the last game (obviously a hair-trigger on the head umpire's part with two teams so far out of the pennant race).

In an odd coincidence, Albrecht's ERA in both of his major league seasons was exactly the same as his career ERA of 5.40!

Brownie Ed Albrecht pitched a complete game 1-hitter
 in his big-league debut in front of the hometown fans

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