James Thomas Brewer (November 17, 1937 – November 16, 1987) was an American relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1960 through 1976, Brewer played for the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and California Angels. He batted and threw left-handed.
Following the advice of Warren Spahn, Brewer developed a screwball to become one of the most successful relievers in the National League in the 1960s and 1970s.
A graduate of Broken Arrow Senior High in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Brewer compiled a 69–65 record with 810 strikeouts and a 3.07 ERA in a 17-year career that began with the Cubs and ended with the Angels, though he is most remembered for his twelve seasons with the Dodgers.
In his career, Brewer recorded 132 saves, 125 with the Dodgers, appearing in 474 games for the club. Only two Dodgers pitchers, Don Sutton and Don Drysdale, have more appearances –550 and 518, respectively. As a Dodger, Brewer appeared in the 1973 All-Star Game and in three World Series (1965-66 and 1974). From 1968 to 1973 he averaged 20 saves a season, with a career-high 24 in 1970, and in 1972, he posted an 1.26 ERA, allowing only 4.7 hits per nine innings.
Brewer was involved in an infamous on-field altercation with Billy Martin on August 4, 1960. Brewer, then with the Cubs, brushed back Martin, then with the Cincinnati Reds, with a pitch in the second inning of a game at Wrigley Field. Martin threw his bat at Brewer, who picked it up and started to hand it to Martin as Martin approached. Martin punched Brewer in the right eye, breaking his cheekbone. Brewer was hospitalized for two months, and Martin served a five-day suspension. The Cubs sued Martin for $1 million for the loss of Brewer's services, but later dropped their case. Brewer, however, pursued his, and in 1969 a judge ordered Martin to pay $10,000 in damages. When informed of the judgment by the press, Martin asked sarcastically, "How do they want it? Cash or check?"
Brewer died in Tyler, Texas, of injuries suffered in an automobile accident, a day before his 50th birthday.
By Dean Hanley
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