James Patrick Brosnan (October 24, 1929 – June 28, 2014) was an American baseball player and author. He played in Major League Baseball from 1954 and 1956 through 1963. He was a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox.
While known as a moderately effective pitcher, both as a starter and a reliever, he gained additional fame by becoming one of the first athletes to publish a candid personal diary. Generally speaking, up to that point such books were "sanitized" for the general public and used a ghost writer. Brosnan was known as an intellectual, relatively speaking, for keeping books in his locker to read; and the authorship of the books he wrote listed only himself as the writer. Wearing glasses also contributed to his "Professor" persona.
The first of his books was about his 1959 season, a season which found him being traded from St. Louis to Cincinnati around the halfway point, and was titled The Long Season. It garnered some degree of criticism by those who felt Brosnan had violated the "sanctity" of the clubhouse. In that way it anticipated, by ten years, the firestorm of opinion that would come in the wake of Jim Bouton's book, Ball Four. However, Brosnan's book focused more on feelings and less on the kind of salacious details that Bouton's book would contain. Regardless, its critics included Joe Garagiola, whose own autobiography, Baseball Is a Funny Game, was entertaining but was of the traditional variety. He characterized Brosnan as "a loner; a rebel".
Two years later, Brosnan again kept a diary, a fortuitous circumstance as the Reds would win the National League championship in 1961, before falling to the New York Yankees in the World Series. Brosnan also had one of his best years statistically, with 10 wins, only 4 losses, and 16 saves in 53 games as a relief pitcher. Brosnan's book was published under the appropriate title Pennant Race.
After his playing days, Brosnan continued writing and also became a sportscaster.
By Dean Hanley
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