This Day in Baseball History: March 15th, 1974

Such a sad ending for a career that seemed so promising.

On March 15, 1974:

Ron Bryant is hurt in a pool accident.

If you haven’t heard of Ron Bryant before, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. If you have, you’re showing your age.

Anyway, Ron Bryant broke into the major leagues at the age of 19 in 1967, but like many players who came up at the very end of the season, he would spend the next year in the minor leagues. In 1970, Bryant would pitch in 34 games, mostly in relief. He would become a full-time starter the following year, but he was unimpressive, finishing with a 7-10 record and 3.79 ERA (the league average was 3.44). That off-season, he decided to try something different. He bought a stuffed teddy bear and named it “Bear Bryant”, trying to turn his luck around.

It worked. His 1972 season was a dramatic improvement as he would go 14-7 with a 2.90 ERA, but his best season, wins-wise, would follow. Bryant won 24 games the following season even though his ERA climbed to 3.53 (the league ERA climbed to 3.83), but it seemed as though the young lefty (only 25) was destined to be something better. He was seemingly coming into his own. That is, until he met the wrong swimming pool in Yuma, Arizona.

Rumor is that Bryant was drunk and dove into shallow waters. Regardless of whether that is true, Bryant’s career took a turn for the worse. He would be well enough to pitch in 41 games that season, but his record fell to 3-15 and his ERA climbed to 5.61. By the middle of 1975, Bryant would no longer play professional baseball.

A couple quick notes. I changed all the Hall of Fame posts so that each player now has all of his career stats, from Baseball-Reference (of course), so you should go back and review those because I’d hate for those two hours to have been in vain. In full disclosure, the idea came from Kevin over at DMB Historic World Series Replay in a post like the one on Jim O’Rourke. I thought it looked good, so I stole his idea. Also, I’m new to the fantasy baseball drafting thing, so I’ll probably spend quite a bit of time today trying to figure out my secret strategy for success in Jason’s IIATMS league. It probably won’t go well, but I’ll put up my team once the draft is over. That way, everyone can mock me. I’m gonna get killed. Anyway, as a result, there may or may not be anything else on here for the rest of the day.


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