This Day in Baseball History: August 20th, 1945

Can we have another World War so that we can start breaking these age records? Because it’s not gonna happen otherwise.

On August 20, 1945:

Tommy Brown hits his first major-league home run.

Born on December 6, 1927, Tommy Brown was a 16-year old who signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the minors for that season, he hit .297/.341/.462 and led the minors with 11 triples before the Dodgers decided to call him up on August 3rd. Oddly, Brown wanted to stay in the minors longer (really?) because he felt that he had more to learn, but with World War II taking players from rosters, the Dodgers didn’t have much of a choice. He hit very poorly for the rest of that season, but he was a 16-year old in a man’s league, though he wasn’t the youngest player in the league (Who was that, I wonder?).

The next season, Brown continued to see limited duty. Eddie Basinski held down the everyday job at short (Brown’s primary position), but because Basinski wasn’t very good (their averages and OPS+ are very similar for that season), Brown did play in 55 games at short. He continued to have little power, but the old batting average and on-base percentage went up quite a bit (though he walked fewer times in more plate appearances). On August 20, 1945, he hit his first major-league home run off of Preacher Roe, and at 17 years, 8 months, and 14 days, he was the youngest ever to hit a home run in the major leagues.

Ironically, Brown lost his 1946 season due to military service. The other players were coming back, and it was now Brown’s turn to leave. Brown returned to the Dodgers in 1947 and welcomed Jackie Robinson to the fold (he supposedly refused to sign a petition to prohibit Robinson from playing). Over the rest of his career, he bounced from position to position without ever really finding a home or significant playing time. After the 1953 season at the age of 25, he could no longer find a job, so he headed to the Pacific Coast League. Six seasons later, he retired to Nashville and worked in a glass plant.

Trivia Time
Brown is also known for being the youngest player to do what else — something we don’t see often anymore?

Monday’s Answer –> 11th

Sorry about the lack of stuff up (I feel like I’ve said that a lot lately). College drama has kept me fairly (or unfairly) occupied over the past few days, but we’ll have some stuff up for you now. I do promise this time.

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2 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: August 20th, 1945”

  1. Ian Says:

    Something we don't see often anymore? Just a wild guess: pull the hidden ball trick?

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    A little too unusual. It has occurred this season — twice, I believe.

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