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RIP - Nelson Briles


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Sorry to be so maudlin...nothing else going on in here lately...

Nelson Briles, who won 129 games in his 14-year career in the major leagues, died Feb. 13, 2005 of a heart attack in Orlando, Fla. He was 61.

Briles passed out while participating in the annual Pirates alumni golf tournament in Orlando, Fla.

He pitched in the majors for 14 seasons and posted a 129-112 record with a 3.44 ERA in just over 2,111 innings pitched. He struck out 1,163 batters and recorded 22 saves.

In 1968, he had his best season in the majors, finishing with a 19-11 record for the Cardinals. He pitched 243.2 innings that season and finished with a 2.81 ERA. However, he was 0-1 in 2 starts in the World Series and posted a 5.56 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched.

Briles had been involved in the Pirates organization for more than 24 years including his most recent position as vice president of corporate projects.

After graduating from high school, Briles attended Chico State College and Santa Clara University before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965. He spent just one season in the minor leagues before making his debut with St. Louis in 1965.

In 1967, he was 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA and he followed that up with his performance in 1968.

In January 1971, the Cardinals traded Briles, along with Vic Davalillo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Matty Alou and George Brunet.

He was 8-4 in 136 innings for the Pirates that season and pitched a complete-game two-hit shutout against Baltimore in the fifth game of the World Series. In 1972 and 1973, he posted a combined 28-24 record as a starting pitcher for Pittsburgh.

In December 1973, the Pirates traded him, along with Fernado Gonzalez, to the Royals for Ed Kirkpatrick, Kurt Bavacqua and a minor league player.

He pitched for Kansas City in 1974 and 1975, Texas in 1976 and 1977 and Baltimore in 1977 and 1978 to end out his major league career.

He pitched in three World Series (1967, 1968 and 1971) and posted a 2-1 record in 31.1 innings pitched. He finished with a 2.59 ERA and 13 strikeouts.

In 1979, following his retirement as a player, he returned to Pittsburgh and became a television broadcaster. He went to work for the Pirates in 1986 as director of corporate sales and he was also the director of the Pirates' annual fantasy camp.


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Yeah...you know you are old when you remember watching Ed Kranepool double down the right field line.

In fact, I can remember when the Mets first started broadcasting their games in color around 1964 or so I think. Only one family on the block had a color set...I was enthralled when i went to his house and saw those vivid blue and orange unis! And I was a huge Yankee fan...but yep...back then tvs only had turn dials and rabbit ears!!

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