The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 16, 2013

Love of the game

Ashtabula’s Roy Brashear didn’t spend much of his long career in the majors, but baseball was his life


Spirit of St. Louis

At age 28, Brashear got the call, joining the St. Louis Cardinals, managed by Donovan, the same man who had been in charge when Farmer Burns became the first Ashtabula native to play in a major-league game the season before.

However, unlike Burns’ gone-in-a-blink-of-an-eye tenure in the majors, Brashear stuck, though not for long, by today’s standards.

A semi-regular for the Red Birds, Brashear — who made his big-league debut on April 25, 1902 — played in 110 games for St. Louis and responded with a solid season.

He hit .276, going 107 for 388, smacking eight doubles, two triples and a home run, scoring 36 times and driving home 40 runs. Brashear drew 32 walks, struck out 41 times and continued to be adept at handling the bat, laying down 13 sacrifice bunts. He also stole nine bases.

Brashear continued to be versatile, playing 67 games at first base, 21 at second base, 16 in the outfield and three at shortstop.

The Cardinals, though, struggled, going just 56-78 and finishing sixth in the eight-team National League, a whopping 441⁄2 games behind the pennant-winning Pittsburgh Pirates (103-36).

On the move

Finishing close to 50 games out of first place is more than enough cause for change and part of the thinning of the herd with the Cardinals saw Brashear move east to Philadelphia, where he joined the Phillies for the start of the 1903 season.

Things didn’t go well for Brashear in the City of Brotherly Love. He lasted but 20 games for the Phillies, appearing in only 20 games, he hit .227, going 17 for 75, with three doubles, 4 RBI and scored 9 runs.

On May 23, 1903, Brashear made his final appearance with the Phillies and, it turned out, his last game as a major leaguer.

Two days shy of 13 months, his big-league career was done.

Playing out the string

Brashear refused to run up the white flag, though, and he didn’t let his demotion to the Louisville Colonels of the American Association douse his passion for the game.

The Ashtabula native played four season for the Colonels, putting up solid numbers in each campaign.

And though his major-league career ended in the spring of 1902, Brashear stayed with the game. He played a dozen seasons in the minors after being demoted by the Phillies.

He played four seasons at Louisville, even taking over as player-manager in his final season there in 1906 for Suter Sullivan.

Brashear then played two seasons with Kansas City of the American Association, then moved west to California, where he played four seasons for the Vernon Tigers of the Pacific Coast League.

Even at age 40, Brashear hung in there, splitting the 1914 campaign with the Seattle Giants of the Northwestern League and the Portland Beavers and then the Los Angeles Angels of the PCL.

Though his major-league career was limited to 130 games in a span of roughly 13 months, Brashear was basically a Crash Davis of “Bull Durham” fame, though well before the character made famous by Kevin Costner’s time.

Brashear was on the road for 16 seasons in the minors, playing in 2,092 games and posting 7,599 at-bats. He had 2,082 hits, including 333 doubles, 86 triples and 69 home runs.

In 1921, at age 47, Brashear filled in for a few games as manager of the Class D Mineral Wells Resorters/Ballinger Bearcats of the West Texas League.

However, Brashear’s involvement with baseball wasn’t yet finished. Having played and managed, he became an umpire, working several seasons in the Pacific Coast League.

That would prove to be his final go around with the game.

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