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The story of the Yankees’ worst hitting pitcher

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Marv Breuer was there to pitch, he just had to hit too.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Even when they had to hit regularly, American League pitchers weren’t the best hitters. Some were more competent than others. Marv Breuer was a bit less competent than most.

After five seasons in the minor leagues, Marv Breuer made his major league debut out of the bullpen on May 4, 1939. He pitched one inning in a 10-6 Yankees’ win over the Indians.

He didn’t make another appearance for the Yankees in 1939, but did reappear in 1940. He made his first major league start on April 27, 1940, pitching 8.2 inning before allowing a walk-off single to Senators’ right fielder Buddy Lewis. Breuer also 0-4 with two strikeouts.

In 1940, Breuer made 27 appearances for the Yankees, 22 of which were starts. He threw 164 innings, and finished with a less than stellar 4.55 ERA. At the plate, Breuer did not get his first major league hit until September 14th, his 25th game of the season. Prior to that game, Breuer had gone 0-47 with no walks.

His first hit came on a single in the top of the sixth on September 14th. The following inning he walked, and then added a double in the ninth. In his last two appearances of the season, he would return to going hit less. He finished the 1940 season with a batting line of .037/.119/.056 in 66 plate appearances.

In 1941, Breuer had his most notable career achievement when he threw three scoreless innings in Game 4 of the World Series. That kept the Yankees in striking distances and allowed them to come back and win after scoring four runs in the ninth. However, this article isn’t about anything good Breuer did.

Breuer actually had his best season at the plate in 1941. It’s just that his best batting season equated to four hits and a .087/.125/.087 batting line in 52 plate appearances.

In 1942, Breuer had his best season of his career on the mound. He had a 3.07 ERA in 164 innings. He again appeared in a World Series game, but this time he didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced as the Yankees lost the game and the series to the Cardinals.

However, Breuer did pick up his second career extra base hit in 1942. He tripled against the St. Louis Browns on June 24th. That was one of three hits he got in the 1942 season.

In 1943, Breuer didn’t appear in the majors until August, and he struggled pretty badly when he did. He allowed five earned runs in 10 innings out of the bullpen, before finally getting a start on September 28th. In that start, he allowed eight earned runs in four innings before getting pulled. He would not appear in a major league game again.

Funnily enough, Breuer put up his best average stats at the plate in 1943. Only because he got one hit in only three plate appearances.

Breuer finished his major league career with a 4.03 ERA, which was good for a 94 ERA+. He wasn’t a great pitcher, but not a terrible one. Hitting however, he was defnitely terrible at.

For his career, Marv Breuer hit .064/.125/.083. He struck out 69 times in 183 plate appearances. That was good for a -43 OPS+ and a -37 wRC+.

Hitting was not the reason Marc Breuer got a chance to play major league baseball. That’s good for him, because he was not great at it.

Sources

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/breuema01.shtml

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1001403&position=PB

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE193905040.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WS1/WS1194004270.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET194009140.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BRO/BRO194110050.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA194210030.shtml

All data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index