Brooks Lawrence

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Brooks Ulysses Lawrence

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Biographical Information[edit]

Brooks Lawrence pitched 14 seasons from 1948 to 1960, one in college (1948), two in the Negro National League (1948-1949), seven in the Major Leagues (1954-1960), and eight in the minors (1949-1960). He graduated from high school in Springfield, OH in 1942, where he was an All-State halfback in football, a high-scoring guard in basketball and a broad jumper in track. He did not play baseball in high school. He married Larcenia Winston on October 16, 1942. He served in the United States Army for five years during World War II (1943-1947)(TSN).

He pitched one year for Miami University of Ohio (1948), then two in the Negro National League (1948-1949) before he was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1949. During this time, he also worked as a sand-blaster in construction projects. He pitched two years for the St. Louis Cardinals (1954 and 1955), five years for the Cincinnati Redlegs (1956-1960) and eleven different minor league teams (1949-1960). He also played winter ball in the Caribbean.

His best year in the minors was in 1953 when he was 18-13 with an ERA of 2.37 with the Portsmouth Merrimacs in the Piedmont League. He was 76-72 lifetime in the minors. After retiring as a player, Lawrence worked ten years at International Harvester in Springfield and then spent ten years handling scouting, minor league player development, radio and television work and season-ticket sales for the Reds. He was head coach of Wilmington College from 1988-1992. He died of cancer at age 75 at Mercy Hospital in Springfield and is buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield.

As a 29-year-old rookie seasoned in the Negro National League, Lawrence, nicknamed "Bull" for his willingness to do hard work, went 15-6, with a 3.74 ERA in 159 innings, starting and relieving for the 1954 Cardinals. Hit hard in 1955, he was demoted to the Oakland Oaks (Pacific Coast League), where he earned a second chance by going 5-1 down the stretch. Acquired by the Redlegs, he opened 1956 with 13 straight victories, among them two two-hitters. He finished 19-10 with a 3.99 ERA and was named for the All-Star Game. He then went 16-13 in 1957. He won only eight games in 1958 and seven in 1959, when he threw a third two-hitter. (MC) He finished his career with a 69-62 record with a 4.25 ERA.


  • Before 1949 Season: Signed by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent.
  • Before 1953 Season: Sent from the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Reds.
  • 1953: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1953 minor league draft on December 1st.
  • 1956: Traded by the Cardinals with Sonny Senerchia to the Redlegs on January 31st for Jackie Collum. Lawrence, who finished the year at 5–1 after spending time in the minors, will open the 1956 season with 13 straight victories. On May 29th, Gus Bell repeats his performance of the year before with three consecutive home runs, ending up at 5-for-5, to lead the Redlegs to victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, 10-4. With more than enough run support, Lawrence gets his sixth straight win.
  • 1960: Released by the Cincinnati Reds on July 19th.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (1956)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 3 (1954, 1956 & 1957)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1956 & 1957)


Principal sources for Brooks Lawrence include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs {{{WW}}} (WW), old Baseball Registers {{{BR}}} (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN {{{DAG}}} (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) {{{MORE}}} and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.

Related Sites[edit]