George Stuart Brunet
(Lefty or El Viejo)
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 210 lb.
- High School Calumet High School (Houghton)
- Debut September 14, 1956
- Final Game April 28, 1971
- Born June 8, 1935 in Houghton, MI USA
- Died October 25, 1991 in Poza Rica, Veracruz Mexico
George Brunet set a record for longevity by pitching professionally each season between 1953 and 1985. He pitched 15 years in the majors with nine clubs and, in the minor leagues, set the all-time strikeout record with 3,175. He also holds the Mexican League record for shutouts, 55, even though he did not debut south of the border until after his major league career.
Brunet was on the other end of the shutouts in 1957. That season, pitching for the Little Rock Travelers of the Southern Association, Brunet's teammates failed to score in a 52 1/3 inning stretch in which he pitched. From June 21st (when Brunet improved to 10-3) till August 3rd, Little Rock never scored with Brunet as their pitcher. He lost 8 straight in that stretch and, at 14-15, finished one loss shy of the league lead. He did, however, top the circuit with 235 strikeouts.
Brunet made his big league debut in 1956 with a fleeting glimpse of the high life as a member of the Kansas City Athletics. He made his first Opening Day roster in 1960 and was rewarded one month into the season with a deal to the Milwaukee Braves. It was not until his arrival in California with the Halos that he settled in one place and hit his stride as a big leaguer, running up a string of four solid seasons between 1965 and 1968 despite uninspiring win-loss records. In the last two years of that stretch, George led the American League in losses, going 11-19 with a 3.31 ERA and a personal best (in the bigs) 165 strikeouts in 1967, then finishing 13-17 in the "year of the pitcher", 1968, with a solid 2.86 ERA in 245 1/3 innings. He returned to his wandering man ways in 1969, seeing his last big league action in a seven-game stint with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971. In 15 seasons in the bigs, George racked up 921 strikeouts; combined with his minor league total of 3,175, this gave him 4,096 in total.
Taking his act to Mexico, George pitched into his 50s, tossing a no-hitter on June 20, 1977. He enjoyed eight seasons with double-digit victories, with perhaps his finest season coming in 1978. Dealing for the Petroleros de Poza Rica, George was 15-14 with 208 strikeouts in 246 innings, tossing 7 shutouts with a 2.67 ERA. In 13 seasons in the LMB, George finished 132-127 with 1,483 strikeouts in 2,151 2/3 innings and a 2.66 ERA. He made his final appearance at Mexico's highest level at 50, pitching twice with the Tigres de México in 1985.
Sources include: The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics 1937-2001 by Pedro Treto Cisneros
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1966-1968)
- Mike Petriello: "He had a HOF pitching career ... it began at age 39: George Brunet pitched in 33 consecutive seasons", mlb.com, May 5, 2020.